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What to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges in the Douglas AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to find out 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 also. 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 aspects to research also, 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 schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Douglas AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.

What's the Reputation of the School? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking 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 several Douglas AZ law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to start developing contacts within the Douglas AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary from state to state, it may be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially investigate those colleges that are within the Douglas AZ area.

How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don't forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce part of the expense, so don't forget to consult with the school's financial aid department to find out what is offered in Douglas AZ. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? A number of legal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Douglas AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in offers that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.

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