Paralegal Career Planner – Fulfill your Promise in Mississippi

Paralegal Education in Mississippi

Flag of Mississippi

Flag of Mississippi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one time the position of paralegal was considered a steppingstone to becoming an attorney: learning the ropes of the courtroom by observing a professional, working for a lawyer. In these days, paralegals or legal assistants are their own legal category, career positions that some lawyers even move into, away from the stress of the courtroom and still maintain vital, legal function and the sense of accomplishment. They perform a necessary and important role in and of themselves, sometimes putting in long hours to ensure an attorney is ready to go to court, researching and interviewing witnesses. Many consider it a fulfilling career. Certainly, it’s a growing one according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics who predicts the field will add over 250,000 new jobs by the year 2018.

Wages vary from location and even specialization. There is more than one area into which a paralegal can enter, from immigration paralegal, to nurse paralegal, to bankruptcy paralegal. A nonmetropolitan area will usually pay less than a metropolitan area too, but the career is known to pay well, with competitive benefits and salaries. While Mississippi does not require any specific amount of education in criminal law or paralegal studies, employers seek out those with immediate ability and competency. Generally speaking, the ones who are paid best are those who have engaged in a formal program geared toward their field; those with schooling also tend to enjoy better advancement opportunities and employment possibilities. It is still possible to get a paralegal position, especially in a smaller firm, that will teach as you go.

Salaries

In USD as of Feb 21, 2013 (source: indeed.com) 35k 70k 105k
Paralegal in Mississippi $55,000
 

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Education and Certificates

Mississippi State Capitol

Mississippi State Capitol (Photo credit: Ken Lund)

A certificated paralegal is one who successfully completed a degree of some nature or a Post-Baccalaureate certification. Degrees can be Associate degrees (Associate of Art or AA, Associate of Science or AS), which tend to be two-year degrees, or a Bachelor degree, either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Both would be four-year degrees completed at a University or private school. Also available are Master’s degrees and Juris Doctorates in criminal law or paralegal studies. A Post-Baccalaureate Certificate can be awarded to those who have already gained a BA or BS in any discipline, thereby satisfying all liberal study requirements, and have completed a Post-BA program course designed for their needs. This is usually the shortest option, taking a year to complete.

However, to become a Certified Paralegal the candidate has to sit for and pass a specialized test designed and sponsored by one of the three national Paralegal/Paraprofessional associations. There are four possible exams:

The exams put forth by these associations are recognized as showcasing the skills and competency of the paralegal. They look excellent on resumes and mean a great deal in professional circles. The requirements for each exam varies, so please study the chart.

While a school may be accredited and you definitely want that over non-accredited, it behooves the paralegal to find and attend a school that is ABA approved. The American Bar Association is highly regarded in the field and when it puts its stamp of approval on a school, it means the institution has reached or exceeded their very demanding expectations for excellence. There are two ABA approved schools in Mississippi:

Mississippi University for Women in Columbus is co-ed these days, public, and offers a BA or BS in Paralegal Studies. Depending on the degree (the BS has more credits), it can take anywhere from 3.5-4 years to graduate or 124 classroom hours. Internships are considered mandatory for completion.

University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg extends a four-year degree in Paralegal Studies. It takes 124 class hours to graduate, or about 4 years. The school boasts an active paralegal society that offers guest speakers, networking opportunities, and professional events. Internships are elective and encouraged, but not mandatory.

Paralegal Employment

While about 70% of all paralegals are employed by law firms, those are hardly the only employers. Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and even corporations are all hiring for knowledgeable, dedicated legal assistants. Law firms are by the far most visible and obvious market, though. Below are some of the largest in the state known to hire paralegals.

Wise Carter Child & Caraway, P.A.
401 East Capitol Street
Heritage Building, Suite 600
Jackson, MS 39201
Tel: 601.968.5500
Fax: 601.968.5593

Gulf Coast office location:
1105 30th Avenue
Suite 300
Gulfport, Mississippi 39501
Tel: 228.867.7141
Fax: 228.867.7142

Hattiesburg office location:
601 Adeline Street
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Tel: 601.582.5551
Fax: 601.582.5556

Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC
The Pinnacle Building,
Suite 100
190 East Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39201
Tel: 601-948-3101
Fax: 601-960-6902

Hand Arendall
1300 Highway 51
Suites A & B
Madison, Mississippi 39110
Tel: 601-605-6551
Fax: 601-853-9693

Adams and Reese
300 Renaissance
1018 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 800
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Tel: 601.353.3234
Fax: 601.355.9708

McGlinchey Stafford
Suite 1100, City Centre South
200 South Lamar Street
Jackson , MS 39201
Tel: 601-960-8400
Fax: 601-960-8406

Mitchell McNutt & Sams
105 S. Front Street
P.O. Box 7120 (38802-7120)
Tupelo, MS 38804
Tel: 662-842-3871
Fax: 662-842-8450

508 Waldron Street
P.O. Box 1200 (38835-1200)
Corinth, MS 38834
Tel: 662-286-9931
Fax: 662-286-8984

215 Fifth Street North
P.O. Box 1366 (39703-1366)
Columbus, MS 39701
Tel: 662-328-2316
Fax: 662-328-8035

1216 Van Buren
Post Office Box 947
Oxford, MS 38655
Tel: 662-234-4845
Fax: 662-234-9071

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
One Jackson Place
188 E. Capitol Street
Suite 400
Jackson, MS 39201
Tel: 601.948.8000
Fax: 601.948.3000

Paralegal Schools in Mississippi

Campus: Online

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

Programs:

  • Criminal Justice (BS) (Online)

Campus: Online

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*

Programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology 
  • Associate of Applied Science In Public Safety and Security 
  • BS in Corrections
  • Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Services
  • AAS in Criminal Justice

Campus: Online

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Juvenile Justice
  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Public Administration
  • Master of Science: Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science: Criminal Justice: Public Administration

Campus: Online

Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions. Degrees are offered with a curriculum that is in pace with technology and workforce demand trends in business, criminal justice, health care, information technology and more. Our “one-class-at-a-time” approach allows busy students to focus on their education and balance the demands of work and family.

 

Why Keiser University Online?

   

Online Convenience, Personalized Attention

Programs:

  • Criminal Justice, MA (Online)

Campus: Online

Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Laws - American Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Criminal Justice