How to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program near Mohave Valley Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Mohave Valley AZ and begin your journey that will result in a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by looking for schools within driving distance of their Mohave Valley homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be taken into consideration also. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential 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 educational options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill comparable job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Mohave Valley AZ lawyers with a wide variety of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their daily tasks may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching related laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be involved and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career as a paralegal in Mohave Valley AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 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 degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some 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 program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Mohave Valley AZ area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when 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 commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other critical issues to think about also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded organization 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 online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Mohave Valley AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact a few Mohave Valley AZ law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Mohave Valley AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary among states, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you wish to work after graduation. Also, it will be important to build relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the community where you want 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 might wish to initially consider those schools that are within the Mohave Valley AZ region.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be available to help reduce part of the cost, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Mohave Valley AZ. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these additional costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Mohave Valley AZ, make certain 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, find out what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Degrees
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more common and can be a good alternative for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Mohave Valley AZ?
If you live near Mohave Valley Arizona or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Mohave Valley, Arizona
Mohave Valley ('Amat' 'Analy Uuhwely in Mojave) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mohave County, Arizona, United States. The population was 13,694 at the 2000 census. It is geographically connected to Needles, California, Fort Mohave, Arizona, and Bullhead City, Arizona.
The first recorded European to come through Mohave Valley was Melchor Díaz. He documented his travels in northwestern Mohave County in 1540. He recounts meeting a large population of natives who referred to themselves as the Pipa Aha Macav, meaning "People by the River". From "Aha Macav" came the shortened name "Mojave" (also spelled "Mohave"). While Mohave Valley and Mohave County use the modern English spelling, the tribe retains the traditional Spanish spelling "Mojave". Both are correct, and both are pronounced "Moh-hah-vee".
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 45.4 square miles (118 km2), of which, 45.3 square miles (117 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (0.35%) is water.
Accredited Online Paralegal Degree Programs Mohave Valley AZ
Selecting the right paralegal studies degree school is an essential 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 Accredited Online Paralegal Degree Programs. But as we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Mohave Valley residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to examine each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Mohave Valley AZ.
Other Arizona Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 12