How to Select the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Gardnerville Nevada
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Gardnerville NV and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students start by trying to find schools within commuting range of their Gardnerville residences. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be considered also. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to 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.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both hold comparable job roles and responsibilities, only 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 category. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Gardnerville NV lawyers with a diverse array of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their routine tasks may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be involved and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career as a legal assistant in Gardnerville NV is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Nevada to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can start the process of assessing schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Gardnerville NV area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must know 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 as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Gardnerville NV law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several Gardnerville NV law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Gardnerville NV legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Nevada legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be advantageous to select a legal assistant school located in Nevada or the state where you wish to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area 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 might wish to first consider those schools that are within the Gardnerville NV area.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be available to help reduce part of the cost, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Gardnerville NV. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these added costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Gardnerville NV, 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 offers that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Classes
Legal assistant and paralegal online programs have become more available and can be an excellent option for those searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online classes can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in more 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 program and school you are looking into are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Gardnerville NV?
If you live near Gardnerville Nevada or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,357 people, 1,473 households, and 870 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 699.9 people per square mile (270.0/km²). There were 1,556 housing units at an average density of 324.4 per square mile (125.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 89.93% White, 0.45% African American, 1.07% Native American, 1.28% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 5.30% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.83% of the population.
There were 1,473 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
Bachelor Legal Studies Gardnerville NV
Choosing the best legal assistant training school is an important first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Bachelor Legal Studies. But as we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Gardnerville home. Paralegal training programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to obtain your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to examine each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Gardnerville NV.
Other Nevada Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 22