How to Select a Paralegal Certificate Program near Dover Afb Delaware
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Dover Afb DE and start your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Dover Afb homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be taken into consideration also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational 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 positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Dover Afb DE with a wide range of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their daily activities might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Dover Afb DE paralegal can be complex and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Dover Afb DE as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require just 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Delaware to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Dover Afb DE.
Paralegal Online Programs
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and may be a good option for those in Dover Afb DE searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online programs can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the right option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Dover Afb DE area schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a reputable 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 targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Dover Afb DE law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Dover Afb DE paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, 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 offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Dover Afb DE legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Delaware legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to first investigate those schools that are within your Dover Afb DE local region.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help minimize some of the cost, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Dover Afb DE. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Dover Afb DE, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you enroll in provides that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Dover Afb DE?
Dover Air Force Base
Dover AFB is home to the 436th Airlift Wing (436 AW) of the Air Mobility Command (AMC), known as the "Eagle Wing", and the AMC-gained 512th Airlift Wing (512 AW) of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), referred to as the "Liberty Wing". It was previously the only base to solely operate the massive C-5 Galaxy and now operates both that aircraft plus the C-17 Globemaster III. The 436 AW has two active flying squadrons (the 3rd Airlift Squadron, which now operates the C-17 Globemaster III, and 9th Airlift Squadron), and the 512 AW has two Air Force Reserve flying squadrons (the 326th Airlift Squadron and the 709th Airlift Squadron).
Dover AFB is also the home for the largest military mortuary in the Department of Defense, and has been used for processing military personnel killed in both war and peacetime; the remains of those killed overseas are traditionally brought to Dover AFB before being transferred to family. The Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs has also been used to identify remains of civilians in certain exceptional circumstances: in 1978 for the victims of the Jonestown mass murder/suicide, in 1986 for identifying the remains of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, and in 2003 for the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. It was also a major site for identifying the remains of military personnel killed in the 9/11 attacks. During the night of October 28, 2009, before making a decision on the committal of further troops to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama visited the base to receive the bodies of several American soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Two sections of the 436th Aerial Port Squadron warehouse collapsed on February 18, 2003, as a result of a record snow storm. No one was injured in the collapse that caused more than an estimated $1 million in damages. The damage covered two of the six cargo processing bays in the facility.
Construction of Municipal Airport, Dover Airdrome began in March 1941 and the facility was opened on December 17, 1941. It was converted to a U.S. Army Air Corps airfield just weeks after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. It was renamed Dover Army Airbase on April 8, 1943; *Dover Subbase on June 6, 1943, and Dover Army Airfield on February 2, 1944. With the establishment of the United States Air Force on September 18, 1947, the facility was renamed Dover Air Force Base on January 13, 1948.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal Training near Dover Afb DE
Enrolling in the best paralegal training program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Dover Afb residence. Paralegal education programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Various kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program 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, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to receive your education 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 final decision. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Dover Afb DE.
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