How to Select the Right Legal Assistant Program near Eielson Afb Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Eielson Afb AK and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly 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 potential students start by searching for schools within driving range of their Eielson Afb residences. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable 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 classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Eielson Afb AK attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their day-to-day tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and rather 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 confined to administrative or clerical duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for lawyers. And since 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 alone.
Paralegal Training 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 prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career as a legal assistant in Eielson Afb AK is by obtaining a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected 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 paralegal certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can start the process of evaluating schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges in the Eielson Afb AK area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must find out 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 most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant aspects to consider also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to 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 focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Eielson Afb AK law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, 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 several Eielson Afb AK law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Eielson Afb AK 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 pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Because laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to enroll in a legal assistant school located in Alaska or the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be important to develop relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first investigate those colleges that are within the Eielson Afb AK region.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Eielson Afb AK. Of course if you opt to attend an online program, some of these added expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many legal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Eielson Afb AK, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making-up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Programs
Legal assistant and paralegal online programs have become more available and may be an excellent option for individuals searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Eielson Afb AK?
If you live near Eielson Afb Alaska or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
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 AFB was named in honor of polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson. The 354 FW is currently commanded by Col. Benjamin W. Bishop. Bishop is a Command Pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours, including over 340 combat hours. He's flown the T-37, T-38, F-15E, F-35A, and F-16 C/D aircraft. He is responsible for providing realistic combat adversary training to United States and allied forces in air, space, and information operations via RED FLAG-Alaska, Pacific Air Forces’ premier multinational large-force training exercise, and through PACAF's only Aggressor Squadron. He also directs the preparation and deployment of Airmen in support of global operations, enables the staging of forces through Eielson, and integrates air component capabilities into the US Army's I Corps through the 1st Air Support Operations Group. Additionally, Colonel Bishop is overseeing preparations for the arrival of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Eielson Air Force Base.
Legal Assistant Programs Eielson Afb AK
Enrolling in the ideal legal assistant degree program is an important first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Legal Assistant Programs. But as we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Eielson Afb home. Paralegal education programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you choose to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to examine each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Eielson Afb AK.
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