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What to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Nikiski AK area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important factors to research also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let's take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.

Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Nikiski AK law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited programs.

What's the Reputation of the School? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact a few Nikiski AK law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Nikiski AK legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary from state to state, it might be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in Alaska or the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire 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 live outside of their districts. So you might wish to first investigate those schools that are within the Nikiski AK area.

How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don't forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be obtainable to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to talk to the school's financial aid office to see what is offered in Nikiski AK. Of course if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Nikiski AK, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you select provides that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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