|Paralegal Certificate||Paralegal Studies||Paralegal Courses|
|Paralegal Degree||Paralegal Schools|
Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Florence AZ area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical aspects to think about as well, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's go over several 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 decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might 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 education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Florence AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What's the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several Florence AZ law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Florence AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing 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 well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ from state to state, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you want to work after graduation. Also, it will be important to develop relationships in the area legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially look at those schools that are within the Florence AZ region.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don't forget 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 cost, so make sure to check with the school's financial aid department to see what is available in Florence AZ. Of course if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Florence AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you enroll in provides that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.