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Paralegals work alongside lawyers and attorneys, helping them prepare their trial cases as well as other legal business. Although lawyers are the ones who assume the responsibility for legal matters, they often delegate tasks to paralegals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these days paralegals are assuming more responsibilities in legal matters than ever before. Most of the case preparation and legal research is carried out by paralegals. However, a paralegal cannot actually present a case or give legal advice.

 

What makes a career as a paralegal a good option is the great pay check and the (much) faster-than-average growth rate of job opportunities. If you are thinking of pursuing a career as a paralegal, it is crucial that you opt for the proper paralegal training program to acquire the skill set required to meet the demands of the job. In this article we will discuss the various options one has for paralegal training programs and other relevant aspects regarding this profession.

 

Paralegal Training Programs: Nature of the Job

As a paralegal your main task will be to assist the lawyer in all kinds of legal matters. A paralegal will help lawyers prepare for trials, hearings, closings and corporate meetings. This will include investigating case facts, laws, legal articles and judicial decisions relevant to the case assigned to the lawyer. Typical employers for paralegals include the government, corporations and law firms.

 

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, law firms are the top employers, with 71 percent paralegals working in legal offices. Also, the tasks of paralegals differ based on the type of organization they work for. For instance, a corporate paralegal may assist lawyers with employee contracts. Advanced paralegal training programs are also available which help aspirants develop the skills required in these specific areas.

 

Paralegal Training Programs: Earnings and Job Outlook

According to the May 2009 figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals have a mean hourly wage of $24.08, which translates into a mean annual income of $50,080.  The top ten percent raked in $75,700 annually, which is a mindboggling figure. The salaries depend on the experience, education and training of the applicant, so make sure you pick the right paralegal training course. Also, projected data from the National Employment Matrix shows that job openings are set to grow by 28 percent during the 2008-2018 decade. Right now is probably the best time to enroll in an appropriate paralegal training program to reach out and grab this amazing career opportunity.

 

Paralegal Training Programs: Your Options

Many paralegal aspirants opt for an associate degree in paralegal studies. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer associate degree programs for paralegal studies. Aspirants who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field can opt for a certificate paralegal training program. These paralegal certificate programs provide intensive training in paralegal studies. The duration of these programs, however, vary, some of them even taking only a few months. The associate and bachelor degrees generally combine paralegal studies with other academic subjects. Paralegal programs generally include training in legal research and the application of computers for legal purposes. Some programs also offer internships, where aspirants gain practical experience.

Medical

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If you are keen to receive medical coding and billing training, it is best that you go to college for it. Medical coding and billing is part of America’s huge and fast growing medical industry. Understanding Medical Coding and Billing

  • Medical coding is about insurance agencies reimbursing people with their insurance amounts on time and correctly making reports to track their diseases.
  • Medical billing refers to professionals making insurance claims to private and government insurers. Healthcare companies and doctors give these companies the patients’ medical records, verify the patient information, and fill, send, and track them until payments are passed on to the patients.

The above two professions are for you if you want to be a healthcare professional in an administrative role. A career in medical coding and billing trainingYou can start a career in this field with a basic high school diploma, though employers prefer that you pass medical billing and coding courses. Getting a job is easier is you get certificates for these courses. These courses are available at colleges, vocational schools, online institutes, and offline universities. You can also do an online course while working. However, formal training, though not mandatory, helps you secure a job faster. You can choose between a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year Bachelor’s degree in medical coding and billing training. You can also get a diploma in medical coding if you already have a Bachelor’s degree in a branch information technology or something related. Your course would cover anatomy, physiology, biology, and training in using computer coding and billing software. These classes help graduate students assume the role of specialists in working life. For a course ranging between two months to two years, you should expect to pay between $300 and $15,000. Necessary certifications in this field include:

  • The American Academy of Professional Coders
  • The Certified Coding Association

  Skills required  A good medical coder and biller must have these skills:

  • Organized
  • Eye to detail
  • Good with numbers
  • Be discreet and trustworthy with patients’ medical information
  • Follow the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Multitasking
  • Understand insurance plans
  • Know medical coding and terminology and medical billing guidelines

  Types of roles  

  • Bookkeeping: In this role, you would be a problem-solver for your company.
  • Insurance Coding: You need to know the many codes relevant to insurance. Your knowledge of codes will take you a long way.
  • Procedural Coding: Here, you will need to be sure of the medical procedures done for each patient and add a code to it. By looking at the specific codes, the doctors and nurses will know what service has been given to the patient.

