How to Select a Paralegal Program near Acton California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Acton CA and begin your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you need 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 options are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students start by searching for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Acton residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be taken into account also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at 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 basically both hold the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Acton CA with a diverse array of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Acton CA paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Acton CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can take as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Acton CA.
Paralegal Online Programs
Online paralegal programs have become more popular and can be a good alternative for those in Acton CA looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to individuals who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more 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 program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing Acton CA area schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial issues to consider 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 considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Acton CA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Acton CA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also present a means for students to start creating contacts within the Acton CA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after 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 challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it may be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to initially investigate those schools that are within your Acton CA local region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Acton CA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Acton CA, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you select provides that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Acton CA?
Acton is a small residential community located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains. It is off the Antelope Valley Freeway (Highway 14) near Palmdale. Acton is roughly 20 miles (32 km) northeast of the San Fernando Valley and 47 miles (76 km) north of downtown Los Angeles. The town has a rural western theme which can be seen in its homes, commercial buildings, and historical buildings (some of which date back to the late 1800s). The homes in the mountains around Acton have great views of the valley below. In the valley are ranch style homes, often with equestrian facilities. While Acton is not a part of the Antelope Valley, it is grouped together with the "AV" in the General Plan. Acton has a Metrolink commuter rail station on its border with Palmdale that is themed in an "old western" style and has been seen in various movies and commercials.
Acton was founded in 1887 by gold miners who were working in the Red Rover Mine. It was named after Acton, Massachusetts by one of the miners. Two of the best-known gold mines located in Acton were the Red Rover mine and the Governor mine. Mining of gold, copper, and titanium ore continued into the early 1900s. The town originally had served as a railroad camp from 1873 to 1876 when the Saugus-Mojave section of the Southern Pacific Railroad was under construction.
Acton was once considered for the State capital of California. California Governor Henry T. Gage (1899–1903) owned the Governor Mine, hence the name, and sought to relocate the capital to Acton. This effort ultimately failed and the capital was not moved from Sacramento. In the late 1880s, Acton started to become more of a ranching and farming community. In 1889, Acton's first hotel and its first saloon, the 49er was opened, and it is still open for business today.
Acton is located at 34°28′22″N 118°11′1″W / 34.47278°N 118.18361°W / 34.47278; -118.18361 (34.472777, -118.183696). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 39.3 square miles (102 km2), over 99% of it land. At the 2000 census, the CDP had a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), all land.
Choose the Ideal Paralegal Training near Acton CA
Enrolling in the right paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Acton home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in many formats and lengths. Different types of private and public institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each program and make your final decision. And with the right training you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Acton CA.
Other Cool Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 806