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Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Casas Adobes AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical issues to consider also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's go over several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Casas Adobes AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What's the Program's Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the program 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 Casas Adobes AZ law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while attending school. They can also provide an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Casas Adobes AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ from one state to another, it may be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you plan to work after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to initially consider those colleges that are within the Casas Adobes AZ region.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential received and the length 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 as well. Financial aid might be available to help reduce part of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school's financial aid department to find out what is offered in Casas Adobes AZ. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Casas Adobes AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, 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 due to sickness, work or family emergencies.