How to Find a Paralegal Program near Yates Center Kansas
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Yates Center KS and start your journey that will result in a fulfilling profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Many prospective students start by trying to find schools within commuting distance of their Yates Center homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school should be taken into consideration also. Later in this article we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the academic options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both fill the same 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 are part of a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Yates Center KS lawyers with a diverse array of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but some of their day-to-day activities can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Drafting 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 maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to start your career as a paralegal in Yates Center KS is by obtaining a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be earned at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. After you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Kansas to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected certifying organizations in the profession 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 crucial first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But since there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Yates Center KS area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important issues to research also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might 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 training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Yates Center KS law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact a few Yates Center KS law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while still in school. They can also present an avenue for students to begin developing contacts within the Yates Center KS legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Kansas legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from state to state, it may be a good idea to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Kansas or the state where you plan to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first investigate those schools that are within the Yates Center KS area.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential received and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be accessible to help reduce some of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Yates Center KS. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Yates Center KS, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select provides that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Degrees
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more available and can be an excellent alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online classes can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Yates Center KS?
If you live near Yates Center KS 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.
Yates Center, Kansas
Yates Center was founded in August 1875. It was named for Abner Yates, the original owner of the town site, who donated an entire block around the courthouse, land for the churches, a city park, and a lot each for the first two children born in the town. Yates Center is the only town in Kansas to be selected as a county seat before there was a house or inhabitant within its boundaries.
Yates Center is located at 37°52′48″N 95°44′4″W / 37.88000°N 95.73444°W / 37.88000; -95.73444 (37.879948, -95.734522). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.05 square miles (7.90 km2), of which, 2.61 square miles (6.76 km2) is land and 0.44 square miles (1.14 km2) is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Yates Center has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Enroll in the Right Legal Assistant School near Yates Center KS
Choosing the best paralegal educational program is an important first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Yates Center residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you elect to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each school and make your final selection. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Yates Center KS.
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