How to Select a Paralegal Training Program near Craig Alaska
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Craig AK and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students start by looking for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Craig residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school should be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Craig AK with a wide variety of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their everyday activities may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a Craig AK paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career in Craig AK as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few of the highly respected certifying organizations in the field are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Craig AK.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Online paralegal schools have become more prevalent and may be a good option for individuals in Craig AK searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can begin the process of assessing Craig AK area schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial aspects to think about also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Craig AK law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Craig AK paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Craig AK legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially consider those schools that are within your Craig AK local region.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Craig AK. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Craig AK, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose makes available that option. Last, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Craig AK?
Craig (Tlingit: Sháan Séet) is a first-class city in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area in the Unorganized BoroughA[›] in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 1,201 at the 2010 census, down from 1,397 in 2000.
Craig is the largest town on Prince of Wales Island, the fourth largest island in the USA. Craig is approximately 56 miles (90 km) by air northwest of Ketchikan and 220 miles (350 km) south of Juneau.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.4 square miles (24.3 km2), of which, 6.7 square miles (17.4 km2) of it is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) of it (28.94%) is water.
Craig was named after Craig Miller (also spelled Millar) who established a fish saltery on nearby Fish Egg Island in 1907 with the assistance of the local Haida natives who moved onto Prince of Wales Island, being driven from Haida Gwaii (British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands) starting in the 18th century. Craig Miller constructed a cold storage plant and packing company at the present site of Craig, and in 1922 was instrumental in the incorporation of the city (originally as an Alaska second-class city within the Alaska Territory, pre-statehood).
Choose the Best Paralegal School near Craig AK
Choosing the best paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Craig home. Paralegal education programs are provided in numerous lengths and formats. Several kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you elect to obtain your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Craig AK.
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