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Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges in the Knik Fairview AK area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial factors to think about also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let's go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Knik Fairview AK law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What's the School's Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some Knik Fairview AK law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Knik Fairview AK legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ from one state to another, it might be a good idea to enroll in a legal assistant school domiciled in Alaska or the state where you wish to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to first look at those colleges that are within the Knik Fairview AK region.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be available to help reduce part of the cost, so make sure to check with the school's financial aid office to find out what is available in Knik Fairview AK. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous legal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Knik Fairview AK, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you choose offers that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family obligations.