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Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Gold Canyon AZ area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant factors to research as well, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Gold Canyon AZ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What's the School's Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, 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 several Gold Canyon AZ law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Gold Canyon AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you wish to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to first investigate those colleges that are within the Gold Canyon AZ region.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don't forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so make sure to talk to the school's financial aid department to see what is offered in Gold Canyon AZ. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these additional costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many legal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Gold Canyon 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 enroll in makes available that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.