How to Select a Paralegal Degree Program near Castroville California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Castroville CA and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Many potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Castroville residences. Of those choices, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program should be taken into account as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational choices 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 fill the same job positions and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Castroville CA with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their regular activities might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Castroville CA paralegal can be involved and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career in Castroville CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and earn a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 program (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Castroville CA.
Online Paralegal Programs
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and may be a good option for those in Castroville CA searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more 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 respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Castroville CA area schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to 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 many potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant aspects to think about also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching 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 select should be accredited by a recognized organization 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 focuses on distance or online education. 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 as well. A number of Castroville CA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Castroville CA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing 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 call some law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School 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 present a pathway for students to begin establishing contacts within the Castroville CA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws vary from one state to another, it might be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially look at those schools that are within your Castroville CA local area.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Castroville CA. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Castroville CA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you select offers that option. Last, find out what the process is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Castroville CA?
The site of the community was originally part of Rancho Bolsa Nueva y Moro Cojo, a 30,901-acre (125.05 km2) Mexican land grant given in 1844 by Manuel Micheltorena, Governor of Alta California, to María Antonia Pico de Castro. After the 1848 cession of California to the United States following the Mexican–American War, Juan Bautista Castro, son of María Antonia Pico de Castro, founded Castroville in 1863.
The Rancho Bolsa Nueva y Moro Cojo is a combination of three land grants. "Rancho Moro Cojo," granted by Governor Luis Antonio Arguello in 1825. The second is "Rancho Bolsa Nueva," by Governnor Mariano Chico in 1836. The third was granted by Governor Juan Alvarado to Simeon Castro (Juan Bautista Castro's Father) in 1837.
In the 1840s, mapmaker Duflot de Mofras, wrote, "A few leagues before reaching the "Pajaro River", an area measuring a few hundred meters where the round trembles under the horses feet, although the earth is hard and covered by turf, is encountered.
In 1870 Manuel R. Merritt, the editor of the newspaper Castroville Argus (1869–1880) announced, “We will give alternate lots, on any part of the town site we still own… to any person who will build as practicable, a good comfortable dwelling house on his lot.
Find the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Castroville CA
Selecting the right paralegal degree program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Castroville residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you decide to acquire your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Castroville CA.
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