How to Choose a Paralegal Studies Program near Grand Canyon Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Grand Canyon AZ and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need 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 educational alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Grand Canyon homes. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program need to be considered also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Grand Canyon AZ with a diverse array of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but some of their routine activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready 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 Grand Canyon AZ paralegal can be complex and very challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Grand Canyon AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few 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 school (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Grand Canyon AZ.
Online Paralegal Training
Online paralegal programs have become more popular and may be a good alternative for those in Grand Canyon AZ searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a respected organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Grand Canyon AZ area schools. But because there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical aspects to research also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select 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 learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Grand Canyon AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Grand Canyon AZ paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you select 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 rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Grand Canyon AZ legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to first investigate those colleges that are within your Grand Canyon AZ local area.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. 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 as well. Financial aid might be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Grand Canyon AZ. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Grand Canyon AZ, 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 choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Grand Canyon AZ?
The Grand Canyon (Hopi: Ongtupqa;Yavapai: Wi:kaʼi:la, Navajo: Tsékooh Hatsoh, Spanish: Gran Cañón) is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).
The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.
For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
Choose the Best Paralegal School near Grand Canyon AZ
Selecting the ideal paralegal educational program is a crucial first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Grand Canyon home. Paralegal education programs are offered in numerous formats and lengths. Different kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to evaluate each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Grand Canyon AZ.
Other Cool Cities in Arizona