How to Select the Right Paralegal School near Galena Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Galena AK and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by looking for schools within commuting distance of their Galena residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program should be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill comparable job roles and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Galena AK lawyers with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping 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 job of a paralegal can be complicated and very demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career as a paralegal in Galena AK is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alaska to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your job 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 address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Galena AK area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other significant issues to research also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, 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 receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Galena AK law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several Galena AK law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also present a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Galena AK legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ from one state to another, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school located in Alaska or the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first investigate those colleges that are within the Galena AK area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help reduce part of the cost, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Galena AK. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these additional costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Galena 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 offers that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making-up missed classes due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Schools
Online paralegal or legal assistant programs have become more popular and can be a good alternative for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Galena AK?
If you live near Galena 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.
Galena (/ɡəˈliːnə/) (Notaalee Denh in Koyukon) is a city in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 470, with a 2016 estimate of 488 inhabitants. Galena was established in 1918, and a military airfield was built adjacent to the city during World War II. The city was incorporated in 1971.
The Koyukon Athabascans had seasonal camps in the area and moved as the wild game migrated. In the summer many families floated on rafts to the Yukon River to fish for salmon. There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. Galena was established in 1918 near an Athabascan fish camp called Henry's Point. It became a supply and point for nearby lead ore mines that opened in 1918 and 1919.
In 1941 and 1942, during World War II, a military air field was built adjacent to the civilian airport, and the two facilities shared the runway and flight line facilities. This air field was designated Galena Air Force Station shortly after the split of the United States Air Force from the United States Army, which occurred as a result of the National Security Act of 1947. During the 1950s, the construction of additional military facilities at Galena and the nearby Campion Air Force Station, in support of Galena's mission as a forward operating base under the auspices of the 5072nd Air Base Group, headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage, provided improvements to the airport and the local infrastructure, causing economic growth for the area.
What Degree Do You Need To Become A Paralegal Galena AK
Choosing the best paralegal studies certificate program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about What Degree Do You Need To Become A Paralegal. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Galena residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, 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 schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you choose to obtain your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to assess each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal education you can accomplish your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Galena AK.
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