Become a Paralegal in Kansas

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Not just wheat and cornfields, the “Sunflower State” has several large hubs of commerce where paralegal skills are in high demand. Kansas City, which is comprised of both Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, has seen remarkable population growth in recent years. With that growth is an increased need for employees with legal skills, not only in the legal community, but also in other professions, where knowledge of the law is considered a hiring plus in the competitive job market.

*Whether you’re looking to earn an undergraduate degree in preparation for the Certified Paralegal Exam, or ready to advance your career with a master's degree in legal studies, accredited online programs make it easier than ever to get the education you need:

Washington University School of Law offers an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program. This 12-month master's degree allows paralegals to gain in-depth knowledge of US Law. The program can be completed without relocating or leaving your job. No GRE or LSAT scores required.

In May 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 1,920 paralegals in Kansas with an average mean wage of $43,070 or $20.71 per hour. The majority of those worked in the Kansas City metropolitan area, which employs 2,230 paralegals (within both the Kansas and Missouri portions of this area); the annual mean wage for paralegals there was $51,030. A relatively high number of paralegals also work in Wichita; with one of the highest populations in Kansas, this city is home to businesses like Learjet and the Coleman Corporation.

Kansas paralegals who work part time may earn appropriately $26,440 per year, while those working full time plus overtime hours can makes as much as $62,000. These wages can go a long way as the cost of living in this state is not as high as it is in states such as California or New York.

Paralegal Certification

There is no state regulation of paralegals in Kansas; however, the Kansas Bar Association adopted Official Standards and Guidelines for the Utilization of Legal Assistants/Paralegals in Kansas in 2009. In 2008, paralegal associations in Kansas presented a voluntary certification program proposal to the Kansas Bar Board of Governors, which is still pending.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Kansas

Paralegal Certificates

  • Johnson County Community College

    The Paralegal Certificate program at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) requires a total of 34 credit hours and can be completed in three semesters. JCCC is a public, two-year educational institution in the Overland Park community of the Kansas City area. In addition to its paralegal certificate program, it is one of the few schools that offers a Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate, an eight-month, 22 credit hour program.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $2,890 for Johnson County residents; $3,400 for residents of other Kansas counties; $6,732 for non-residents (based on spring 2014 per credit hour tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Completion of a two-year associate degree or four-year degree and JCCC and American Bar Association (ABA) general education requirements (18 hours of general education credit from at least three of the following disciplines: humanities, social science, natural science and mathematics)
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus
  • Hutchinson Community College

    Hutchinson Community College (HCC) is a two-year institution that’s been serving students since 1928. Located in Hutchinson, Kansas, just northwest of Wichita, HCC offers students affordable educational options that can improve their job prospects. Its 36-credit hour Paralegal Certificate program prepares students to sit for the national certification exam.

    • Estimated Program Cost*: $3,204 for state residents; $4,320 for out-of-state students; $5,004 for international students (based on 2013-2014 per credit hour tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; exceptions may apply, so consult HCC’s website to see which requirements apply to you.
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus or hybrid online/on campus

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Johnson County Community College

    The Associate of Arts for aspiring paralegals at Johnson County Community College requires 65 credit hours, including courses in social science and humanities, as well as a minimum of 18 hours in legal specialty classes. The school stresses that although the opportunities for paralegals are increasing, so is competition in the job market, making it even more important to have a degree in the field.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,525 for Johnson County residents; $6,500 for residents of other Kansas counties; $12,870 for out-of-state students (based on spring 2014 tuition costs)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; students age 18 and above may also be admitted it they have not graduated from high school but have determined by JCCC to be able to benefit from the courses in which they wish to enroll.
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample courses required:

    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Analysis and Writing
    • Legal Ethics, Interviewing and Investigation
    • Advanced Legal Technology
  • Newman University

    Located in Wichita, Kansas, Newman University is a Catholic University founded for the purpose of empowering students to transform society. Its goal is twofold: educating the mind and inspiring the spirit. The school offers a Paralegal Associate of Science degree, a course of study that involves at least 62 credit hours, 36 hours of which must be related to law.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $46,934 (based on 2013-2014 per credit hour tuition)
    • Requirements: High school diploma or GED; ACT OR SAT if under 21 years old unless transferring 24 or more credit hours. TOEFL or IELTS scores must be submitted by international students who have not completed English composition.
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus
  • Washburn University

    Washburn University, located in Topeka, offers an Associate of Arts in legal studies for students wishing to pursue careers as paralegals. This program requires 48 semester credit hours, including both general education classes and those focused on legal topics. In addition to its undergraduate program, Washburn University has a respected law school, should you decide to continue into a more advanced legal career.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $11,376 for Kansas residents; $25,680 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per credit hour tuition)
    • Requirements: High School Diploma, GED or at least 24 hours of college courses; ACT/COMPASS required for students who have not completed 24 hours of college courses. Consult Washburn’s admissions requirements for details regarding required GPA and ACT scores.
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample courses required:

    • Social Sciences
    • Introduction to Paralegalism
    • Legal Research
    • Corporate Law
    • Personal Injury Law

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Washburn University

    Washburn University offers a Bachelor of legal studies (BLS) through its School of Applied Studies. Located in the state capital of Topeka and founded in 1865, Washburn is a four-year university with over 7,000 students. In addition to certificate and undergraduate programs, students can tackle graduate programs in many fields or study in Washburn’s well-regarded law school.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $28,440 for Kansas residents; $64,200 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per credit hour tuition)
    • Requirements: High School Diploma, GED or at least 24 hours of college courses; ACT/COMPASS required for students who have not completed 24 hours of college courses. Consult Washburn’s admissions requirements for details regarding required GPA and ACT scores.
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

Professional Organizations

  • The Kansas Paralegal Association (KPA) is a professional organization open to paralegals, legal assistants, students, paralegal educators and institutions interested in promoting professional standards in the paralegal community, fostering creative expansion of paralegal careers, meeting and exchanging ideas and establishing working relationships with local, state and national paralegal and bar associations.
  • The Kansas Association of Legal Assistants (KALA) is a statewide association affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). KALA supports formal education for legal assistants and paralegals and offers continuing education through practicums and seminars. They support and endorse certification through the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam and offer study groups to help legal assistants prepare for this exam. In addition, they offer a job registry of legal assistant openings and award an annual scholarship. Membership is open to individuals with on-the-job training as a legal assistant, specified experience as a legal assistant, those who have passed the CLA exam and those who have have graduated from paralegal educational programs as outlined in their membership guidelines.
  • The Heartland Paralegal Association (HPA) serves members in the metro Kansas City area, both Kansas and Missouri, along with the surrounding region. This association fosters good relationships between local paralegals and legal assistants, NALA and the legal community. They also sponsor continuing education prgrams, in addition to educating the community about the paralegal community and services.
  • The Kansas City Paralegal Association (KCPA) is active in the Kansas City area. They promote professionalism in the paralegal community and offer networking opportunities through luncheons, a newsletter, seminars and other events, as well as share resources and information concerning the paralegal profession.
  • The Kansas Bar Association (KBA) is an association not only for attorneys, but also for judges, law students and paralegals. They also have a paralegal committee that works to enhance professionalism, high standards and guidelines in the paralegal community.
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