Become a Paralegal in Mississippi

2012 reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed 1,630 paralegals and paralegal assistants working in Mississippi, earning an annual mean wage of $40,930. Nationwide, the BLS projects an 18 percent increase in paralegal and legal assistant jobs between 2010 and 2020. This is due in part to the fact that law firms, government entities and businesses are always in need of legal services, and using paralegals is an excellent way to obtain many of these services while minimizing expenses.

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Legal assistant and legal secretary positions aren’t the only ones that count paralegal skills as a requirement. Many administrative assistant, executive assistant and legal administrative specialist job postings list paralegal skills as desirable or necessary.

Individuals who go that extra mile to get a certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree in a paralegal or legal studies program gain skills desirable to employers. They are also in better positions to become nationally certified, another asset that gives job candidates a leg up on the competition.

Paralegal Certification

There is no mandatory certification or licensing of paralegals in Mississippi.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Mississippi

Paralegal Certificates

  • Mississippi College

    A Christian college in Clinton, Mississippi College offers a 27-hour certificate in paralegal studies for those who’ve already completed a four-year degree. Student learn and perform basic legal research and analysis and gain an understanding of the court systems and procedural rules, as well as of ethical dilemmas often faced by those working in the legal field.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $13,608 (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On-campus
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

    Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) offers a paralegal technology certificate at their Jefferson Davis campus in Gulfport, Mississippi, just west of Biloxi. This 30-credit program gives graduates the basic skills needed to support lawyers in law firms, government, corporations, insurance companies and a variety of other businesses where legal services are needed.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $3,450 for state residents; $5,760 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On-campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Microcomputer Applications
    • Mechanics of Communications
    • Introduction to Law
    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Antonelli College

    Antonelli College offers an Associate of Applied business in paralegal studies at their Hattiesburg campus and online. Recognizing the growing need for paralegals, Antonelli offers students a curriculum that provides them with the legal knowledge and paralegal skills necessary to be desirable members of legal teams. Students become familiar with legal and office software, investigation tactics, client relations, transcription, confidentiality requirements, legal research and writing and other legal basics. Antonelli also offers continuous career placement services.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $14,850 (based on 2013 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus or online
  • Holmes Community College (HCC)

    Holmes Community College‘s (HCC) Associate of Applied Science in paralegal technology is taught at the school’s Ridgeland campus, just north of Jackson, Mississippi. The program is based on standards developed by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and prepares graduates to take the NALA Certified Paralegal Exam. Additional curriculum has been developed in response to surveys of experts in business, the legal field and education, helping to ensure that the program is up-to-date and relevant.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $4,000 for full-time state residents; $5,160 for full-time out-of-state students; $6,600 for for part-time state residents; $7,260 for part-time out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 tuition rates)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Oncampus or online

    Sample required courses:

    • Intro to Law
    • Law Office Management
    • Legal Writing
    • Public Speaking
  • Itawamba Community College

    Fulton, in northwest Mississippi, is the home of Itawamba Community College. Offering both a paralegal Associate of Art degree and Associate of Applied Science in paralegal technology, Itawamba gives students the benefits of a community-oriented college along with low tuition. Students gain a liberal arts education covering math, science, humanities and social science in addition to core legal studies in areas such as civil litigation, legal research and writing and family law. The Associate of Art program requires 63 credit hours, while the Associate in Applied Science requires 69 to 70 credit hours.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $4,200 for state residents; $8,600 for out-of-state students; $9,000 for international students (based on 2013 per-semester tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High School Graduate, GED, ACT, SAT
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Hybrid (On campus and online)

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Mississippi University for Women (MUW)

    Mississippi University for Women was founded in 1884 as the first public college for women in country, and today it welcomes both men and women. It offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in legal studies; these comprehensive programs give students a basic understanding of legal concepts and analytical skills, in addition to a solid general education. Small class sizes help to ensure that students receive personalized attention, and a free tutoring program is open to all students through the school’s Center for Academic Excellence.

    Sample required courses:

    • Intro to the Legal Profession
    • Legal Writing
    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Bibliography & Research I & II
  • University of Southern Mississippi (USM)

    Individuals seeking to gain a paralegal degree from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) can earn one at the school’s Hattiesburg campus or its Gulf Park campus. The Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies offered by this public, four-year institution encompasses legal concepts, terminology and skills. Graduates are able to research legal issues, draft legal documents and understand legal ethics and rules.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $26,976 for state residents; $33,120 for out-of state students (based on 2013-2014 per-semester tuition)
    • Prerequisites: College preparatory curriculum; GPA and SAT/ACT score requirements
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Paralegalism
    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Research
    • Law Office Computing and Management

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organization

  • The Mississippi Paralegal Association (MPA) supports paralegals and legal assistants with education, networking opportunities and access to certification exams. Members can benefit from guest speakers at monthly luncheons, which are also available via Livestream. The MPA also offers professional recognition, quarterly newsletters and job placement services. Student members are welcome.
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