How to Pick a Paralegal Certificate Program near Wheeler Army Airfield Hawaii
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Wheeler Army Airfield HI and begin your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for schools within traveling distance of their Wheeler Army Airfield homes. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be taken into account too. Later in this article we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional options 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 responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Wheeler Army Airfield HI lawyers with a wide variety of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their routine activities might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complex and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career as a paralegal in Wheeler Army Airfield HI is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be earned at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Hawaii to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few 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 cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Points to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the process of evaluating schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges in the Wheeler Army Airfield HI area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other critical factors to think about as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Wheeler Army Airfield HI law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few Wheeler Army Airfield HI law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer 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 Wheeler Army Airfield HI legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Hawaii legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws vary among states, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in Hawaii or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially look at those schools that are within the Wheeler Army Airfield HI region.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be accessible to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Wheeler Army Airfield HI. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, some of these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous legal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Wheeler Army Airfield HI, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers that option. Last, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.
Online Legal Assistant and Paralegal Training
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more popular and can be a good alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Wheeler Army Airfield HI?
If you live near Wheeler Army Airfield HI 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.
Wheeler Army Airfield
Wheeler Army Airfield (IATA: HHI, ICAO: PHHI, FAA LID: HHI), also known as Wheeler Field and formerly as Wheeler Air Force Base, is a United States Army post located in the City & County of Honolulu and in the Wahiawa District of the Island of O'ahu, Hawaii. It is a National Historic Landmark for its role in the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Wheeler AAF comprises approximately 1,389 acres (5.62 km2) of land adjacent to Schofield Barracks and is home to a variety of Department of Defense activities including the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the 169th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron (169 ACWS) of the Hawaii Air National Guard, the 193rd Aviation Regiment (Medium Lift), Detachment 55 Operational Support Airlift (Det 55 OSA) of the Hawaii Army National Guard, the Regular Army's 25th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade, and Trial Defense Service-Hawaii.
On 6 February 1922, a detachment of 20 enlisted men from Luke Field, proceeded to Schofield Barracks, under Lieutenant William T. Agee, to clear the flying field on the grounds of the former 17th Cavalry Regiment drill grounds and construct housing for the divisional air service. Two canvas hangars were erected and the field cleared of weeds, guava and algaroba trees. Thus Wheeler Field got its modest start. It was named Wheeler Field on 11 November 1922 in honor of Major Sheldon H. Wheeler, former commander of Luke Field on Ford Island, killed in the crash of DH-4B, AAS Ser. No. 63525 on 13 July 1921.
Choose the Ideal Legal Assistant College near Wheeler Army Airfield HI
Selecting the right paralegal educational program is an essential first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Wheeler Army Airfield home. Paralegal education programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you elect to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to evaluate each school and make your final selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Wheeler Army Airfield HI.
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