Home >> Arizona >> Nogales >> Paralegal Courses


Request Free Information on Paralegal Schools Nogales AZ 85621

How to Find the Best Paralegal Studies Course Near Nogales Arizona

Nogales Arizona woman paralegal speaking with client on cellphoneCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Nogales AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it's essential that you find the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for schools within commuting distance of their Nogales residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school should be considered also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let's have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

Legal Assistants and Paralegals

Nogales Arizona legal books

Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both hold the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Nogales AZ attorneys with a diverse array of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal's work is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney's. And just like lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their daily tasks might involve:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
  • Composing correspondence and legal documents
  • Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
  • Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records

With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be involved and very demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.

Paralegal Certificates and Degrees and Certification

Nogales Arizona male legal assistant on cellphone writing notes

As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career as a paralegal in Nogales AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which may take as little as 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate's Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor's Degrees are offered also. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies in the field are:

  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations
  • American Alliance of Paralegals
  • National Association of Legal Assistants
  • National Association for Legal Professionals

By graduating with a paralegal certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.

Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Programs

Nogales Arizona female student enrolled in paralegal online coursesOnline legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more popular and may be a good alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to Nogales AZ students who keep working while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Certificate or Degree Programs

Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the process of assessing schools. But considering that there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges in the Nogales AZ area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical factors to research also, including 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 investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.

Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify 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. Many Nogales AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.

What's the School's Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Nogales 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 rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Nogales AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it may be advantageous to select a legal assistant school located in Arizona or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive 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 initially look at those schools that are within the Nogales AZ region.

What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost based on the credential received and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don't forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help minimize part of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school's financial aid department to find out what is available in Nogales AZ. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Nogales AZ, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose makes available that option. Last, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Nogales Paralegal Schools

Enroll in the Right Nogales Paralegal Degree or Certificate Program

Selecting the best paralegal training school is a vital first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Nogales residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you decide to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the right education you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Nogales Arizona.


 

Nogales Paralegal Studies | Main | Nogales Paralegal Degree