Are you ready to embark on an exciting and rewarding career as a paralegal in Kansas? There are various pathways and opportunities available to help you achieve your goals. Join us as we explore the different routes on how to become a paralegal in Kansas, top paralegal programs, the job market, professional resources, and tips for success in the Sunflower State.
What you’re about to learn in this guide:
Kansas provides various pathways to become a successful paralegal, including education options such as associate’s degrees and certificate programs.
Certification opportunities are available through various organizations, allowing them to demonstrate their expertise and open up career opportunities.
Paralegals in Kansas can specialize in areas like litigation or family law while taking advantage of professional resources for networking and continuing education.
Kansas Paralegal Pathways
The journey to becoming a paralegal in Kansas is filled with possibilities. From formal education to on-the-job training, there are several routes aspiring paralegals can take to enter this thriving profession. Legal assistants and paralegals in Kansas are defined as individuals who:
Have been suitably trained
Have gained relevant work experience
Have obtained the necessary education
Are employed by an attorney, government agency, law office, or other entity performing substantive legal work under the direction of an attorney.
Three primary pathways to becoming a paralegal in Kansas include:
Education: Pursuing a paralegal degree.
Certification: Obtaining paralegal certification.
Experience: Gaining valuable experience through internships and job shadowing.
A successful career in this field can be achieved by following any of these pathways.
When it comes to paralegal education in Kansas, there is no shortage of options. Prospective paralegals can choose from associate’s degrees, certificate programs, and Bachelor of Legal Studies programs. Johnson County Community College offers a Paralegal Certificate program. It requires 34 credit hours and can be completed in three semesters. Washburn University also provides a Bachelor of Legal Studies program, requiring 48 semester credit hours.
Another reputable institution, Hutchinson Community College, offers a 36-credit hour Paralegal Certificate program, an example of an American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal program in Kansas. Enrolling in one of these programs paves the way for a successful paralegal career in the state.
In addition to education, aspiring paralegals in Kansas can pursue national certification through organizations like the National Federation for Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). There are four national certification examinations available for paralegals. Each certification exam has its own set of educational and work experience requirements that should be consulted before applying.
Obtaining paralegal certification not only showcases your dedication and commitment to the profession but can also set you apart in a competitive job market. Pursuing certification demonstrates your expertise and dedication to the paralegal profession, which can enhance your chances of securing a rewarding position in the legal field.
Acquiring experience as a paralegal in Kansas is crucial for success in this field. Internships and job shadowing are viable options for obtaining experience and developing the necessary skills and knowledge to excel as a paralegal.
Additionally, gaining experience can help you forge relationships with other legal professionals, opening doors to job opportunities and career growth. Utilize internships, job shadowing, and volunteering in the legal field to build a strong foundation for your paralegal career.
Top Paralegal Programs in Kansas
As you search paralegal programs in Kansas, you will find several top-notch institutions offering a wide range of degree programs. These programs, including ABA-approved and online options, provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the paralegal profession.
Whether you prefer the flexibility of an online program or the rigorous curriculum of an ABA-approved program, there is a paralegal program in Kansas that suits your needs and goals. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best paralegal programs in the state.
The American Bar Association (ABA) approval is a mark of quality for paralegal programs, ensuring that the curriculum meets high standards set by the legal profession. Johnson County Community College, located in the Kansas City region, is the only establishment to offer ABA-approved programs. These include a Paralegal Associate of Arts and a paralegal certificate..
Fort Hays State University’s paralegal program offers flexibility in the job market. Washburn University, on the other hand, offers Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and bachelor’s degree levels of paralegal study and certification, as well as Certificate of Completion.
Enrolling in an ABA-approved program ensures a high-quality education that prepares you for a successful career in the paralegal field.
Online Paralegal Programs
For those seeking flexibility and convenience, online paralegal programs are an excellent option. Some examples of online paralegal programs include:
Grantham University: Paralegal Studies Online Degree Program
Metropolitan Community College: A.A.S. Paralegal Practice
Kansas City Kansas Community College: Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal and Associate of Arts in Pre-Law
These online paralegal programs offer the same high-quality education as their traditional counterparts, allowing you to balance your studies with work, family, or other commitments. Choosing an online paralegal program allows you to gain the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the paralegal profession without sacrificing your current lifestyle.
Kansas Paralegal Job Market
Kansas offers a promising job market for paralegals, with the majority of paralegals employed in private law firms, particularly in metropolitan areas like Wichita, Topeka, and Overland Park. The Kansas Bureau of Labor has estimated that paralegal jobs will experience a 19.9% growth rate between 2016 and 2026, indicating strong career growth potential in the state.
With the projected growth rate exceeding the national average of 10% between 2019 and 2029, Kansas paralegals can expect ample opportunities for employment and career advancement. Let’s delve deeper into the employment sectors and geographic hotspots for paralegals in Kansas.
Paralegals in Kansas can find employment in a variety of sectors, including:
Corporate legal departments
These sectors differ in terms of the nature of their work, the size of the organization, and the types of clients they serve.
Law firms typically provide legal services to individuals and businesses, while corporate legal departments offer legal services solely to the company. Government agencies, on the other hand, provide legal services to the public, and non-profit organizations offer legal services to those in need.
Each sector offers unique opportunities for paralegals to develop their skills, gain valuable experience, and make a difference in the lives of their clients.
