How to Select a Paralegal Training Program near Boron California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Boron CA and start your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic options are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Boron residences. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school should be considered as well. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill comparable job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Boron CA with a wide variety of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally 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 comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but some of their daily tasks might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Boron CA paralegal can be complicated and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Boron CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help substantiate 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Boron CA.
Paralegal Online Degrees
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and may be a good alternative for those in Boron CA looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a respected organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Boron CA area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant factors to think about as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school 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 may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Boron CA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Boron CA paralegal schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training 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 quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Boron CA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ among states, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to build relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first investigate those colleges that are within your Boron CA local area.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help offset part of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Boron CA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, some of these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Boron CA, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in offers that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Boron CA?
Boron (formerly Amargo, Baker, Borate, and Kern) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kern County, California, United States. Boron is 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Red Rock Mountain at an elevation of 2,467 feet (752 m). The population was 2,253 at the 2010 census, up from 2,025 at the 2000 census. Boron is named after the element boron and is the site of the world's largest source of the boron compound boric acid.
Boron is a hinterland community on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. Within a half day's drive one can view the highest and lowest points in the contiguous 48 states of the United States (Mount Whitney and Death Valley), the world's oldest tree, the bristlecone pine, and the cities of both Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Boron is home to the U.S. Borax Boron Mine, California's largest open-pit mine, which is also the largest borax mine in the world. 35°2′34.44″N 117°40′45.41″W / 35.0429000°N 117.6792806°W / 35.0429000; -117.6792806 (U.S. Borax Boron Mine)
Boron is on the border of Kern and San Bernardino Counties along State Route 58. The coordinates are: 34°59′58″N 117°38′59″W / 34.99944°N 117.64972°W / 34.99944; -117.64972. Boron is 65 miles (105 km) north of Palmdale, 85 miles (137 km) east of Bakersfield, and 40 miles (64 km) west of Barstow in the Antelope Valley region of California's Mojave Desert. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.8 square miles (36 km2), over 99 percent of its land.
Choose the Best Paralegal Program near Boron CA
Enrolling in the right paralegal training program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Boron home. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the right education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Boron CA.
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