Job prospects If you want to work at a hospital or at an insurance agency, you need a certificate from a recognized institute. The more training and certifications you have, the better job prospects you will have. Your starting pay after medical billing and coding training is $20,000 a year, and with experience and proven managerial skills, you could earn $30,000. Certifications from the AAPC or AHIMA could fetch you $40,000 a year. The demand for medical billing and coding training is growing every year, so a career in this field would take you far.

graphic artists

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If you are artistically inclined, you may want to get some computer graphic artist training. For someone as creative as you, expressing your thoughts, an unconventional idea, or doing some sensational display signs, ads, or packaging are just up your street. Today, this creative field has 228,000 graphic designers working in the United States. If you’re interested, join the gang.

Your career roadmap with computer graphic artist training

If you’ve been taking art and design courses at high school, this can hold you in good stead as you enter working life. At this stage, learn the basics in computer classes that can teach you layout and photography. Design your school magazine or newspaper and volunteer to design posters, handouts, or flyers.

At the entry-level, you need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, while some jobs may ask for an associate’s degree or a technical certificate besides industry experience. The US has over 250 art schools and colleges that offer computer graphic artist training programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

As a student of graphic design, you will be asked to complete a year of art and design courses before going on to do a bachelor’s degree. You will also have to show some samples of your work to prove your artistic talents or submit a portfolio that shows your skill in graphic design. Your computer skills will also come to the fore, and when you choose a program, ensure that it integrates a computer course too.

If you do a four-year university or college course in bachelor of fine arts, you will learn art history, art, principles of design, sculpture, architecture, painting, architectural drawing, mechanical drawing, engineering, computer design, fashion designing, sketching, etc. Though you may learn a lot, not all of it will be necessary for a job as a graphic designer.

As you advance in your career, you can become a chief designer or design department head if you also display leadership qualities.

Computer graphic artist training programs have applications in graphics programming, multimedia, video games, and touch screens and laser shows.

Job duties

  • Choose all elements of design like artwork, fonts, photography, etc
  • Meet clients and art directors to understand the brief
  • Develop ideas
  • Work with software to complete projects
  • Adhere to deadlines, themes and budgets

Skills required

  • Artistic and proven talent
  • Creative
  • Imaginative
  • Eye for beauty and detail
  • Good sense of balance, color, and proportion
  • Good computer skills
  • Impressive portfolio
  • Good communicators
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Ability to work independently

Certification

  • A bachelor’s degree in graphic design is required at the entry level.
  • Some professional schools offer associate degrees and certificates in graphic design.
  • The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits 300 institutions in the post-secondary stage, programs in design and art, and a degree in graphic design.

Job outlook

The salary range for experienced professionals with computer graphic artist training is broad, with a minimum of $20,000 annually and $100,000 at the other end of the spectrum. If you own a consulting firm, you could well make $105,000 a year.

However, if you do not have any formal education in this field or have average talent, you will find it hard to forge ahead, so enter this dynamic field by taking up computer graphic artist training.

 

Paralegal Training

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If the legal profession excites you, you could consider getting into paralegal training and work as a legal assistant to established lawyers by preparing closing statements and hearings and legal meetings, among others. As law firms try to cut costs, paralegals are taking on more legal responsibilities and doing many lawyers’ duties.

However, they are bound by law not to practice law by appearing in court for a client, presenting a case in court, charging fees, or giving clients legal advice. Despite this, there are many things that they can do to streamline the day-to-day activities of a law firm. Considering this, a professional with paralegal training is much sought after and can earn a tidy sum too.

Your career roadmap with paralegal training

If you want to join the prosperous and well-respected field of paralegals, it’s better to be a graduate. The minimum education requirement, however, is a high school diploma, though these days, many paralegals come in with a year’s certification in paralegal training or a two to four year degree course in this field. A Master’s degree in this field is not unheard of either.

If you’re interested in acquiring paralegal training, you could attend a community college that offers anassociate degrees in paralegal studies, or you could go in for undergraduate paralegal certificate courses. Usually, however, law firms ask for paralegals to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited paralegal course. You can also get yourself a paralegal certificate after completing your baccalaureate. If you would like to enter this profession, this is the entry-level standard for you.

