How to Choose a Paralegal Degree Program near Alhambra California
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Alhambra CA and begin your journey that will result in a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive 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 a growing number of academic options are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Alhambra homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be considered as well. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s take 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 basically both hold the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Alhambra CA with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their everyday tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Alhambra CA paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more apropos 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 ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career in Alhambra CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may take just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded 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 school (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Alhambra CA.
Online Paralegal Training
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and may be an excellent alternative for individuals in Alhambra CA looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to individuals who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Alhambra CA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other crucial issues to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency 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 focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Alhambra CA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants 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 Alhambra CA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin establishing contacts within the Alhambra CA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ from one state to another, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially investigate those schools that are within your Alhambra CA local region.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help reduce part of the cost, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Alhambra CA. Of course if you opt to attend an online program, some of these additional costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Alhambra CA, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you select makes available that option. Last, inquire what the process is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Alhambra CA?
Alhambra (/ælˈhæmbrə/ ( listen) or /ɑːlˈhɑːmbrə/ ( listen)) is a city located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately eight miles from the Downtown Los Angeles civic center. It was incorporated on July 11, 1903. As of the 2010 census, the population was 83,089. The city's ZIP codes are 91801 and 91803 (plus 91802 for P.O. boxes).
The San Gabriel Mission was founded nearby on September 8, 1771 as part of the Spanish conquest and occupation of Alta California. The land that would later become Alhambra was part of a 300,000 acre land grant given to Manuel Nieto, a soldier from the Los Angeles Presidio. In 1820 Mexico won its independence from the Spanish crown and lands once ruled by them became part of the Mexican Republic. These lands then transferred into the hands of the United States following the defeat in the Mexican–American War. A wealthy developer, Benjamin Davis Wilson, married Ramona Yorba, daughter of Bernardo Yorba, who owned the land which would become Alhambra. With the persuasion of his daughter, Ruth, Yorba named the land after a book she was reading, Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra, which he was inspired to write by his extended visit to the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. Alhambra was founded as a suburb of Los Angeles that remained an unincorporated area during the mid-19th century. The first school in Alhambra was Ramona Convent Secondary School, built on hillside property donated by the prominent James de Barth Shorb family. Thirteen years before the city was incorporated, several prominent San Gabriel Valley families interested in the Catholic education of their daughters established the school in 1890. The city's first public high school, Alhambra High School, was established in 1898, five years before the city's incorporation. On July 11, 1903, the City of Alhambra was incorporated. The Alhambra Fire Department was established in 1906.
Alhambra was originally promoted as a "city of homes", and many of its homes have historical significance. They include styles such as craftsman, bungalow, Spanish Mediterranean, Spanish colonial, Italian beaux-arts, and arts and crafts. Twenty-six single-family residential areas have been designated historic neighborhoods by the city, including the Bean Tract (formerly owned by early resident Jacob Bean), the Midwick Tract (site of the former Midwick Country Club), the Airport Tract (formerly the landing pad for Alhambra Airport), and the Emery Park area. There are also a large number of condominiums, rental apartments, and mixed-use residential/commercial buildings, especially in the downtown area.
Alhambra's main business district, at the intersection of Main and Garfield, has been a center of commerce since 1895. By the 1950s, it had taken on an upscale look and was "the" place to go in the San Gabriel Valley. While many of the classic historical buildings have been torn down over the years, the rebuilding of Main Street has led to numerous dining, retail, and entertainment establishments. Alhambra has experienced waves of new immigrants, beginning with Italians in the 1950s, Mexicans in the 1960s, and Chinese in the 1980s. As a result, a very active Chinese business district has developed on Valley Boulevard, including Chinese supermarkets, restaurants, shops, banks, realtors, and medical offices. The Valley Boulevard corridor has become a national hub for many Asian-owned bank headquarters, and there are other nationally recognised retailers in the city.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal Program near Alhambra CA
Selecting the best paralegal degree program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Alhambra home. Paralegal education programs are provided in numerous lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact 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 best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to evaluate each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Alhambra CA.
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Paralegal Certificate San Diego | UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies
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California Paralegal Certification Basic Paralegal Certification Requirements. Certification: A certificate from a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) or a certificate from a regionally accredited institution that had at least 24 credit hours focused on legal courses.; Age: 18 or older.; Licensure: There is no specific paralegal license in California.
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Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies | UC Berkeley Extension
LAW X407 Paralegal California Procedures ... The UC Berkeley Extension online Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies is in compliance with California Business and Professions Code 6450 through 6456 regulatory standards for paralegal education. ... is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). UC Berkeley Extension ...