How to Choose a Paralegal Training Program near Bisbee Arizona
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Bisbee AZ and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational choices are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Bisbee residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this article we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 basically both fill comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Bisbee AZ with a wide variety of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their daily activities may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a Bisbee AZ paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career in Bisbee AZ as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected certifying agencies in the profession are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Bisbee AZ.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and can be an excellent alternative for individuals in Bisbee AZ looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Bisbee AZ area schools. But since there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant factors to think about also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Bisbee AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically available only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Bisbee AZ paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start creating contacts within the Bisbee AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Since laws vary from state to state, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Bisbee AZ local region.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help offset part of the cost, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Bisbee AZ. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, some of these added expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Bisbee AZ, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you select offers that option. Last, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Bisbee AZ?
Bisbee is a U.S. city in Cochise County, Arizona, 92 miles (148 km) southeast of Tucson. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city was 5,575. The city is the county seat of Cochise County.
Mining in the Mule Mountains proved quite successful: in the early 20th century the population of Bisbee soared. Incorporated in 1902, by 1910 its population had swelled to 9,019, and it sported a constellation of suburbs, including Warren, Lowell, and San Jose, some of which had been founded on their own (ultimately less successful) mines. In 1917, open-pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the copper demand during World War I.
A high quality turquoise promoted as Bisbee Blue was a by-product of the copper mining. Many high-quality mineral specimens have come from Bisbee area mines and are to be found in museum collections worldwide. Some of these minerals include cuprite, aragonite, wulfenite, malachite, azurite, and galena.
Miners attempted to organize to gain better working conditions and wages. In 1917, the Phelps Dodge Corporation, using private police, transported at gun point over 1,000 striking miners out of town to Hermanas, New Mexico, due to allegations that they were members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); the company wanted to prevent unionization. Earlier that year, industry police conducted the Jerome Deportation, a similar event to expel striking miners.
Find the Best Paralegal School near Bisbee AZ
Selecting the ideal paralegal educational program is a vital first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Bisbee residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But no matter how you decide to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to examine each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the right education you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Bisbee AZ.
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