How to Choose a Paralegal Program near Salt Lick Kentucky
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Salt Lick KY and start your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to be successful. 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 choices are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling range of their Salt Lick residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be taken into account also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic choices 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, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Salt Lick KY with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their day-to-day activities may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Salt Lick KY paralegal can be involved and rather challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, 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 prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to begin your career in Salt Lick KY as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Kentucky to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected 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 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 initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Salt Lick KY.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Online paralegal programs have become more available and can be a good alternative for individuals in Salt Lick KY looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can begin the process of assessing Salt Lick KY area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at community and junior 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 most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical factors to consider as well, for instance 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 effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Salt Lick KY law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Salt Lick KY paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking 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 verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Salt Lick KY legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Kentucky legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary among states, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you want 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 need to initially investigate those schools that are within your Salt Lick KY local region.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be available to help reduce part of the expense, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Salt Lick KY. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Salt Lick KY, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose makes available that option. Last, find out what the protocol is for making up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Salt Lick KY?
Salt Lick, Kentucky
The community at the present site of Salt Lick was originally named Vail when the first post office was established in 1882. The town was laid out and renamed in 1884; the post office followed suit four years later after the city was formally incorporated.
Salt Lick is located at 38°7′10″N 83°36′58″W / 38.11944°N 83.61611°W / 38.11944; -83.61611 (38.119555, -83.616069), at the intersection of US 60 and KY 211 beside the Licking River. It is part of the Mount Sterling micropolitan area. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.77 square miles (2.0 km2), of which 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2), or 1.15%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 342 people, 130 households, and 89 families residing in the city. The population density was 437.6 people per square mile (169.3/km²). There were 157 housing units at an average density of 200.9 per square mile (77.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.12% White, 0.58% Native American, and 0.29% from two or more races.
There were 130 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.21.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal Training near Salt Lick KY
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed 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 Salt Lick residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of 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 assess each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate education you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Salt Lick KY.
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