|Paralegal Certificate||Paralegal Studies||Paralegal Courses|
|Paralegal Degree||Paralegal Schools|
What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can start the process of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges in the Apache Junction AZ area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial aspects to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let's go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Apache Junction AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually offered only for accredited schools.
What's the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some Apache Junction AZ law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while attending school. They can also present a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Apache Junction AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing 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 undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ among states, it might be beneficial to choose a legal assistant school located in Arizona or the state where you plan to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you want to practice. 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 colleges that are within the Apache Junction AZ area.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be accessible to help offset part of the expense, so be sure to talk to the school's financial aid office to find out what is offered in Apache Junction AZ. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous legal students keep working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Apache Junction AZ, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in provides that option. Last, ask what the procedure is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.