How to Select a Paralegal School near Yanceyville North Carolina
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Yanceyville NC and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will get the extensive 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 a growing number of academic options are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students start by searching for schools within driving range of their Yanceyville homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be taken into account also. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the academic choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both fill comparable job roles 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 different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Yanceyville NC attorneys with a diverse array of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. 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 delivering documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they work, but some of their routine activities might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more suited 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 ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career as a paralegal in Yanceyville NC is by earning a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might choose to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in North Carolina to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. 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 program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating schools. But because there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges in the Yanceyville NC area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Yanceyville NC law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often offered 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 field with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking 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 determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact a few Yanceyville NC law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also present a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Yanceyville NC legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help 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 schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with North Carolina legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in North Carolina or the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially investigate those colleges that are within the Yanceyville NC area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Yanceyville NC. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Yanceyville NC, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you choose offers that option. Last, ask what the procedure is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Schools
Online paralegal or legal assistant schools have become more available and may be an excellent option for students looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online schools can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the ideal option for you.
Will You Attend Paralegal School near Yanceyville NC?
If you live near Yanceyville NC 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.
Yanceyville, North Carolina
It has been the county seat since 1792 (although the settlement was originally called Caswell Court House until 1833). The original Caswell County Courthouse has been renovated and provides offices for county departments. The new court house is located a few blocks north.
There remains uncertainty as to the person for whom Yanceyville is named. Some say it is named for James Yancey (1768–1829). Others claim it is named for his younger brother, Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828). A few believe the name honored the entire Yancey family, long prominent in the area.
In addition to the Caswell County Courthouse, the Graves House, William Henry and Sarah Holderness House, John Johnston House, Poteat House, Bartlett Yancey House, Yanceyville Historic District, and Melrose/Williamson House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Choose the Ideal Paralegal Certificate Program near Yanceyville NC
Choosing the right paralegal degree program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Yanceyville residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you decide to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the right education you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Yanceyville NC.
Other North Carolina Locations That May Be Of Interest