How to Choose a Paralegal College near Wanaque New Jersey
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Wanaque NJ and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students start by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Wanaque homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly 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 the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Wanaque NJ with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their regular tasks can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Wanaque NJ paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to start your career in Wanaque NJ as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in New Jersey to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your employment 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 school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Wanaque NJ.
Paralegal Online Training
Paralegal online schools have become more common and may be an excellent alternative for individuals in Wanaque NJ searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Wanaque NJ area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical factors to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Wanaque NJ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Wanaque NJ paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, 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 a few law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Wanaque NJ legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with New Jersey legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ from state to state, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially consider those schools that are within your Wanaque NJ local region.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be available to help minimize some of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Wanaque NJ. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Wanaque NJ, make certain 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. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Wanaque NJ?
Wanaque, New Jersey
Wanaque (/ˈwɒnəkjuː, wəˈnɑːki/) is a borough in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 11,116, reflecting an increase of 850 (+8.3%) from the 10,266 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 555 (+5.7%) from the 9,711 counted in the 1990 Census.
Wanaque was incorporated as an independent borough on February 23, 1918, when Pompton Township was split up into three boroughs, along with Bloomingdale and Ringwood, based on the results of a referendum held on March 22, 1918. The borough's name Wanaque (original pronunciation 'Wa Na Kee') is thought to have been derived from a Lenni Lenape Native American word meaning "land of sassafras".
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 9.253 square miles (23.965 km2), including 7.990 square miles (20.694 km2) of land and 1.263 square miles (3.271 km2) of water (13.65%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the borough include Haskell, Lake Inez, Lake Washington, Meadow Brook Lake, Midvale, Ramapo Lake, Rotten Pond, Stephens Lake and Upper Midvale.
Select the Best Paralegal School near Wanaque NJ
Enrolling in the best paralegal training program is an important first step to guarantee 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 attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Wanaque home. Paralegal education programs are provided in many formats and lengths. Different types of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational 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 programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to examine each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Wanaque NJ.
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