How to Find a Paralegal Degree Program near Corcoran California
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Corcoran CA and start your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Corcoran homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be taken into consideration too. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you need 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 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 basically both hold comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Corcoran CA with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their daily tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Corcoran CA paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Corcoran CA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some 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 program (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Corcoran CA.
Online Paralegal Programs
Paralegal online programs have become more available and may be an excellent option for those in Corcoran CA searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online programs can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Schools
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the process of assessing Corcoran CA area schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other important issues to consider also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal School 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 get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Corcoran CA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Corcoran CA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, 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 graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also present a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Corcoran CA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from one state to another, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire your education in the community where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first investigate those colleges that are within your Corcoran CA local region.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help minimize part of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Corcoran CA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Corcoran CA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in provides that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Corcoran CA?
Corcoran is a city in Kings County, California, United States. Corcoran is located 17 miles (27 km) south-southeast of Hanford, at an elevation of 207 ft (63 m). It is part of the Hanford–Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 24,813 (2010 census), up from 14,458 (2000 census). The California Department of Finance estimated that Corcoran's population was 22,691 on January 1, 2016.
Corcoran is most famous as the site of the California State Prison, Corcoran, home to a number of notable inmates such as Charles Manson, and Juan Corona. The California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran is a separate facility that is also located in the city. As of January 1. 2015, the two prisons held a combined total of 9,592 inmates. Inmates are counted as city residents by both the United States Census and the California Department of Finance. Thus, the incarcerated persons in the two prisons comprise just over 43% of the total population of Corcoran.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Corcoran had a population of 24,813. The population density was 3,323.2 people per square mile (1,283.1/km²). The racial makeup of Corcoran was 8,940 (36.0%) White, 3,725 (15.0%) African American, 349 (1.4%) Native American, 193 (0.8%) Asian, 17 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 10,979 (44.2%) from other races, and 610 (2.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15,545 persons (62.6%).
There were 3,594 households, out of which 1,981 (55.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,737 (48.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 781 (21.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 376 (10.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 384 (10.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 19 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 556 households (15.5%) were made up of individuals and 214 (6.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.50. There were 2,894 families (80.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.84.
Select the Best Paralegal Training near Corcoran CA
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal degree program is an essential first step toward 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 attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Corcoran residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Different kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each school and make your final decision. And with the right training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Corcoran CA.
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