How to Find a Paralegal Studies Program near Eagle River Alaska
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Eagle River AK and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving range of their Eagle River residences. Of those choices, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime 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 school should be taken into account also. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s have 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 essentially both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Eagle River AK with a wide range of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day activities might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Eagle River AK paralegal can be complicated and very demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Eagle River AK as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Alaska to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected certifying agencies 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Eagle River AK.
Online Paralegal Programs
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and can be a good option for individuals in Eagle River AK looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Eagle River AK area schools. But because there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of potential 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 crucial aspects to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.
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 get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Eagle River AK law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Eagle River AK paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to begin establishing contacts within the Eagle River AK legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to establish relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first look at those colleges that are within your Eagle River AK local region.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Eagle River AK. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these added costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Eagle River AK, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Eagle River AK?
Eagle River, Anchorage
Eagle River is a community within the Municipality of Anchorage situated on the Eagle River for which it is named, between Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Chugach State Park in the Chugach Mountains. Its ZIP code is 99577. If Eagle River were not part of the Municipality of Anchorage, it would be classified as one of the five largest cities in Alaska.
The name Eagle River was first reported in 1939 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The Eagle River/Chugiak area was settled by homesteaders and prospered on agricultural activities. The Eagle River post office was established in 1961.
In spite of some local opposition, both Chugiak and Eagle River became annexed to the Municipality of Anchorage, when the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough were unified in 1975. Efforts to secede from the Municipality surfaced around 2000, but are no longer prominent as the community has seen an influx of individuals who have social and economic ties to Anchorage and the nearby Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson.
Neighborhoods along the Glenn Highway and Old Glenn Highway corridor are level or sloping, rising towards the Chugach Mountains east of the Old Glenn Highway. The remainder of the community lies along the canyon of the Eagle River; some neighborhoods built in the late 20th century and early 21st century near the Briggs Bridge are built very close to the bottom of the canyon. Neighborhoods along the northern portions of Eagle River, plus Hiland Road and Eagle River Road east of the curve where the road leaves the section line and descends into the canyon, mainly consist of houses built across the mountainsides. Wallace Mountain, on the far northeast corner of the community's road system, is home to several radio station transmitters and towers at the 1,900 feet (580 m) level.
Find the Ideal Paralegal College near Eagle River AK
Choosing the best paralegal degree program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Eagle River home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you choose 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 ultimate selection. And with the right education you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Eagle River AK.
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