Job duties

 

  • Help lawyers prepare for trials, hearings, closings, and corporate meetings
  • Investigate cases and ensure that all information regarding them are relevant
  • Identify legal articles, laws, judicial decisions, legal articles, and other material relevant to cases on hand
  • Analyze and organize information
  • Write reports for attorneys to use to determine the handling of a case
  • Draft contracts, separation agreements, mortgages, trust deeds, etc
  • Researching records
  • Performing and coordinating legal research
  • Making a summary of legal documents

Certification

Though there are no mandatory certifications required for paralegals, it is better to have it for a secure career. The best-known certificates for paralegal training are:

  • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) instituted by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) administered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)

Skills required

  • Ability to do legal research
  • Interview witnesses and document what they say
  • Good communication and writing skills
  • Work under pressure
  • Have basic computer skills
  • Know legal principles and terminology well
  • Analyze legal documents for relevance and accuracy

 

Job outlook

As a professional with paralegal training, your pay is dependent on the amount of experience you have as a paralegal, your geographic location, and the kind of law firm you work in. It’s widely known that if you work in a large city, you will be paid better than in a small town because of the larger exposure to cases. Also, you earn higher and better salaries if you work for the government. Attorneys also give their paralegals a bonus depending on the quantity of work and the amount of overtime they put in.

In 2008, annual wages for paralegals ranged between $30,000 and $73,000. So, if this is the job that excites you, head for a school that gives you good paralegal training.

 

Dental

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Becoming a dental assistant can prove to be a very rewarding career option. At present, there is a huge demand for dental assistants both in the United States and in other countries. This could only mean fat pay checks. According to Salary.com, a competent and qualified dental assistant can easily earn a salary of anywhere between $25,500 and $39,000 annually.  The national average median salary for dental assistants is $33,000.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the lowest 10 percent in this profession earns just below $22,270, while the top 10 percent rakes in over $46,000 annually. Now that is some serious cash. Apart from the fat pay checks, the additional benefits that are part of this profession (such as social security benefits) are also a plus. According to a survey by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), 86 percent of all Certified Dental Assistants (CDAs) get paid vacation time and over half receive health care benefits.

If all these dollar signs have mesmerized you, you better snap out of it and look for a good dental assistant training program and enroll for it. In this article we will talk about the various options and career paths available for people who want to enroll for a dental assistant training program.

 

Dental Assistant Training: Nature of the Work and Job Prospects

As a dental assistant, you can choose from three career paths, the first involving work in the office portion of the dental practice, the second involving lab work, and third is where you directly assist the dentist while he performs procedures on patients. Your dental assistant training program will train you in the specifics of all three options. Your duties, depending on your career path, may vary from disinfecting and sterilizing equipment, obtaining and updating patients’ dental records, processing X rays, preparing casts of teeth, assisting dentists by applying topical anesthetics, removing sutures, etc.

 

As for future job prospects, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field are set to grow by about 36 percent during the 2008-2018 decade. This growth rate is significantly higher than the national average growth rate of 10 percent in other fields.

 

Dental Assistant Training: Typical Training Courses

Dental assistants usually learn through on on-the-job training. However, a growing crop of dental assistants are trained through dental assistant training programs being offered by junior and community colleges, technical institutes and trade schools. Generally, these dental assistant training programs take about a year to be completed. Here is a list of typical dental assistant training courses.

 

  • Oral Anatomy Course: This program provides an anatomical review of the human head and the oral cavity. Trainees learn about soft and hard facial tissues, growth patterns of teeth and explore drugs used in dentistry.

 

  • Dental Radiology Course: Students here focus on the procedures and techniques involved in dental radiology. They learn to operate radiographic equipment and learn about safety practices to protect patients and operators from exposure to radiation. Mounting, processing and assessment of digital X rays is also covered.

 

  • Dental Materials Course: This program focuses on the various materials used in dental procedures. Individuals learn about the chemical and physical properties of these dental materials. They also learn how to prepare casts and take tooth impressions.

 

  • Dental Office Procedure Course: Students here learn about various office procedures, such as telephone etiquette, file management and appointment scheduling. Topics such as inventory control, basic bookkeeping, payroll, dental insurance plans and dental office management software are also covered.

 

Apart from the above dental assistant training programs, trade schools, community colleges and technical institutes also offer training courses in nutrition and oral hygiene and infection control. Decide which aspect you are interested in and choose the dental assistant training program accordingly.