|Paralegal Certificate||Paralegal Studies||Paralegal Courses|
|Paralegal Degree||Paralegal Schools|
What to Ask Paralegal Degree or Certificate Programs
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can begin the process of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Smiths Station AL area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other crucial factors to research also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Smiths Station AL law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What's the Reputation of the School? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have 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 verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few Smiths Station AL law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Smiths Station AL 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 after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School's Location? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be beneficial to select a paralegal 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 through an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the area where you wish to practice. 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 need to first consider those schools that are within the Smiths Station AL region.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help reduce some of the expense, so be sure to check with the school's financial aid department to see what is offered in Smiths Station AL. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous legal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Smiths Station AL, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you select provides that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.