How to Select a Paralegal Certificate Program near Colorado City Arizona
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Colorado City AZ and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require 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 educational options are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling range of their Colorado City residences. Of those choices, they look 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 take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be taken into account too. Later on in this article we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational options that are offered 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 functions, 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 Colorado City AZ with a diverse array of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but some of their daily tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Colorado City AZ paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Colorado City AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve just six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some 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 address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Colorado City AZ.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Online paralegal programs have become more popular and can be an excellent option for students in Colorado City AZ searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the process of evaluating Colorado City AZ area schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial issues to research as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Colorado City AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Colorado City AZ paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation 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 exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Colorado City AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer 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 secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws vary from state to state, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially consider those colleges that are within your Colorado City AZ local region.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, 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 as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Colorado City AZ. Of course if you decide to attend an online school, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Colorado City AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in provides that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Colorado City AZ?
Colorado City, Arizona
Colorado City is a town in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, and is located in a region known as the Arizona Strip. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 4,821. At least three Mormon fundamentalist sects are said to have been based there.
Colorado City, formerly known as Short Creek (or the Short Creek Community), was founded in 1913 by members of the Council of Friends, a breakaway group from the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The Council of Friends membership desired a remote location where they could practice plural marriage, which had been publicly abandoned by the LDS Church in 1890. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent troops into the settlement to stop polygamy in what became known as the Short Creek raid. The two-year legal battle that followed became a public relations disaster that damaged Pyle's political career and set a hands-off tone toward the town in Arizona for the next 50 years.
After the death of Joseph W. Musser, the community split into two groups: the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stayed in Short Creek, while the Apostolic United Brethren relocated to Bluffdale, Utah. The FLDS changed the name of the community to Colorado City (on the Arizona side of the border) and Hildale (on the Utah side) to eliminate any ties to the Short Creek raids.
In January 2004, the local FLDS fundamentalist leader, Warren Jeffs, expelled a group of 20 men, including the mayor, and gave their wives and children to other men. Jeffs, now a convicted sexual predator, stated he was acting on the orders of God, while the men expelled claimed they were penalized for disagreeing with Jeffs. Observers stated[by whom?] that this was the most severe split to date within the community other than the split between Colorado City and Centennial Park. According to the Utah attorney general's office, this was not the first time Jeffs was accused of expelling men from the community; as many as 400 young men are estimated to have been expelled by Jeffs from 2001–2006. Most were removed for failing to follow Jeffs' rules, or for dating women without his permission. Many of these expelled men and boys were very naïve and sheltered, often wound up homeless in nearby towns such as Hurricane, Utah and St. George, Utah. Jeffs was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list and eventually arrested on August 28, 2006.
Find the Ideal Paralegal Training near Colorado City AZ
Selecting the right paralegal educational program is a vital first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Colorado City home. Paralegal education programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to evaluate each school and make your final selection. And with the appropriate training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Colorado City AZ.
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