|Paralegal Certificate||Paralegal Studies||Paralegal Courses|
|Paralegal Degree||Paralegal Schools|
What to Ask Paralegal Degree or Certificate Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Arizona City AZ area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important factors to consider as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Arizona City AZ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What's the Program's Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few Arizona City AZ law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while attending school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin creating contacts within the Arizona City AZ legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary among states, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you wish to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially look at those schools that are within the Arizona City AZ region.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be obtainable to help reduce some of the expense, so make sure to consult with the school's financial aid office to find out what is offered in Arizona City AZ. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Arizona City AZ, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up missed classes due to sickness, work or family obligations.