How to Choose the Right Legal Assistant Degree Program near Wheeler Army Airfield Hawaii
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Wheeler Army Airfield HI and start your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools within driving distance of their Wheeler Army Airfield residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your choice. But first, let’s take 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 for the most part both fill the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Wheeler Army Airfield HI attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, such as 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 firm could help with trial logistics or transferring 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 carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they work, but some of their routine tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and rather challenging. 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 proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more suited 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 ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education 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 educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career as a legal assistant in Wheeler Army Airfield HI is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Hawaii to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 earning a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can start the process of evaluating schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Wheeler Army Airfield HI area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical factors to consider also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you should 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 program and school that you choose should 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 future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Wheeler Army Airfield HI law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are often offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including 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 Wheeler Army Airfield HI law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer a means for students to start creating contacts within the Wheeler Army Airfield HI legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Hawaii legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in Hawaii or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first look at those colleges that are within the Wheeler Army Airfield HI region.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help offset some of the cost, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Wheeler Army Airfield HI. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Wheeler Army Airfield HI, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.
Online Legal Assistant and Paralegal Degrees
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more prevalent and can be an excellent alternative for individuals searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Wheeler Army Airfield HI?
If you live near Wheeler Army Airfield Hawaii or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Wheeler Army Airfield
Wheeler Army Airfield (IATA: HHI, ICAO: PHHI, FAA LID: HHI), also known as Wheeler Field and formerly as Wheeler Air Force Base, is a United States Army post located in the City & County of Honolulu and in the Wahiawa District of the Island of O'ahu, Hawaii. It is a National Historic Landmark for its role in the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Wheeler AAF comprises approximately 1,389 acres (5.62 km2) of land adjacent to Schofield Barracks and is home to a variety of Department of Defense activities including the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the 169th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron (169 ACWS) of the Hawaii Air National Guard, the 193rd Aviation Regiment (Medium Lift), Detachment 55 Operational Support Airlift (Det 55 OSA) of the Hawaii Army National Guard, the Regular Army's 25th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade, and Trial Defense Service-Hawaii.
On 6 February 1922, a detachment of 20 enlisted men from Luke Field, proceeded to Schofield Barracks, under Lieutenant William T. Agee, to clear the flying field on the grounds of the former 17th Cavalry Regiment drill grounds and construct housing for the divisional air service. Two canvas hangars were erected and the field cleared of weeds, guava and algaroba trees. Thus Wheeler Field got its modest start. It was named Wheeler Field on 11 November 1922 in honor of Major Sheldon H. Wheeler, former commander of Luke Field on Ford Island, killed in the crash of DH-4B, AAS Ser. No. 63525 on 13 July 1921.
How Long Is Paralegal School Wheeler Army Airfield HI
Enrolling in the best legal assistant training program is a crucial 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 How Long Is Paralegal School. But as we have discussed 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 Wheeler Army Airfield residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you decide to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the right training you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Wheeler Army Airfield HI.
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