How to Select a Paralegal Studies Program near Carson California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Carson CA and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Carson homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will cover 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 exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives 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 comparable job roles and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Carson CA with a diverse array of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their daily tasks can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a Carson CA paralegal can be complex and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Carson CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may take as little as 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded certifying agencies in the field 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 discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Carson CA.
Paralegal Online Schools
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and can be a good alternative for individuals in Carson CA looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in greater 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 looking into are accredited by a reputable agency, 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 choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the process of assessing Carson CA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical factors to research also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Carson CA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Carson CA paralegal schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact a few law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Carson CA legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to first consider those colleges that are within your Carson CA local area.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce part of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Carson CA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Carson CA, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you choose makes available that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Carson CA?
Carson is a city in Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2010 census, Carson had a population of 91,714. Located 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown Los Angeles and approximately 14 miles away from the Los Angeles International Airport. Incorporated on February 20, 1968, Carson is the youngest municipality in the South Bay region of Metropolitan Los Angeles. The city is generally a working class city with some middle-class neighborhoods.
1921 marked the first drilling for oil at Dominguez Hill, on the northwest side of the Dominguez Rancho, site of the famous battle during the Mexican–American War called the Battle of Dominguez Rancho in 1846. The mineral rights to this property were owned by Carson Estate Company, the Hellman Family, the Dominguez Estate Company, and the Burnham Exploration Company of Frederick Russell Burnham. On September 7, 1923, Burnham Exploration partnering with Union Oil brought in the first producer on the site: Callender No. 1-A well at a depth of 4,068 feet (1,240 m) and 1,193 barrels per day (189.7 m3/d). Before long a number of refineries were up and running, with over 350 oil derricks, tank farms, and sprawling industrial complexes becoming a familiar part of the scenery. The principal leases were with Shell Oil Company and Union Oil of California and the first two wells were located west of Central Avenue and north of Victoria Street. Oil led to an increase in jobs in the community and a subsequent post-war population surge. An average of 300 barrels per day (48 m3/d) was produced from each of these wells through 1960.
In 2011, Shell was ordered by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to clean up the Carousel neighborhood after benzene and methane gas contamination was discovered, as well as soil and groundwater contamination.
Carson is bordered by West Rancho Dominguez on the north, Compton on the northeast, Rancho Dominguez and Long Beach on the east, Wilmington on the south, and West Carson and Harbor Gateway on the west.
Enroll in the Ideal Paralegal College near Carson CA
Enrolling in the best paralegal educational program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Carson home. Paralegal education programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to examine each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Carson CA.
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