How to Choose a Paralegal Certificate Program near Union Springs Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Union Springs AL and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by trying to find schools within commuting distance of their Union Springs homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school should be considered also. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are available to earn a paralegal certificate or degree.
Alabama Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both fill the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Union Springs AL lawyers with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their day-to-day tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for Union Springs AL attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career as a legal assistant is by obtaining a certificate, which may take as little as 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be obtained at many Union Springs AL area community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies in the profession are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a certificate or degree from an accredited Union Springs AL area program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Training
Online paralegal or legal assistant programs have become more prevalent in Union Springs AL and may be a good option for those searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to students who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at Union Springs AL area junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important issues to think about also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a respected 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 focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Union Springs AL law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Alabama legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since Union Springs AL employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, 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 some law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other Union Springs AL legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin developing contacts within the legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Union Springs AL legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ among states, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in Alabama or the state where you wish to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to develop relationships in the neighboring Union Springs AL legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the community where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to first look at those schools that are within your local region.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be available to help reduce some of the cost, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Union Springs AL. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Union Springs AL, make sure classes are available 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, ask what the protocol is for making up missed classes due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Union Springs AL
Choosing the ideal paralegal degree program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Union Springs residence. Paralegal academic programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you decide to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to examine each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Union Springs AL.
More About Union Springs Alabama
Union Springs, Alabama
The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.
Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804). The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.
The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Union Springs has a total area of 6.7 square miles (17.3 km2), of which 6.6 square miles (17.2 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.93%, is water.
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Bullock County School District
in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Christopher Blair, Superintendent, 108 Hardaway Ave West, Union Springs, AL, PH: (334)-513-1416, FX: (334)-557-1858.
Union Springs Elementary School - News
Bullock County Schools 108 Hardway Avenue • Union Springs, AL 36089 Phone: (334) 513-1416 • Fax: (334) 557-1858
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How to Choose the Right Paralegal Studies Program near Union Springs Alabama. Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Union Springs AL and start your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to be successful.
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How to Choose a Paralegal Certificate Program near Union Springs Alabama. Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Union Springs AL and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success.
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Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Union Springs AL 36089 How to Choose a Paralegal Studies Program near Union Springs Alabama Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Union Springs AL and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services.
Find Paralegal Studies Schools Union Springs AL 36089 ...
How to Choose a Paralegal Certificate Program near Union Springs Alabama. Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Union Springs AL and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services.Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed.