How to Choose a Paralegal School near Goodyear Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Goodyear AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational choices are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Goodyear homes. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program need to be considered as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Goodyear AZ with a wide range of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their everyday tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Goodyear AZ paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative duties more apropos 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 preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to start your career in Goodyear AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require just 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and earn a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Goodyear AZ.
Paralegal Online Programs
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and may be a good option for those in Goodyear AZ searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can start the process of assessing Goodyear AZ area schools. But since there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical factors to research also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Goodyear AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Goodyear AZ paralegal schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Goodyear AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws vary from one state to another, it may be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to initially consider those schools that are within your Goodyear AZ local region.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help offset some of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Goodyear AZ. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Goodyear AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you select offers that option. Finally, inquire what the procedure is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Goodyear AZ?
Goodyear (O'odham: Valin Thak) is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is a suburb of Phoenix and is in the Phoenix metropolitan area. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 65,275. Goodyear was the third fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona of any size between 1990 and 2000 (with an increase of 245.2%). The July 1, 2015, MAG population estimate was 79,003.
On June 6, 2008, Goodyear won the All-America City Award, sponsored by the National Civic League. The city is named after the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The company cultivated extensive farmland here to grow cotton for use in their tires.
Goodyear was established in 1917 with the purchase of 16,000 acres (65 km2) of land by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company to cultivate cotton for vehicle tire cords. World War II was important to Goodyear in the 1940s as the current Phoenix Goodyear Airport was built, but after the war, the economy suffered. Goodyear became a town on November 19, 1946. At the time, it had 151 homes and 250 apartments, a grocery store, a barber shop, beauty shop and a gas station.
Luke Field Auxiliary #6 (Goodyear Field) was built by the United States Army Air Forces in 1943. It served as a satellite airfield for Luke AAF. According to the History of Luke AFB, this airfield boasted the most facilities. It had separate buildings for crew chiefs, operations, supply, barracks, pit latrine, crash truck shed, generator shed and a control tower. Luke AF Auxiliary #6 ceased operations by 1971.
Select the Ideal Paralegal College near Goodyear AZ
Enrolling in the best paralegal training program is an important 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 Goodyear residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you choose to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Goodyear AZ.
Other Cool Cities in Arizona
Business Results 1 - 10 of 193