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What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can begin the process of evaluating schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Wetumpka AL area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important aspects to consider as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Wetumpka AL law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited schools.

What's the School's Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, 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 contact several Wetumpka AL law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while still in school. They can also present a means for students to start creating contacts within the Wetumpka AL legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the School Located? Because laws vary from one state to another, it may be advantageous to select a legal assistant school located in Alabama or the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially consider those schools that are within the Wetumpka AL region.

How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so don't forget to talk to the school's financial aid office to see what is offered in Wetumpka AL. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these added expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Wetumpka AL, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

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