How to Pick a Paralegal Degree Program near Wheatfield Indiana
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Wheatfield IN and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational options are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by looking for schools within driving distance of their Wheatfield residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program should be considered also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are offered 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 functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Wheatfield IN 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 based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like 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 tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching related laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be involved and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. 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 on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually 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 way to start your career as a legal assistant in Wheatfield IN is by earning a certificate, which may take just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may want to continue and earn a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Indiana to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected 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 paralegal certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Wheatfield IN area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important aspects to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select 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 get 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 obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Wheatfield IN law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, 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 a few Wheatfield IN law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to begin establishing contacts within the Wheatfield IN legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Indiana legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to enroll in a legal assistant school domiciled in Indiana or the state where you wish to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to develop relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to first consider those colleges that are within the Wheatfield IN area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be available to help minimize some of the cost, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Wheatfield IN. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Wheatfield IN, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose makes available that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Degrees
Online paralegal or legal assistant schools have become more common and can be a good option for students searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the ideal option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Wheatfield IN?
If you live near Wheatfield IN 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.
Wheatfield with Crows
It is commonly stated that this was van Gogh's final painting. However, art historians are uncertain as to which painting was van Gogh's last, as no clear historical records exist. The evidence of his letters suggests that Wheatfield with Crows was completed around 10 July and predates such paintings as Auvers Town Hall on 14 July 1890 and Daubigny's Garden. Moreover, Jan Hulsker points out that a painting of harvested wheat, Field with Stacks of Wheat (F771), must be a later painting.
The Van Gogh Museum's Wheatfield with Crows was painted in July 1890, in the last weeks of van Gogh’s life. Many have claimed it as his last painting, while it is also possible Tree Roots, or the previously mentioned Daubigny's Garden, was his final painting.
Wheat Field with Crows, made on a double-square canvas, depicts a dramatic, cloudy sky filled with crows over a wheat field. A sense of isolation is heightened by a central path leading nowhere and by the uncertain direction of flight of the crows. The windswept wheat field fills two-thirds of the canvas. Jules Michelet, one of van Gogh's favorite authors, wrote of crows: "They interest themselves in everything, and observe everything. The ancients, who lived far more completely than ourselves in and with nature, found it no small profit to follow, in a hundred obscure things where human experience as yet affords no light, the directions of so prudent and sage a bird." Kathleen Erickson finds the painting as expressing both sorrow and a sense of his life coming to an end. The crows are used by van Gogh as a symbol of death and rebirth, or of resurrection. The road, in contrasting colors of red and green, is said by Erickson to be a metaphor for a sermon he gave based on Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress where the pilgrim is sorrowful that the road is so long, yet rejoices because the Eternal City waits at the journey's end.
Select the Best Legal Assistant School near Wheatfield IN
Selecting the ideal paralegal educational program is an essential first step to guarantee 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 Wheatfield residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, 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 prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you decide to acquire your education 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 ultimate selection. And with the right education you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Wheatfield IN.
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