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Questions to Ask Paralegal Certificate or Degree Programs

Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can start the process of evaluating schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Camp Verde 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 particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial issues to think about also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let's take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.

Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Camp Verde AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.

What's the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking 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 determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Camp Verde AZ law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also present a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Camp Verde AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.

Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to create relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially investigate those schools that are within the Camp Verde AZ area.

How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don't forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so be sure to check with the school's financial aid office to find out what is available in Camp Verde AZ. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many legal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Camp Verde AZ, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you select provides that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

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