How to Choose a Paralegal Degree Program near Antelope California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Antelope CA and start your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require 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 becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling range of their Antelope homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be taken into account also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both hold comparable job roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Antelope CA with a diverse array of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties 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 firms where they work, but some of their daily activities may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Antelope CA paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. 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 restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
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. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Antelope CA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can take as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly respected 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 school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Antelope CA.
Online Paralegal Programs
Paralegal online schools have become more prevalent and may be an excellent alternative for individuals in Antelope CA looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can start the process of assessing Antelope CA area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant issues to research also, such as 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 thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Antelope CA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Antelope CA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine 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 what schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Antelope CA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you choose to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Antelope CA local area.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential received and the amount of training provided. However, 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 as well. Financial assistance may be accessible to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Antelope CA. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Antelope CA, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select makes available that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Antelope CA?
Antelope is a census-designated place in Sacramento County, California, United States located approximately 15 miles (24 km) northeast of downtown Sacramento and 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Roseville. The population was 45,770 at the 2010 census.
The eastern border first follows Roseville Road south from the county line to Butternut Drive. Then the border continues in the same general direction to Antelope Road, so that parcels on Adagio Way, Andante Drive and Katella Way are within Antelope CDP.
The western border has two parts. The first part extends from Antelope Rd northwards toward Elverta Rd along 28th St. The second part extends from Elverta Rd towards the Placer county line, along Dry Creek.
The boundaries were drawn and the town name established by a vote in 1993 to establish the community's identity. The Antelope, CA town designation began July 1, 1994. The ZIP code for Antelope: 95843 
Choose the Right Paralegal Training near Antelope CA
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee 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 comfort and privacy of your Antelope home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Various types of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to assess each school and make your final selection. And with the right training you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Antelope CA.
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