Skip to main content

Students: The Future of the Paralegal Profession



Did You Know: 


- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for a paralegal in 2020 was $52,920?

- BLS and numerous other credible sources have projected that the number of paralegal jobs will increase by 10-20% in the next 3-5 years?

- As the paralegal profession becomes more visible, trained, and requested, the skill set and educational requirements have also increased?

- Most employers of a paralegal are seeking a candidate with an Associates (or Bachelor's) degree and a Paralegal Certificate, at a minimum.

- Larger employers, and most who have corporate counsel or insurance company clients, often require a Bachelor's degree plus a Paralegal Certificate.

- As the demand for greater access to justice and legal services increases, the paralegal profession will continue to be a highly sought after field and obtaining positions will become more competitive.

- MPA has a special category of membership designed perfectly to meet the professional needs of a paralegal student. As an Associate level member, the paralegal student member will have access to the following:

- Mentoring by experienced paralegals

- Networking with other students

- Student and new paralegal specific topics of interest (such as job interviews, portfolios, feedback on schools and education opportunities)

- Continuing Legal Education

- Job Bank - often where employers in Missouri advertise their open positions directly to our membership, rather than on online job sites generally available to the public. 
- Most legal careers are begun, and expanded, through networking and word of mouth, rather than advertisements online. 
- Joining a professional association while still a student is one of the best ways to obtain real-world answers, begin your networking, seek mentoring, advance your legal knowledge and education, and expand your horizons as you begin, and advance, your career in this fast growing field! 
- The Access to Justice movement has been around for more than 10 years, but is gaining traction, especially in Missouri. This movement is designed to offer legal services and education to more members of the public, within ethical boundaries, with the goal of making important legal services more readily available to those who need to utilize it. 
- The Missouri Paralegal Association does not support any Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL). Our members will not provide legal advice, represent clients on directly on most types of cases, nor breach any ethical boundaries established by Model Rules of Professional Conduct, nor Missouri or Federal statutes. As a student, becoming a part of the MPA exposes you to the dangers of UPL (a crime in Missouri), how to avoid it, and how to ensure you begin your career with an appropriate moral compass to guide you. 

Click here to apply for an Associate level membership today!


The Missouri Paralegal Association does not make any recommendations as to the quality of a school. By joining as an Affiliate Member or sponsoring an event or program, this does not constitute MPA's endorsement of the program itself. However, we recognize the value of partnership with many educational programs and schools- both in Missouri and around the country- as we understand and support these programs training and encouraging the next generation of paralegals - and an important role in the future of our profession and leadership.

Resources for Paralegal Students / Prospective Students:

  • American Bar Association Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs - click here
  • National Federation of Paralegal Association (NFPA) Career Center - click here
  • NFPA article re: the difference between certification (designation) and certificated (certificate holder) - click here
  • NFPA explanation of certification vs. licensure - click here


In Missouri, there are two paralegal education programs that are ABA approved: 

Missouri Western State University


  • Legal Assistant Associate of Science (AS)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a Legal Studies Concentration
  • Legal Studies Minor
  • Legal Assistant Certificate (post-associate or concurrent with an associate)

St. Joseph, MO

Webster University


  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies
  • Minor in Legal Studies (not ABA-approved)
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Legal Studies

St. Louis, MO

There are numerous online ABA approved paralegal education programs. (At the time of this writing, there are 34 nationwide.) You may search for current results on the ABA website here:

Please note that MPA offers this information, as it is one of our frequently asked questions, and not because the organization believes only an ABA approved education qualifies an individual to be employed as a paralegal.