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Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs

Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Tanaina AK area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant aspects to think about as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation 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 effectively vet each one and make your final selection.

Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also receive 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 obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Tanaina AK law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited schools.

What's the School's Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some Tanaina AK law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Tanaina AK legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the School's Location? Since laws differ from state to state, it may be a good idea to choose a legal assistant school domiciled in Alaska or the state where you want to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to initially consider those schools that are within the Tanaina AK region.

How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help reduce part of the cost, so don't forget to consult with the school's financial aid department to see what is offered in Tanaina AK. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these added expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous legal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Tanaina AK, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family emergencies.

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