School and Ranking Information
For potential students who reside within 50 miles of the Kansas City metropolitan area, paralegal studies programs are offered at seven schools. Missouri Western State University, Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City, and Rockhurst University have been chosen as the top three based on their academic awards available, reputations, and career opportunities.
- Winner: Missouri Western State University's Legal Assistant program is approved by the American Bar Association.
- Runner-Up #1: Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City's paralegal program is accredited by the American Association for Paralegal Education.
- Runner-up #2: Rockhurst University is the only school on the list that is ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Missouri Western State University||Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City||Rockhurst University|
|Ranking||N/A||N/A||#21 Regional University in the Midwest|
|Location||St. Joseph, MO||Kansas City, MO||Kansas City, MO|
|School Type||4-year, public||2-year, public||4-year, private not for-profit|
|Tuition (2013)||$6,007 (undergraduate, in-state)
$11,144 (undergraduate, out-of-state)
$5,057 (graduate, in-state)
$9,715 (graduate, out-of-state)*
|$2,640 (undergraduate, in-district)
$4,710 (undergraduate, in-state)
$6,330 (undergraduate, out-of-state)*
|$29,840 (undergraduate, in-state and out-of-state)
$13,320 (graduate, in-state and out-of-state)*
|Paralegal Studies Program Levels Offered||Certificate and Associate's degree||Associate's degree||Certificate|
|Paralegal Studies Certificates and Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||15*||27*||15*|
|Most Popular Paralegal Studies Program (2012)||Certificate-Legal Assistant*||Associate's-Legal Assistant*||Certificate-Legal Assistant*|
|2011 Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time)||28%*||13%*||74%*|
|Noteworthy||The paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association||The college boasts its own art gallery and the KIPP Endeavor Academy, a free public charter middle school open to all students||Rockhurst University is ranked in the top 30 wireless college campuses in the United States by Intel|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **U.S. News & World Report.
Winner: Missouri Western State University
- The Legal Assistant program is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education
- The university had over 22,000 alumni worldwide
- There are 18 academic departments at Missouri Western State University
Missouri Western State University's Legal Assistant Certificate program requires students to have at least 30 college credits before entering the program. In order to earn the certificate, students have to complete 24 credits of core requirements, at least three restricted electives in the major, and keep at least a 2.5 GPA. Computer applications, legal research, drafting, legal research, litigation, and practicum are some of the areas that classes will focus on specifically. Once students complete the curriculum, they will be prepared to assist lawyers with trials and appeals.
The university also offers an Associate's -Legal Assistant program as well. The program is 65 hours long and takes most students two years to complete. Some of the facets students will learn about in courses are computer applications, legal drafting, government, legal research, and legal drafting. There are also opportunities to join the Legal Studies Association as well. Joining the association will give students the opportunity to participate in community service and activities that deal with issues in the legal world. Employment in law firms, government offices, and legal departments are attainable once students earn the degree.
Runner-Up #1: Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City
- The community college is part of a five-campus community college system located in and around Kansas City, MO
- The school's paralegal program is accredited by the American Association for Paralegal Education, a membership-based association that promotes paralegal education
- The school's history dates back to 1915 when the original institution, Kansas City Polytechnic Institute, offered classes to 234 students.
The Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Practice program prepares students for the transition into assisting lawyers with various tasks. Paralegals, also called legal assistants, perform a variety of tasks under the supervision of lawyers. Performing legal research, writing briefs and other legal documents, and investigating facts in a case are some of the things a paralegal may do. The work of a paralegal consists of much of the legwork behind polished legal documents and arguments.
Students enrolled in this program get a solid foundation in a variety of types of law, as well as the duties involved in legal work. Types of law covered include criminal, property and family. Other coursework includes legal writing, ethics for paralegals, conducting legal research and understanding contracts. The program culminates with an internship working directly with lawyers.
Runner-Up #2: Rockhurst University
- The university had a student-faculty ratio of 12:1 in 2012 based on reports by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
- Rockhurst was established by the Jesuits in 1910
- According to U.S. News & World Report, the university has the premier management MBA program in the Kansas City metropolitan area
The Paralegal Certificate program at Rockhurst will ultimately get students ready for careers in insurance offices, bank trust departments, law offices, and courts. The faculty in the program consists entirely of practicing attorneys as well as judges. In most cases, the curriculum is completed in two semesters and classes take place in the evening and weekends. For those participating in the program, 18 credit hours have to be completed with a grade of at least a C. Employment law, ethics, and contract law are some of the facets students will learn about in classes.