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Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the New Kingman Butler 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 especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical aspects to think about as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let's go over a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of New Kingman Butler AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited programs.
What's the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few New Kingman Butler AZ law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the New Kingman Butler AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide 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 undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School's Location? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to first consider those colleges that are within the New Kingman Butler AZ area.
What is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce some of the expense, so don't forget to contact the school's financial aid office to see what is offered in New Kingman Butler AZ. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of legal students continue working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near New Kingman Butler AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you select makes available that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.