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Points to Ask Paralegal Schools

Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Kingman AZ area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many 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 important issues to research as well, for instance 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 thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Kingman AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually offered only for accredited schools.

What's the Program's Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several Kingman AZ law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to start developing contacts within the Kingman AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the School Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be important to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to first look at those colleges that are within the Kingman AZ region.

How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential received and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be available to help minimize some of the expense, so don't forget to talk to the school's financial aid office to find out what is available in Kingman AZ. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Kingman AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.

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