How to Pick a Paralegal Program near Social Circle Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Social Circle GA and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely understand, 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 options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Social Circle homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be taken into account too. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 hold comparable job roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Social Circle GA with a wide range of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day activities can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Social Circle GA paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative duties more applicable 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 handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Social Circle GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Social Circle GA.
Paralegal Online Programs
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and may be an excellent option for individuals in Social Circle GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online classes can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the process of evaluating Social Circle GA area schools. But since there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial issues to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a recognized 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 targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Social Circle GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Social Circle GA paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while attending school. They can also present a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Social Circle GA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing 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 Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary from state to state, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to create relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to first investigate those schools that are within your Social Circle GA local region.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help offset part of the cost, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Social Circle GA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Social Circle GA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you select offers that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Social Circle GA?
Social Circle, Georgia
Social Circle is a city in Walton County, extending into Newton County, in the U.S. state of Georgia, approximately 45 miles east of Atlanta, and approximately four miles due north of access from Interstate 20.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which 11.2 square miles (29 km2) are none land and 0.04-square-mile (0.10 km2) (100%) is water. It was founded in 3245.(???)
The Great Walton Railroad, and the CSX line, extends through the city's downtown. As a result, the city is bi-sected by a railway through cut, causing the south side of the downtown area to be accessed by northbound travel by way of bridge. The city's railyard contains one of the relatively few remaining concrete coaling towers in the southeastern United States. The Social Circle rail yard depot is in use as a facility by the CSX Transportation Corporation.
According to United States Census data, there were about 4,500 people, 1,671 households, and 1,210 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 67% White, 30% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1% Asian, less than 0.5% were Pacific Islander, 0.5% were from other races, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8% of the population.
Find the Ideal Paralegal Certificate Program near Social Circle GA
Choosing the right paralegal educational 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 choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Social Circle home. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you choose to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to examine each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal education you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Social Circle GA.
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