When it comes to paralegal employment in Kansas, certain geographic areas stand out as hotspots for job opportunities. Overland Park and Wichita are among the most popular areas for paralegals in the state. The Kansas City area, in particular, is home to the majority of the state’s paralegals, with 2,820 paralegals employed in the region.
Focusing your job search in these thriving areas can increase your chances of landing a rewarding paralegal position in Kansas.
Paralegal Salaries and Career Growth in Kansas
Paralegals in Kansas enjoy competitive salaries and strong career growth potential. Some key facts about paralegal salaries in Kansas include:
The average salary for paralegals in the state is $49,469 per year.
This salary is slightly lower than the national average of $52,910.
Despite being slightly lower, the average salary still offers a comfortable income for professionals in this field.
Kansas paralegals can also expect promising career growth, with an estimated 8.2% increase in the number of paralegals by 2023. Let’s take a closer look at the salary ranges and factors that can affect earnings in the paralegal profession in Kansas.
According to the report published in May 2018, paralegals working in Kansas on average earned an annual salary of $43,790. This was in line with the national median for paralegals. In urban areas of the Kansas City region, paralegals earn an average annual salary of $50,150. The top 10% of paralegals in Kansas City earned an average salary of $72,790 in 2016.
While the average salary for paralegals in Kansas is slightly lower than the national average, it is important to note that the cost of living in Kansas is also generally lower than in other states. This means that paralegals in Kansas can still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while pursuing their career goals.
Factors Affecting Earnings
Several factors can influence a paralegal’s earnings in Kansas, including:
Years of experience
Size of the firm
Location of the firm
Level of education and certifications
Specialized skills or areas of expertise
Experience, in particular, plays a significant role in determining paralegal salaries, with more experienced paralegals generally earning higher salaries than their less-experienced counterparts.
Additionally, larger firms tend to offer higher salaries than smaller firms, and paralegals in larger cities may earn higher salaries than those in smaller cities.
Professional Resources for Kansas Paralegals
Kansas paralegals have access to a wealth of professional resources to help them succeed in their careers. From paralegal associations to networking opportunities, these resources provide invaluable support for both aspiring and established paralegals in the state.
Taking advantage of these resources helps stay connected to the paralegal community, further your education, and keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends and developments.
Kansas is home to a few professional paralegal associations. These include the Kansas Paralegal Association, the Kansas Association of Legal Assistants, and the Heartland Paralegal Association (HPA). These associations offer networking opportunities, continuing education, and support for paralegals in Kansas, helping them to grow professionally and advance their careers.
Joining a paralegal association offers several benefits, including:
Connecting with like-minded professionals
Sharing knowledge and experiences
Participating in seminars, workshops, and other educational events to enhance your skills and stay current with industry trends.
Networking is essential for paralegals in Kansas, as it can open doors to new job opportunities and foster valuable professional relationships. Organizations such as the Kansas Paralegal Association (KPA) and the Kansas City Paralegal Association (KCPA) offer networking events, seminars, and conferences for paralegals to connect and learn from one another.
Additionally, social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook allow paralegals to connect with other professionals in the field, expanding their network and staying informed about job openings and industry news.
Active participation in networking events and online communities broadens your professional connections and increases your chances of success in the paralegal field.
Legal Specializations for Paralegals in Kansas
As a paralegal in Kansas, there are numerous legal specializations available to you. By focusing your skills and knowledge in a specific area of law, you can enhance your career prospects and set yourself apart in the competitive job market.
Paralegals in Kansas can specialize in various areas of law, such as:
Real estate transactions
Pursuing a specialization develops expertise in a specific field, opening doors to new job opportunities and career growth.
Tips for Success as a Paralegal in Kansas
To achieve success as a paralegal in Kansas, it is essential to capitalize on available continuing education opportunities, foster relationships with fellow paralegals, and stay abreast of industry trends. Continuing education options include attending conferences, taking online courses, and enrolling in certificate programs.
Networking is equally important for paralegals in Kansas. Joining professional organizations, attending networking events, and connecting with other paralegals online can help you build a strong network of professional contacts and stay informed about job opportunities and industry advancements.
Taking advantage of these resources and opportunities paves the way for a fulfilling and successful paralegal career in Kansas.
In conclusion, becoming a paralegal in Kansas opens doors to a rewarding and dynamic career in the legal field. With numerous education and certification options, a strong job market, and a variety of professional resources available, you can build a successful paralegal career in the Sunflower State. By pursuing a paralegal degree, obtaining certification, gaining experience, and staying connected to the paralegal community, you can forge a bright future in this exciting profession.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a degree to be a paralegal in Kansas?
No, you do not need a degree to be a paralegal in Kansas, however the Kansas Bar Association recommends having either an associate’s degree from an ABA-approved program or national certification.
What is a paralegal salary in Kansas?
As of August 2020, paralegals in Kansas earn an average salary of $55,000 per year or $26.44 per hour. Entry level positions start at $45,000 annually, while experienced workers can make up to $90,000 per year.
Is it easier to get into law school as a paralegal?
Overall, it is not necessarily easier for paralegals to get into law school, as the main advantage they have is experience and knowledge of the legal field rather than an automatic acceptance.
What are the primary pathways to becoming a paralegal in Kansas?
The primary pathways to becoming a paralegal in Kansas involve completing educational requirements, obtaining certification, and gaining relevant work experience.
Are there any ABA-approved paralegal programs in Kansas?
Yes, Johnson County Community College in Kansas offers ABA-approved paralegal programs. These include an Associate of Arts and a certificate option.