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Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Fort Mohave AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial aspects to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let's take a look at several of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose 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 distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Fort Mohave AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically available only for accredited schools.
What's the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including 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 Fort Mohave AZ law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin establishing contacts within the Fort Mohave AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to develop relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to first look at those colleges that are within the Fort Mohave AZ area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential received and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be available to help offset some of the cost, so make sure to consult with the school's financial aid office to find out what is available in Fort Mohave AZ. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Fort Mohave AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you choose makes available that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.