While one of the best decisions an aspiring paralegal can make when it comes to their training is to enroll in a program approved by the American Bar Association, this isn’t necessarily an option for many students. Although the American Bar Association has approved a vast array of paralegal training programs throughout the United States, there are many students are not geographically located near an ABA-approved program. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret. There are hundreds of training institutions which feature high-quality paralegal training. However, there are several elements you must keep in mind when selecting a non-ABA approved paralegal program.
When you’re searching for a paralegal training program, you should engage in your search in the same manner that the American Bar Association does when it’s approving a school. The majority of reputable training institutions are more than happy to answer all of your questions to help you make the best educational choice. While you may have your own unique set of questions, use the following as a tool to help guide you to the best training program for you.
Questions to Ask a Potential School
1.) What are the faculty qualifications? What professional experience does the paralegal department faculty have?
2.) What are the full course descriptions?
3.) What is the cost of the program? Nationally, paralegal certification cost can vary significantly. Be sure to weight your options as you look to select a paralegal school.
4.) What are the legal library facilities like? Do they offer the most current legal updates? Is the majority of this information in hard copy or digital format?
5.) What research tools does the school offer? Are tools such as LexisNexis and Westlaw easily available to students? Is there coursework designed to explain how to fully and efficiently utilize these research tools?
6.) What are the clearly defined goals of the paralegal program?
7.) What type of student services does the school offer for paralegal students? Is there readily available tutoring, job placement and career counseling services?
8.) Does the school easily connect students with internship programs? Are there volunteer programs designed for paralegal students? How does the school foster relationships with the local and national legal industry?
9.) What is the accreditation status of the school and the paralegal department? Is the school locally, statewide and federally accredited?
10.) What professional associations s the school a member of? How long has the school been a member with these organizations/associations?
11.) What are the current hiring statistics for recent paralegal study graduates?
12.) What is the full tuition for enrollment? Is there financial aid assistance for those who cannot fully afford the cost of training?