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Points to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can start the undertaking of evaluating schools. But since there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Litchfield Park AZ area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant issues to research as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.

Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Litchfield Park AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.

What's the Program's Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Litchfield Park AZ law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.

Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to start creating contacts within the Litchfield Park AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.

Where is the School's Location? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you want to work after graduation. In addition, it will be important to create relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may want to first consider those colleges that are within the Litchfield Park AZ region.

What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be available to help minimize some of the cost, so don't forget to consult with the school's financial aid office to find out what is available in Litchfield Park AZ. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of 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 receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Litchfield Park AZ, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you select offers that option. Last, ask what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.

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