How to Pick a Paralegal College near Elmendorf Afb Alaska
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Elmendorf Afb AK and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate 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 among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within driving range of their Elmendorf Afb homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program should be considered as well. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational choices 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 functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Elmendorf Afb AK with a wide range of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day tasks may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Elmendorf Afb AK paralegal can be involved 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 proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Elmendorf Afb AK as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 program (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Elmendorf Afb AK.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Online paralegal schools have become more prevalent and may be a good alternative for individuals in Elmendorf Afb AK searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials 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 guarantee that the training you receive 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 instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the process of evaluating Elmendorf Afb AK area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can compare 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 prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other important aspects to consider as well, such as 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 investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a respected 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 focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Elmendorf Afb AK law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Elmendorf Afb AK paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call 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 the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also offer an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Elmendorf Afb AK legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. 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 indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may want to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Elmendorf Afb AK local region.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense 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 available to help reduce part of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Elmendorf Afb AK. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Elmendorf Afb AK, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Elmendorf Afb AK?
Fort Richardson (Alaska)
Fort Richardson is a United States Army installation in the U.S. state of Alaska, adjacent to the city of Anchorage. In 2010, it was merged with nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base to form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Fort Richardson was named for the military pioneer explorer, Brig. Gen. Wilds P. Richardson, who served three tours of duty in the rugged Alaska territory between 1897 and 1917. Richardson, a native Texan and an 1884 West Point graduate, commanded troops along the Yukon River and supervised construction of Fort Egbert near Eagle, and Fort William H. Seward (Chilkoot Barracks) near Haines. As head of the War Department's Alaska Road Commission from 1905 to 1917, he was responsible for much of the surveying and building of early railroads, roads and bridges that helped the state’s settlement and growth. The Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, surveyed under his direction in 1904, was named the Richardson Highway in his honor.
During World War II, Fort Richardson was used briefly as a holding center for several family members of Alaskan Japanese Americans arrested after Pearl Harbor. Fifteen Japanese Americans and two German Americans were interned here before being transferred to other camps. Built during 1940-1941 on the site of what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base and established as the headquarters of the United States Army, Alaska (USARAK) in 1947, the post moved to its present location five miles (8 km) northeast of Anchorage in 1950. The post then had barracks for 500 soldiers, a rifle range, a few warehouses, a hospital, and bachelor officer quarters. From 1986-1994 the fort was headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division (Light). Fort Richardson is now headquarters for United States Army Alaska (USARAK), a subordinate unit of United States Army Pacific Command. For more than a decade, the major combat unit at Fort Richardson was Task Force 1-501, the only airborne infantry battalion in the Pacific Theater. Task Force 1-501 deployed to Afghanistan from October 2003 through August 2004.
Fort Richardson appeared once on the 1970 U.S. Census as an unincorporated military reservation. Because it was located within the confines of the Anchorage Census Division, it was consolidated into the City of Anchorage in 1975.
Find the Right Paralegal Program near Elmendorf Afb AK
Choosing the best paralegal educational program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Elmendorf Afb residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Different kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you elect to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to examine each school and make your final decision. And with the right training you can accomplish your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Elmendorf Afb AK.
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