How to Pick a Paralegal Certificate Program near Eielson Afb Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Eielson Afb AK and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by trying to find schools within traveling distance of their Eielson Afb residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you need to consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into account as well. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you should ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the academic choices that are available to earn a paralegal certificate or degree.
Alaska Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both fill 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 are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Eielson Afb AK lawyers with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their routine tasks may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the right hand support systems for Eielson Afb AK lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career as a legal assistant is by obtaining a certificate, which can take just 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and may be obtained at numerous Eielson Afb AK area community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Alaska to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your career opportunities, but help establish 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 certificate or degree from an accredited Eielson Afb AK area program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Schools
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more common in Eielson Afb AK and may be a good alternative for students looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to individuals who keep working while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs available at Eielson Afb AK area community and junior colleges, 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 include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical aspects to research also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Eielson Afb AK 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 School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Alaska paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since Eielson Afb AK employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other Eielson Afb AK legal establishment while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Eielson Afb AK legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school located in Alaska or the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the local Eielson Afb AK legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first investigate those colleges that are within your local region.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, 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 as well. Financial aid may be available to help offset some of the expense, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Eielson Afb AK. Of course if you decide to attend an online school, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of legal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Eielson Afb AK, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in provides that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Legal Assistant Training near Eielson Afb AK
Enrolling in the best paralegal educational program is a crucial first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Eielson Afb residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to review each program and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Eielson Afb AK.
More About Eielson Afb Alaska
Eielson Air Force Base
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska. It was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field and taken off deployment in 2007. It has been a Superfund site since 1989.
Its host unit is the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Eleventh Air Force of the Pacific Air Forces. The 354 FW's primary mission is to support Red Flag – Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander–directed field training exercises for U.S. Forces, joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. These exercises are conducted on the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range complex with air operations flown out of the two bases.
Eielson AFB was named in honor of polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson. The 354 FW is currently commanded by Col. Benjamin W. Bishop. Bishop is a Command Pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours, including over 340 combat hours. He's flown the T-37, T-38, F-15E, F-35A, and F-16 C/D aircraft. He is responsible for providing realistic combat adversary training to United States and allied forces in air, space, and information operations via RED FLAG-Alaska, Pacific Air Forces’ premier multinational large-force training exercise, and through PACAF's only Aggressor Squadron. He also directs the preparation and deployment of Airmen in support of global operations, enables the staging of forces through Eielson, and integrates air component capabilities into the US Army's I Corps through the 1st Air Support Operations Group. Additionally, Colonel Bishop is overseeing preparations for the arrival of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Eielson Air Force Base.
Eielson is projected to have fifty-four F-35's arriving in April 2020 and continuing through 2022. The planes will come with an estimated 3,500 personnel, to include Airmen and their families as well as civilian personnel. The F-35 program will increase the number of military personnel at Eielson by about 50 percent, which is a significant change for a base once on the brink of closure.
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