How to Find a Paralegal Degree Program near Virgilina Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Virgilina VA and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools within driving distance of their Virgilina homes. Of those alternatives, 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 ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be taken into consideration too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both fill comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Virgilina VA attorneys with a wide range of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically 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 stated, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their regular activities might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be involved and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to start your career as a legal assistant in Virgilina VA is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may 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 obtained either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Virginia to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded 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 program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the process of evaluating schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Virgilina VA 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 most potential 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 issues to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Virgilina VA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some Virgilina VA law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Virgilina VA legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Virginia legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in Virginia or the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to create relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first look at those schools that are within the Virgilina VA area.
How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be available to help offset part of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Virgilina VA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many legal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Virgilina VA, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you select provides that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Degrees
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more common and may be an excellent alternative for those searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, 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 obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Virgilina VA?
If you live near Virgilina VA 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.
Virgilina is a town in Halifax County, Virginia, United States. The population was 154 at the 2010 census. Virgilina was once a copper mining town. It is named "Virgilina" because it is located on the Virginia and North Carolina border.
Virgilina is located in the southeast corner of Halifax County at 36°32′43″N 78°46′25″W / 36.54528°N 78.77361°W / 36.54528; -78.77361 (36.545244, -78.773720). The town's southern border is the Virginia–North Carolina line. It is approximately 15 miles from Roxboro, North Carolina. Virginia State Routes 96 and 49 intersect at the center of town. VA-96 leads west 7 miles (11 km) to U.S. Route 501 south of Cluster Springs, while VA-49 leads northeast 14 miles (23 km) to Clarksville. Both highway numbers continue into North Carolina: NC 96 leads southeast 20 miles (32 km) to Oxford, North Carolina, while NC 49 runs southwest 17 miles (27 km) to Roxboro, North Carolina.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Virgilina has a total area of 0.62 square miles (1.6 km2), all of it land. The town center sits on a small ridge, with both sides draining to tributaries of Aarons Creek, which flows north to the Dan River, part of the Roanoke River watershed.
Select the Best Legal Assistant College near Virgilina VA
Selecting the best paralegal training program is an essential first step toward 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 Virgilina residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in various formats and lengths. Different types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you decide to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, 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 objective to become a successful paralegal in Virgilina VA.
Other Virginia Locations That May Be Of Interest
Bing: Virginia Paralegal Certificate Search results
Virginia Commonwealth University - Paralegal
VCU Paralegal Certificate Graduate The VCU Paralegal Certificate program is the best of both worlds for a working professional. This program makes it extremely easy to continue to work while furthering your education. I have enjoyed learning from some of the great lawyers in the Richmond area, and I look forward to a new career as a paralegal!"
How to Become a Paralegal in Virginia - VA | Paralegal ...
The Paralegal Association of Northern Virginia (PANV) is Virginia’s largest NFPA affiliate, offering membership to paralegals, student paralegals and corporate members who wish to support the profession. PANV promotes the increased utilization of paralegals by networking with other legal organizations and educating the general public.
29 Accredited Paralegal Schools in Virginia
In Virginia, there were 201 graduates in 2006. And there were 287 graduates from paralegal courses in 2010. This represents a 43% increase in the number of paralegal degree or certificate school graduates in Virginia state. A majority of these graduates, or 59%, graduated with a associate's degree in paralegal.
Certificate in Paralegal Studies – VCU OCPE
The noncredit VCU paralegal certificate program, offered in downtown Richmond, is distinguished by a focus on comprehensive legal-specific skills such as investigating fact patterns, conducting law-related research and preparing cases for courtroom litigation.
Virginia Paralegal Career and Salary Guide 2019
Paralegal Certification in Virginia Virginia state law does not currently regulate the education and employment of paralegals, and there is no statewide standard for Virginia paralegal certification. Paralegals may, therefore, enter the profession with no previous experience and undergo on-the-job training.
Virginia Paralegal Certification | How to become a ...
Another route to meeting the paralegal standards of the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations is to become nationally certified. While this is not required of a paralegal in order to work in Virginia, the Alliance recognizes two national certification bodies:
Virginia Paralegal Schools | Paralegal Certification in ...
Paralegal Certification There is no certification requirement for paralegals in the state of Virginia; however, the Virginia State Bar, an agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia, issues codes of conduct that pertain to lawyers and the paralegals they supervise.
Paralegal Certificate Course© | Courses
Paralegal Certificate Course© Paralegalism is one of the fastest growing careers in the country. The Paralegal Certificate Course© is available in a variety of formats to suit your schedule and is offered through colleges and universities nationwide. Check out our 10 Reasons To Pursue A Paralegal Career Infographic.
VAPA | Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations
Welcome to the official website of the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations!. VAPA is a statewide organization comprised of paralegal associations and individual area liaisons located within the Commonwealth of Virginia and represents over 1,500 paralegals and paralegal students across the Commonwealth.
How to Become a Paralegal in Virginia, Paralegal ...
Basic Paralegal Certification Requirements Certification : There are no state-level certification requirements, but the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations (VAPA) recommends national certification from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).