How to Choose a Paralegal College near Eielson Afb Alaska
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Eielson Afb AK and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Eielson Afb homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school should be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at 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 for the most part both hold the same job roles and functions, just 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 category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Eielson Afb AK with a wide variety 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 are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Eielson Afb AK paralegal can be complicated and rather challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could on their own.
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. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Eielson Afb AK as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alaska to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Eielson Afb AK.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and can be an excellent alternative for those in Eielson Afb AK searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to individuals who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a reputable organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing Eielson Afb AK area schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other significant aspects to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Eielson Afb AK law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Eielson Afb AK paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Eielson Afb AK legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools 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 substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ among states, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first investigate those colleges that are within your Eielson Afb AK local area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help offset part of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Eielson Afb AK. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Eielson Afb AK, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select provides that option. Last, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Eielson Afb AK?
Eielson Air Force Base
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska. It was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field and taken off deployment in 2007. It has been a Superfund site since 1989.
Its host unit is the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Eleventh Air Force of the Pacific Air Forces. The 354 FW's primary mission is to support Red Flag – Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander–directed field training exercises for U.S. Forces, joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. These exercises are conducted on the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range complex with air operations flown out of the two bases.
Eielson is home to the 354th Fighter Wing which is part of the Eleventh Air Force (11 AF) of Pacific Air Forces. The 354th Fighter Wing mission is "To train, deliver, maintain and support combat power across the globe while taking care of our people, their families and our infrastructure." To accomplish that mission, the wing implements flying operations, mission support, maintenance and medical care functions and is host to 10 tenant units.
On 7 June 1943, the Western Defense Command ordered construction of a new airfield near present-day Fort Wainwright, then an Army airfield named after Major Arthur K. Ladd. Because of its hazard-free approaches and relatively flat terrain, surveyor reports indicated a site a little more than twenty-five miles southeast of Ladd Army Airfield to be the best in the vicinity for military aviation. The field became known as "Mile 26" because of its proximity to a US Army Signal Corps telegraph station and a Richardson Highway milepost marker using the same designation.
Choose the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Eielson Afb AK
Selecting the ideal paralegal training program is a crucial first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Eielson Afb residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Eielson Afb AK.
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Greathouse has been teaching on a part-time basis for the past nine years in CSUEB’s Paralegal Studies and Human Resource Management programs. He teaches Legal Research and Writing and Electronic Discovery in the Paralegal program. He teaches Discrimination Law and Wage and Hour Practice in the Human Resource program.