How to Choose a Paralegal Certificate Program near York Haven Pennsylvania
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near York Haven PA and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying 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 achieve success. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by looking for schools within traveling range of their York Haven homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program should be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals essentially both hold comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist York Haven PA lawyers with a wide range of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but some of their routine tasks might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be involved and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly 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 paralegal in York Haven PA is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and obtain a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Pennsylvania to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. 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 address 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 paralegal or a legal assistant.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges in the York Haven PA area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree 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 discussed, there are other crucial issues to research also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous York Haven PA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several York Haven PA law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the York Haven PA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Pennsylvania legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ from one state to another, it may be advantageous to choose a legal assistant school located in Pennsylvania or the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to create relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you desire 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 may wish to initially investigate those schools that are within the York Haven PA region.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help offset some of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in York Haven PA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these added costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of legal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near York Haven PA, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you choose offers that option. Last, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Programs
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more popular and may be an excellent alternative for students looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to those who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure 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 highly regarded 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 certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near York Haven PA?
If you live near York Haven PA 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.
York Haven, Pennsylvania
York Haven is a borough in York County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 709 at the 2010 census. The borough is the home of the Brunner Island coal-fired electrical generation plant, located on the Susquehanna River on Wago Road and operated by PPL.
As of the census of 2000, there were 809 people, 278 households, and 197 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,531.8 people per square mile (976.1/km²). There were 305 housing units at an average density of 954.5 per square mile (368.0/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.04% White, 0.74% African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 2.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.24% of the population.
There were 278 households out of which 48.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.40.
Select the Best Paralegal Training near York Haven PA
Enrolling in the best paralegal training program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your York Haven home. Paralegal training programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Different kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to examine each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the right education you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in York Haven PA.
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Best Paralegal Schools in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Paralegal Schools. Pennsylvania is one of the most populous states in the US. As of 2018, about 12,440 paralegals and legal assistants were employed in Pennsylvania. 1 Not surprisingly, there are many choices for prospective students who are considering Pennsylvania paralegal schools for their course of study. These institutions are receiving increased attention as the career ...
The Pa.C.P. Credential | Keystone Alliance of Paralegal ...
The Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal Program (the “Program”) is a voluntary certification program regulated by the Keystone Alliance. The Program requires paralegals to meet minimum educational and employment standards in order to qualify for and maintain the Pa.C.P. Credential.
How to Become a Paralegal in Pennsylvania - PA | Paralegal ...
Is There Paralegal Certification in Pennsylvania? Although it is not required in Pennsylvania, growing numbers of aspiring paralegals are choosing educational programs in paralegal studies. Not only can a degree or certificate help distinguish job candidates in a competitive job market, they can also prepare paralegals to become Pennsylvania ...
32 Accredited Paralegal Schools in Pennsylvania
The number of students graduating from the 32 accredited paralegal schools in Pennsylvania is decreasing. In 2006, 719 students graduated from paralegal courses in Pennsylvania. And in 2010, 692 students graduated. There was a decrease in the number of paralegal school degree or certificate graduates in Pennsylvania by 4%.
Steps on How to Become a Paralegal in Pennsylvania ...
The Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations in Pennsylvania does offer a certification program for paralegals, the Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal (PaCP) Program. This program is strictly voluntary and not necessary in order to work as a paralegal in Pennsylvania.
Paralegal Certificate Programs In Pa - Paralegal ...
Paralegal | Bucks County Community CollegeParalegal Studies. The ABA approved … Programs of Study. Associate Degree (63 credits) Paralegal Certificate (30 credits) PA 1105: Criminal Justice System – Paralegal ProgramPost-Graduate Paralegal Certificate. Certificate Completion Plan; Certificate Electives; … PA 1105: Criminal Justice System.
Paralegal Schools in Pennsylvania | Paralegal Degree ...
Paralegal Schools in Pennsylvania. There are numerous colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that offer certificate and degree programs in the paralegal and legal assistant field. This guide to paralegal schools in Pennsylvania provides key information on your options so that you can make an educated decision.
Pennsylvania Paralegal Schools | Paralegal Certification ...
Paralegals who work only part time may still earn $31,150 per year, while others who work full-time hours and overtime can earn as much as $75,960 a year. Paralegal Certification. There is no legal regulation for paralegal certification in Pennsylvania.