How to Select a Paralegal College near Princeton Kentucky
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Princeton KY and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require 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 educational alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within driving distance of their Princeton homes. Of those alternatives, 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 need to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be considered as well. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you need 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 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 essentially both hold the same job roles and functions, 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 classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Princeton KY with a wide range of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their routine tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers 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 Princeton KY paralegal can be involved and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. 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 otherwise.
Paralegal Programs 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 educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career in Princeton KY as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Kentucky to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will discuss 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 Princeton KY.
Online Paralegal Classes
Paralegal online schools have become more prevalent and may be an excellent alternative for those in Princeton KY looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, 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 quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a respected agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the process of assessing Princeton KY area schools. But since there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate 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 prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical factors to think about also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select need to be accredited by a reputable 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 online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Princeton KY law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Princeton KY paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession 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 an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide a means for students to start developing contacts within the Princeton KY legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Kentucky legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ among states, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduation. Also, it will be necessary to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those colleges that are within your Princeton KY local area.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help reduce part of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Princeton KY. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Princeton KY, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select makes available that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Princeton KY?
Princeton is home to several notable attractions such as Adsmore Museum, Champion-Shepherdson House (home of the Princeton Art Guild), University of Kentucky Research and Education Center Botanical Garden, Capitol Cinemas, the Annual Black Patch Festival, and Newsom's Aged Kentucky Ham.
The community at the head of Eddy Creek was first called Eddy Grove for the creek's source at a large whirling spring. 1,700 acres (690 ha) of surrounding land was granted to the Virginian William Prince for his service during the American Revolution. He settled there in what was then Livingston County in 1799 and erected Shandy Hall, a brick home and tavern. Prince's heirs and another local landowner named Thomas Frazier granted 40 acres (16 ha) around Eddy Grove and Prince's Place towards the establishment of a new town in 1817, provided the courthouse of the newly formed Caldwell County was relocated there from Eddyville. The county court accepted the proposal in July and named the new community Princetown, which shortened to Princeton by the time of the Eddy Grove.
Construction of Princeton College began in 1860 but was delayed by the commencement of the Civil War. Confederate troops camped on its campus in 1861, using one of the buildings as a hospital. Following the Confederate retreat in early 1862, Union soldiers occupied the town for the remainder of the war. In December 1864, Confederate-allied Kentuckian cavalry under Gen. Hylan B. Lyon raided the town and razed the courthouse, which was serving as a Union garrison.
The expansion of railroads in the late 19th century made Princeton an important junction on several major railway lines, most notably the Illinois Central and the L&N. Princeton was also at the center of the Black Patch Tobacco Wars that occurred after the turn of the 20th century.
Select the Ideal Paralegal Degree Program near Princeton KY
Selecting the right paralegal degree program is an important first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Princeton home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Various types of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you decide to obtain your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to review each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the right education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Princeton KY.
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