How to Choose a Paralegal Degree Program near Trinity North Carolina
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Trinity NC and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. 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 alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving range of their Trinity homes. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be taken into account also. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic 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 for the most part both fill comparable job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Trinity NC with a wide range of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their daily tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Trinity NC paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since 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 Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Trinity NC as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in North Carolina to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded 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 initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Trinity NC.
Paralegal Online Training
Paralegal online schools have become more prevalent and may be an excellent alternative for students in Trinity NC searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Trinity NC area schools. But since there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important issues to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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. Many Trinity NC law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Trinity NC paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Trinity NC legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with North Carolina legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first consider those colleges that are within your Trinity NC local region.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize part of the cost, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Trinity NC. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Trinity NC, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you select makes available that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Trinity NC?
Trinity, North Carolina
The community was named after Trinity College, which later became Duke University. The "World's Longest Hot Wheels Track" was built at the Kyle Petty Farm in Trinity, North Carolina, on May 9, 1999. Sealy Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of bedding products with sales of $1.2 billion in 2003, is headquartered in Trinity, North Carolina. Former baseball player Gil English died in Trinity, North Carolina. Trinity is also home to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Bobby Labonte, Brian Vickers and Kyle Petty.
Trinity College, later Duke University, started as Brown's Schoolhouse, a private subscription school founded in 1838. The school was organized by a group of Methodists and Quakers, and was officially started by Hezekiah Leigh; the same Leigh who is widely recognized as the founder of Randolph-Macon College. In 1841 North Carolina issued a charter for Union Institute Academy. The school took the name Trinity College in 1859, and in 1892, Trinity moved to Durham.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.0 square miles (44 km2), of which, 16.9 square miles (44 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.59%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,690 people, 2,638 households, and 2,057 families residing in the city. The population density was 395.9 people per square mile (152.8/km²). There were 2,759 housing units at an average density of 163.3 per square mile (63.0/km²). The racial composition of the city was: 93.05% White, 5.04% Black or African American, 0.91% Hispanic or Latino American, 0.54% Asian American, 0.63% Native American, 0.01% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 0.33% some other race, and 0.40% two or more races.
Select the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Trinity NC
Selecting the right paralegal training program is an important first step toward 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 Trinity home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Various types of private and public institutions offer 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 opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to examine each school and make your final selection. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Trinity NC.
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