How to Find a Paralegal Program near Elmendorf Afb Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Elmendorf Afb AK and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by looking for schools within commuting range of their Elmendorf Afb homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be considered too. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the educational options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Elmendorf Afb AK attorneys with a wide range of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their regular tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career as a paralegal in Elmendorf Afb AK is by earning a certificate, which can involve just six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected 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 paralegal degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Elmendorf Afb AK area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of 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 significant factors to consider as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education 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 Elmendorf Afb AK law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several Elmendorf Afb AK law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Elmendorf Afb AK legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws vary from state to state, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in Alaska or the state where you plan to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially look at those colleges that are within the Elmendorf Afb AK area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be available to help offset some of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Elmendorf Afb AK. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many legal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Elmendorf Afb AK, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you select makes available that option. Last, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.
Online Legal Assistant and Paralegal Classes
Online legal assistant or paralegal schools have become more prevalent and can be a good option for those searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Elmendorf Afb AK?
If you live near Elmendorf Afb AK or perhaps you are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson
Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson (IATA: EDF, ICAO: PAED, FAA LID: EDF) is a United States military facility in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. It is an amalgamation of the United States Air Force's Elmendorf Air Force Base and the United States Army's Fort Richardson, which were merged in 2010.
The adjacent facilities were officially combined by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Its mission is to support and defend U.S. interests in the Asia Pacific region and around the world by providing units who are ready for worldwide air power projection and a base that is capable of meeting PACOM's theater staging and throughput requirements.
It is the home of the Headquarters, Alaskan Command (ALCOM), Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR), Joint Task Force-Alaska (JTF-AK), Eleventh Air Force (11 AF), the 673d Air Base Wing, the 3rd Wing, the 176th Wing and other Tenant Units.
Select the Ideal Legal Assistant College near Elmendorf Afb AK
Enrolling in the best paralegal degree program is a crucial first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Elmendorf Afb home. Paralegal training programs are made available in various formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you decide to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the right education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Elmendorf Afb AK.
Other Alaska Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 13