Paralegal Schools in Missouri

The body of knowledge required to effectively perform legal support services can only come from a formal education in paralegal studies. As attorneys, corporations and government agencies work within an increasingly complex legal framework, the level of responsibility they expect paralegals to be able to take on has also increased. Law offices and other employers in Missouri have come to rely on paralegals with the kind of expertise that can only come from earning a certificate or degree in paralegal studies.

The Missouri Courts official government website representing the state’s entire judicial branch – everything from municipal courts to the state Supreme Court – released a 69-page document called Significant Missouri Law Distinctions. This document lists 11 areas – ranging from administrative law and evidence to family law and estates – in which Missouri law differs substantially from other state and federal laws. In the era of national universities offering distance learning programs, you better believe that some of the best options are available online.

We’ve put together some recommendations. Here you’ll find degree and certificate programs designed for paralegals at all stages in their professional development, whether you’re fresh out of high school, changing careers, or an experienced paralegal looking to advance and specialize.

 

Drury University

AS Paralegal Studies – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We like the AS program through Drury U because it provides a thorough grounding in the legal field –

from legal research to the discovery process – and the fact that it culminates in an internship. There’s nothing employers like more from a job candidate than a degree in combination with some experience.

Classes are offered at DU’s Springfield campus, or the program can be completed fully online. In 2015 the Open Education Database ranked DU’s online paralegal program second in the nation.

 

Hickey College

Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies – Campus

  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

A full 94 percent of Hickey College graduates work in a field related to their area study. How’s that for producing a useful education and a degree employers recognize and respect.

The paralegal associate’s degree is no exception. From its Saint Louis campus, this 16-month program prepares graduates for success in the legal field. At the end of the program you’ll participate in an eight-week externship in the greater Saint Louis metro area, giving you the experience you need to hit the ground running.

 

Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City

AAS in Paralegal Practice – Campus

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Metropolitan CC’s AAS in paralegal practice offers an exceptional value. From it’s Penn Valley campus in Kansas City, students can complete this 64-credit program in two years. As they approach graduation, students participate in a three-credit internship in the greater KC metro area.

Students from any background – whether recent high school graduates or college grads interested in changing careers – are welcome to apply to this program.

 

Missouri Southern State University

Paralegal Studies Certificate/Minor – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We like the paralegal program from Missouri Southern State because of the flexibility it offers. Whether earning the certificate by itself or as a minor in a degree program, the coursework is the same: a total of 10 classes that amount to 30 credits, including the option for a paralegal internship.

Students who are already enrolled at MSSU pursuing a bachelor’s degree in any field can enroll in the paralegal minor program. If you don’t want to enroll in a bachelor’s program you can complete the certificate as a stand-alone credential independently.

All classes are offered online with some also being offered on MSSU’s Joplin campus.

 

Missouri Western State University

Minor in Legal Studies – Campus

Legal Assistant Certificate (post-associate) – Campus

AS in Legal Assistant Studies – Campus

BS in Criminal Justice, Legal Studies – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, all four programs
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Missouri Western State U stands out for offering four paralegal programs. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re all ABA-approved.

The two-year AS degree is comprised of 60 credits. These credits can be applied towards a four-year 124-credit BS in criminal justice with a legal studies concentration. For students who already have an associate’s degree in any field, the post-degree certificate provides an excellent option. The certificate can also be earned concurrent with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

These three programs each include a three-credit paralegal internship.

Anyone earning a bachelor’s degree in any other field can also complete 21 legal studies credits as a minor.

 

National American University

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and blended

BS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and blended

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We’re featuring this school because it has two great programs that provide a significant discount to those who wear the uniform of the United States. NAU has three convenient campus locations in Independence, Lee’s Summit, and Kansas City that each offer both the AAS and BS programs.

The AAS program can be completed in as little as 104 weeks, while the BS can be finished in as few as 195 weeks. Graduates of either program are qualified to take a national certification exam offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). With two years of work experience in the legal field, graduates of either program can also take a national certification exam offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).

