How to Select a Paralegal Degree Program near Holbrook Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Holbrook AZ and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational choices are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting range of their Holbrook homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be considered as well. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 hold the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Holbrook AZ with a diverse array of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Holbrook AZ paralegal can be involved and very challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Holbrook AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. Once you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Holbrook AZ.
Paralegal Online Classes
Online paralegal programs have become more common and can be an excellent alternative for students in Holbrook AZ looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Holbrook AZ area schools. But since there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical aspects to consider as well, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Holbrook AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Holbrook AZ paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also present a means for students to start creating contacts within the Holbrook AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to build relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to initially investigate those schools that are within your Holbrook AZ local region.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Holbrook AZ. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Holbrook AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Also, 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 classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Holbrook AZ?
Holbrook (Navajo: Tʼiisyaakin) is a city in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city was 5,053. The city is the county seat of Navajo County.
The Holbrook area was inhabited first by the Anasazi, then Puebloans, then the Navajo and Apache. In 1540 (some seventy years before Jamestown or the Pilgrims) Coronado searched for the Seven Cities of Cibola and camped some sixty miles east of Holbrook. Coronado sent an expedition west to find the Colorado River, and they crossed the Little Colorado some twenty-five miles east of Holbrook and found a wonderland of colors they named "El Desierto Pintada" - The Painted Desert. The expedition was then led by the Hopis to the Grand Canyon.
After the Mexican–American War ended in 1848 the area was ceded to the United States. From 1851 to 1857 the U.S. Army sent three expeditions along the 35th parallel, the third led by Lt. Beale who created a ten foot wide wagon road. The area was known as Navajo Springs for a spring a dozen miles northeast of Holbrook. Soon after a store and saloon was established at the confluence of the Rio Puerco and Little Colorado Rivers two miles east of Holbrook, and the area became known as Horsehead Crossing.
In 1876 Mormons emigrated from Utah and began settlements near Horsehead Crossing on both the Little Colorado and Rio Puerco rivers. During 1881 and 1882, railroad tracks were laid down and a railroad station was built to supply wood and water and to freight supplies south to Fort Apache. The community was then named Holbrook after the first engineer of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The railroad sold a million acres to a Boston investment group which established the Aztec Land and Cattle Company, better known as the Hashknife Outfit. It leased another million acres of government land and became one of the largest cattle ranches ever to exist. Holbrook became its headquarters and quickly grew into a cow-town.
Enroll in the Ideal Paralegal College near Holbrook AZ
Choosing the right paralegal training program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Holbrook residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you choose to receive your training 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 decision. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Holbrook AZ.
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