How to Find a Paralegal Program near Troy Idaho
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Troy ID and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the right school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by trying to find schools within driving range of their Troy residences. Of those choices, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you need to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program need to be taken into account also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Troy ID attorneys with a diverse array of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may 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 lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their regular activities might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complicated and rather challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career as a legal assistant in Troy ID is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just six months to accomplish. 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 numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and earn a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Idaho to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few 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 paralegal degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Troy ID area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important factors to think about also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick need to 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 focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Troy ID law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out 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 work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some Troy ID law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also offer an avenue for students to begin establishing contacts within the Troy ID 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 after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Idaho legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be advantageous to select a legal assistant school located in Idaho or the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first consider those colleges that are within the Troy ID area.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be available to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Troy ID. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Troy ID, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose makes available that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Degrees
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more popular and can be an excellent option for those searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the right option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Troy ID?
If you live near Troy ID 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.
Troy is located at 46°44′19″N 116°46′15″W / 46.73861°N 116.77083°W / 46.73861; -116.77083 (46.738571, -116.770785)., east of Moscow on State Highway 8, at an elevation of 2,487 feet (758 m) above sea level.
The community was originally known as Huffs Gulch when J. Wesley Seat homesteaded in the area in 1885. In 1890, area businessman John P. Vollmer rechristened the area with his own surname when he brought the railroad through. Vollmer gained much of his 30,000 acres (47 sq mi; 120 km2) of land by foreclosing on the bank loans of local farmers. This made him so unpopular that in 1897 the residents decided to rename the town. Local legend states that the name Troy was selected when a Greek railroad worker offered free shots of whiskey to any who would support the name.
For bicyclists and pedestrians, the Latah Trail is a paved rail trail near Highway 8 that connects Troy to Moscow and Pullman, Washington. It meets the Paradise Path in Moscow, which continues west as the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail to Pullman alongside Highway 270; the total length of the three trails from Troy to Pullman is 22 miles (35 km).
Find the Right Legal Assistant Certificate Program near Troy ID
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is a vital first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Troy residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in various lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions offer paralegal training, 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. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to assess each program and make your final selection. And with the right training you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Troy ID.
Other Idaho Locations That May Be Of Interest