 

Rockhurst University

Paralegal Certificate – Campus

Paralegal Minor – Campus

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We’re featuring Rockhurst for its remarkable flexibility. As a student here, you can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer and have the option of evening and weekend classes. Without a strict completion timeframe, you can take the program part time or complete it quickly in as little as two semesters. You can apply the credits you earn for this certificate towards a bachelor’s degree program at RU should you choose to later.

The certificate can be completed independently as a stand-alone program, or its 18 core paralegal credits can be tacked on as a minor to a bachelor’s degree in any field.

 

Saint Charles Community College

Paralegal Certificate – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

This non-credit certificate program is designed for anyone with a high school diploma or GED who wants to gain a competitive credential to work as a paralegal. Courses can be completed fully online or from SCCC’s Cottleville campus. This program is divided into five sessions that cover different topics, each lasting approximately six weeks.

 

Saint Louis Community College

AAS in Legal Studies for the Paralegal – Campus

Certificate in Legal Studies for the Paralegal (post-associate) – Campus

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We’re featuring SLCC because its paralegal programs provide great options and an even greater value.

The 65-credit two-year AAS program is designed for new students and career changers looking to establish their educational foundation in this field. The 30-credit 20-month certificate program is designed for those who already have at least an associate’s degree in any field, and many come into the program with some experience in the legal field.

You can complete general course requirements for this program from any of SLCC’s campus locations and online, however the core courses that make up these programs are only offered at the Florissant Valley and Meramec campuses in the greater Saint Louis area.

 

Stevens – The Institute of Business & Arts

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

BA in Paralegal Studies – Campus

  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

We like this school because of the flexibility it offers students. You can take classes from Stevens’ Saint Louis campus during the day or in the evening, and complete these programs on a full or part-time basis. The school has a generous admission policy and considers applications regardless of college of entrance exam scores. The AAS program can be completed in 18 months, while the BA can be completed in 36 months.

 

Vatterott College-Sunset Hills

Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

You can complete Vatterott’s associate’s degree program in paralegal studies completely online or attend classes in person at VC’s Sunset Hills campus in Saint Louis. In either case, this 97-quarter-credit program can be completed in 70 weeks.

Students complete a final capstone project worth 7.5 credits structured as a case study, research paper, or any other approved project.

 

Webster University

Minor in Legal Studies – Campus

BA in Legal Studies – Campus

MA in Legal Studies – Campus and synchronous online

Legal Studies Graduate Certificate (post-bac) – Campus and synchronous online

  • ABA-approved – Yes, all three programs on Saint Louis area campuses are ABA-approved except the minor
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Webster stands out for offering three different ABA-approved programs, including both undergraduate and graduate program options:

  • The 128-credit ABA-approved BA program takes four years to complete and is open to students who meet the entrance requirements.
  • While the legal studies minor isn’t intended to prepare you to become a paralegal, nor approved by the ABA, you can add this to any WU bachelor’s degree by completing 18 credits of core legal studies courses.
  • Students who already have a bachelor’s degree in any field can apply for the 24-credit ABA-approved graduate certificate. It can be completed in two semesters as a stand-alone certificate, and can also be completed concurrently with any other master’s program from WU.
  • The 39-credit MA program can be completed in 18 months and is open to students who already have a bachelor’s degree. Students in the MA and graduate certificate program who can’t make it to class every day have the option to attend their courses synchronously.

Classes for all programs are offered from WU’s main Saint Louis campus, and some are available from the Gateway Campus in downtown Saint Louis.

 

William Woods University

BS in Paralegal Studies – Online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

The four-year BS program is 122 credits in total (two credits more than what is found in a traditional bachelor’s program), and includes 42 core-paralegal credits. It culminates with a six-credit practicum and capstone experience that will help prepare you with the experience you need to hit the ground running your first day on the job.

To accommodate students with up to 25 transferable college credits, WWU offers an online degree completion program that allows you to earn a BS in less time than you might have thought possible

While this school is based in Fulton, you can take classes online from anywhere in the world.

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