Missouri Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
Employers in Missouri who hire paralegal candidates typically look for candidates with some combination of experience and education (often an associate’s degree or certificate in paralegal studies). On this page, you will find up-to-date information on education and recommended training for paralegals, salary, career outlook, vital resources, and more. Use the easy-to-navigate directory below to answer all of your questions about how to become a paralegal in Missouri.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Missouri
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Missouri
The state of Missouri has no explicit requirements for paralegal certification. Therefore, paralegals and legal assistants may follow many career paths. Most entry-level paralegals have earned at least an associate’s degree and taken coursework in legal studies. Missouri’s paralegal schools often offer experiential education components, like internships, that provide valuable experience and can help a candidate attract attention while applying for paralegal positions. For additional information on paralegal education and employment opportunities, please refer to the Missouri paralegal associations listed below.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
While no formal education is required to pursue the paralegal profession, earning a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree from one of the paralegal schools in Missouri will qualify you for a variety of paralegal jobs. Two of Missouri’s schools offering paralegal or legal assistant programs are currently approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).1
2. Gain experience.
Many paralegal programs offer internships with law firms, financial institutions, or state government agencies for students to gain experience in a real-world job setting. To increase your chances of success in the profession, seek positions with organizations that will allow you to develop skills and experience. Working closely with other legal professionals and paraprofessionals can orient you in your career and prepare you for the next steps on your chosen ladder.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Missouri does not have any legal requirements for the certification of paralegals. Voluntary, optional certification programs do exist, however, and may distinguish a potential paralegal in the job market.
Paralegal Certification in Missouri
Missouri state law considers paralegals paraprofessionals who may perform legal tasks under the direct supervision of a qualified attorney and does not require Missouri paralegal certification. The state of Missouri has not issued any state-wide requirements for paralegal certification. Upon completion of a Missouri paralegal program, prospective paralegals are encouraged to seek voluntary certification with a national paralegal association such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), or the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI). The certification examinations offered by these organizations are not mandated by state law but reflect a high degree of professional attainment within the paralegal field. Voluntary certification from national organizations such as these is strongly recommended because it can make candidates for paralegal jobs in Missouri more competitive. To learn more about national paralegal certification, read our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Missouri Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Law firms, banks, governments agencies, and corporations all employ paralegals. Missouri is home to several large law offices, most of which are based in metropolitan areas including St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is a large, top-ranked, international law firm with offices in Jefferson City, Kansas City, and St. Louis. This firm has continued to build a strong reputation for professional excellence with competitive employee salaries and benefits and may offer exciting opportunities for paralegals interested in specializing in a specific area of law. Husch Blackwell is a litigation and business law firm based in St. Louis. It is known for its good employee relations and positive, team-oriented culture and may have a need for paralegals. Smaller firms throughout the state may also offer promising opportunities for paralegals seeking a more personal introduction to the legal profession.
Large companies throughout the state, such as Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Reinsurance Group of America, and Centene Corporation, offer corporate positions for paralegals and legal assistants. Entry-level paralegals seeking experience may also consider working with government agencies early in their careers. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Missouri or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and identifying the companies who employ many paralegals. The companies in Missouri with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Armstrong Teasdale LLP
- Brown & Crouppen Law Firm
- Husch Blackwell
- Millsap & Singer, P.C.
- Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.
- Thompson Coburn LLP
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Missouri Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Missouri from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 6,860 paralegals and legal assistants working in Missouri.3 Projections Central projects 12% employment growth nationally for paralegals and legal assistants from 2018 to 2028, slightly lower than the growth expected in Missouri (14.7%).2 This positive growth trend reflects the current labor trend of reducing the cost of legal services by replacing some attorney labor with paralegal labor. Companies are expected to hire more paralegals in the near future, to support internal legal departments and supplement the labor of attorneys. Overall, urban areas such as Kansas City, Jefferson City, Springfield and St. Louis are likely to offer the most opportunities for paralegals in law firms, corporations, and government agencies.
The average paralegal salary in Missouri is $48,260 according to the BLS, which is less than the national average wage for paralegals and legal assistants at $56,610.3 With the projected positive growth trends and general expansion of the profession, recently graduated and studying paralegals should enter a favorable hiring environment. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in October 2021.
Missouri Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Average Annual Salary4
Paralegal Associations in Missouri
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geographical location and/or area of law.
- Kansas City Paralegal Association (KCPA): Serves the greater Kansas City metropolitan area by working to develop the paralegal profession through engagement, awareness, and the promotion of continuing legal education.
- Missouri Paralegal Association (MPA): As an affiliate of NFPA, strives to advance the paralegal profession in the state of Missouri.
- St. Louis Paralegal Association (STLPA): As a NALA affiliate, seeks to promote ethical and professional standards for paralegals and provides regular networking opportunities, community service participation, a jobs bank, and an internship/mentorship program.
- Missouri Paralegal Interview: Our interview with James Daily, the co-author of The Law of Superheroes.
- Missouri Courts: Judicial Branch of Government: Curates links to legal resources including a robust legal library, court dockets, rules and forms, and case search databases.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: Search for paralegal jobs in Missouri paralegal jobs.
- University of Missouri-Kansas City Leon E. Bloch Law Library: Serves law students and faculty, local bench and bar members, and the general public with over 70,000 print titles as well as access to subscription databases.
- University of Missouri Law Library: Offers extensive collections of print and electronic legal resources, from local to international, to professionals and the greater university community for research purposes.
1. American Bar Association Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/
2. Missouri Paralegal Association: https://missouriparalegalassoc.org/
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm