How to Choose the Right Paralegal Program near Young Harris Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Young Harris GA and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational options are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students start by searching for schools within commuting range of their Young Harris homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into account too. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, 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
Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, 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 separate job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Young Harris GA attorneys with a diverse array of job duties, including 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 practice might help with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their daily activities can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and very demanding. 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 confined to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career as a paralegal in Young Harris GA is by earning a certificate, which may take as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate 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 paralegal degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Things to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Young Harris GA area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can 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 training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Young Harris GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several Young Harris GA law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Young Harris GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs 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 large networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to select a legal assistant school located in Georgia or the state where you plan to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to develop relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to first investigate those schools that are within the Young Harris GA area.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help minimize part of the cost, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Young Harris GA. Of course if you opt to attend an online school, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Young Harris GA, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Training
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more popular and can be a good alternative for students searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Young Harris GA?
If you live near Young Harris Georgia or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Young Harris, Georgia
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 899 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 90.9% White, 2.6% Black, 0.4% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 0.8% from two or more races. 4.0% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 604 people, 112 households, and 74 families residing in the city. The population density was 591.2 people per square mile (228.6/km²). There were 134 housing units at an average density of 131.2 per square mile (50.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.52% White, 1.66% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.50% Asian, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.
There were 112 households out of which 21.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.9% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.74.
Paralegal Online Schools Young Harris GA
Enrolling in the ideal legal assistant certificate program is an important 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 Paralegal Online Schools. But as we have addressed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Young Harris home. Paralegal education programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Several types of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you elect to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to review each school and make your final selection. And with the right education you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Young Harris GA.
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