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Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges in the Glencoe AL area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of 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 important aspects to think about as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.

Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a reputable 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 learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Glencoe AL law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited schools.

What's the Reputation of the Program? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Glencoe AL law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep 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 Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also present a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Glencoe AL legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary from state to state, it may be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in Alabama or the state where you plan to work 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 acquire your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first consider those colleges that are within the Glencoe AL region.

How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don't forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help minimize part of the expense, so don't forget to check with the school's financial aid office to see what is offered in Glencoe AL. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of legal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Glencoe AL, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you select makes available that option. Last, inquire what the process is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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