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Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges in the Homer AK area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can 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 previously covered, there are other crucial aspects to research as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let's take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs 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 choose should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Homer AK law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.
What's the Reputation of the Program? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick 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 Homer AK law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also present a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Homer AK legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School's Location? Because laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in Alaska or the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first look at those schools that are within the Homer AK region.
What is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost 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 add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help offset some of the expense, so don't forget to check with the school's financial aid department to find out what is available in Homer AK. Of course if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these added expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Homer AK, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in offers that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes due to work, illness or family obligations.