How to Choose a Paralegal School near Tybee Island Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Tybee Island GA and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is among 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 alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many potential students begin by looking for schools within traveling distance of their Tybee Island homes. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be considered as well. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals for the most part both hold comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Tybee Island GA lawyers with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their daily activities might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be involved and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education 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 academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career as a legal assistant in Tybee Island GA is by obtaining a certificate, which may take just 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected certifying organizations 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Things to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of evaluating schools. But since there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges in the Tybee Island GA area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant issues to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Tybee Island GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some Tybee Island GA law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also present an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Tybee Island GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in Georgia or the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to develop relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the community where you desire to practice. 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 might want to first look at those schools that are within the Tybee Island GA area.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be available to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Tybee Island GA. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of legal students continue working while getting their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Tybee Island GA, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Schools
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more available and may be a good option for students looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering 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 environment, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the ideal option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Tybee Island GA?
If you live near Tybee Island GA 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.
Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island is a city and a barrier island located in Chatham County, Georgia, 18 miles (29 km) east of Savannah, United States. Though the name "Tybee Island" is used for both the island and the city, geographically they are not identical: Only part of the island's territory lies within the city.
The island is the easternmost point in Georgia. The famous phrase "From Rabun Gap to Tybee Light," intended to illustrate the geographic diversity of Georgia, contrasts a mountain pass near the state's northernmost point with the coastal island's famous lighthouse.
Officially renamed "Savannah Beach" in a publicity move at the end of the 1950s, the city of Tybee Island has since reverted to its original name. (The name "Savannah Beach" nevertheless appears on official state maps as far back as 1952 and as recently as the mid-1970s.) The small island, which has long been a quiet getaway for the residents of Savannah, has become a popular vacation spot with tourists from outside the Savannah metropolitan area. Tybee Island is home to the first of what would eventually become the Days Inn chain of hotels, the oft-photographed Tybee Island Light Station, and the Fort Screven Historic District.
Find the Right Legal Assistant College near Tybee Island GA
Choosing the best paralegal training program is an important 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 attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Tybee Island home. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to review each program and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Tybee Island GA.
Other Georgia Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 7