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Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Saks AL 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 prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial factors to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let's go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Saks AL law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What's the Reputation of the School? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact a few Saks AL law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also present a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Saks AL legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Since laws vary from one state to another, it might be beneficial to choose a legal assistant school located in Alabama or the state where you wish to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the area legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the community where you desire to work. 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 wish to first look at those colleges that are within the Saks AL region.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be available to help minimize part of the cost, so make sure to consult with the school's financial aid office to find out what is offered in Saks AL. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Saks AL, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select makes available that option. Last, ask what the procedure is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family obligations.