Paralegal Schools in California
The numerous paralegal schools in California offer a wide variety of degree and certificate programs in paralegal and legal assistant studies, many of which provide opportunities for students to select a specialty within their field of interest. This overview of paralegal schools in California provides you with factual information about your options for pursuing a paralegal education in the state. You can also consider online schools like Kaplan University, which offers paralegal programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels as well as a Legal Secretary Certificate.
- There are 94 colleges and universities that offer a paralegal/legal assistant degree program in California.
- 41 schools offer an undergraduate certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- 76 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- Seven schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- 29 ABA approved paralegal degree programs in California.
- Highest graduation rate: Bristol University 89%.1
- Highest transfer-out rate: West Los Angeles College 20%.1
- Highest net price per year: Saint Mary’s College of California $33,546.1
- Lowest net price per year: College of the Sequoias $2,813.1
- Highest student population: City College of San Francisco 34,558.1
- Lowest student population: Bristol University 16.1
- Annual tuition range for paralegal programs at community colleges and career schools in California: $1,068-$18,0482
- 10 Schools in US News Best Law Schools Rankings of 2013 (top 100): Stanford University #2, University of California-Berkeley #9, University of California-Los Angeles #17, University of Southern California #18, University of California-Davis #38, University of California-Hastings #48, Pepperdine University #61, Loyola Marymount University #68, University of San Diego #68, Santa Clara University #96
Read on to find more in-depth information about popular paralegal schools in California and career projections for paralegals.
Paralegal Degree Programs in California
Cañada College awards an Associate in Science–Paralegal degree to students who complete its 60 credit hour paralegal degree program. This program was developed through collaboration with the San Mateo County Bar Association and the San Mateo County Legal Secretaries Association, and has an advisory committee of currently practicing professionals, academics, and other stakeholders for continual program advancement. Paralegals graduate with the knowledge required to prepare legal documents, interview clients, and perform other legal assisting tasks for civil and criminal matters. Courses in the curriculum include Advanced Legal Research & Writing, Paralegalism/Legal Ethics, Electronic Litigation, and Civil Litigation and Trial Preparation. Students may also take courses in specialized areas of the law such as contracts, immigration, and family law. Cañada College provides additional learning opportunities of interest to future paralegals, including a one-day notary public workshop through the Community Education Program.
California State University, Chico
The paralegal certificate offered by CSU Chico is awarded upon completion of an academically rigorous 27 credit hour program. The program includes two required internships, in Legal Studies and Public Law. To be granted the paralegal certificate, students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average for all required courses in the program and apply for certificate conferral during the final semester of the program. The program is administered through the Department of Political Science, whose faculty have been recognized for their high academic and professional productivity. Students enrolled in legal studies programs through the Department of Political Science at CSU Chico gain a deep understanding of the judicial system, process, and constitutional law while building their skills in written and oral communication and research. The legal studies programs also emphasize professionalism, ethics, citizenship, and leadership.
UC Davis Extension
The acclaimed Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies at UC Davis – Extension incorporates a high degree of instructional expertise with a dynamic, comprehensive curriculum in paralegal studies and equips students with the knowledge and experience to navigate and succeed in a variety of legal fields. The program focuses on developing critical legal skills such as drafting contracts, analyzing legal documents, client management, and personal injury, product liability, and malpractice law assessment. Program highlights include full support in Spanish, instructors who are licensed attorneys, individual access to LexisNexis and Westlaw online legal research resources, and exposure to advanced topics of tort and contract law. High school diploma or advanced degree required for admission.
SF State University – College of Extended Learning, San Francisco
As the only ABA-Approved Paralegal Education Program in San Francisco, the San Francisco State – College of Extended Learning Paralegal Studies program offers a thorough academic curriculum with a strong foundation in internship experience. Located in Downtown San Francisco, the SF State Program complements coursework by placing students in a variety of internships beginning in the second semester of instruction. Internship hosts include the City Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s offices, the Social Security Administration, California Coastal Commission, California Appellate Project, as well as 40+ private law firms throughout the state. This direct exposure to the paralegal field develops students’ ability to competently apply classroom instruction to real-world settings and greatly increases the marketability of graduates.
The Fremont College of Legal Studies offers an ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Degree Program designed to integrate a comprehensive overview of the background and theory of the modern legal system with hands-on legal research and application. The Fremont College Paralegal Studies Degree Program uniquely provides students the opportunity to conduct legal research, preform real-world problem solving, and participate as a member of a legal team concurrently with academic coursework. Flexible course options are designed to accommodate a variety of schedules at two locations: ABA Paralegal Program Cerritos and ACA Paralegal Program Los Angeles. Additionally, an accelerated degree program provides students the option of completing coursework in as little as 15 months.
The Paralegal Department at Cerritos College offers an American Bar Association-approved program of study leading to the award of an Associate of Arts Degree in Paralegal. The program requires 60 credit hours to complete, which includes 22 credit hours of core requirements and 11 credit hours of electives. Elective courses offered include Advanced Legal Technology, Advanced Legal Research, Fundamentals of Alternative Dispute Resolutions, and Intellectual Property. The Paralegal Department also maintains a Certificate of Achievement program that is approved by the American Bar Association. The certificate program takes 28 credit hours to complete and is open to students who already possess an associate’s degree (or higher degree) in another subject. Both programs emphasize substantive law as well as legal skills through hands-on experience. Students may pursue their studies on a full- or part-time basis, and may complete all required courses through evening classes.
American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs in California
American River College (Sacramento, CA)
California State University East Bay (Hayward, CA)
California State University, Los Angeles
Cerritos Community College (Norwalk)
Coastline Community College (Fountain Valley)
College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita)
Cuyamaca College (El Cajon)
DeAnza College (Cupertino)
El Camino College (Torrance)
Fremont College (Cerritos)
Fullerton College (Fullerton)
John F. Kennedy University (Pleasant Hill)
Los Angeles City College (Los Angeles)
Miramar College (San Diego)
Mount San Antonio College (Walnut)
MTI College (Sacramento)
National University (Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks)
Pasadena City College (Pasadena)
San Francisco State University – College of Extended Learning (San Francisco)
Santa Ana College (Santa Ana)
University of California (Irvine)
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside University of California, (San Diego)
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of La Verne (La Verne)
University of San Diego (San Diego)
West Los Angeles College (Culver City)
West Valley College (Saratoga)
De Anza College: “The paralegal certificate program at De Anza College was overall a good experience. The program is approved by the American Bar Association, and can be completed in one year. The professors were knowledgeable and the coursework was challenging. I learned how to conduct legal research using code books, paid Internet services, and free services. I honed my writing skills and learned to read cases and compare their facts and findings to other cases. The professors wee knowledgeable and wanted the students to retain the material. They also were helpful in relating practical workplace knowledge. In addition, guest speakers who work in the industry also gave guest lectures.” -Student at De Anza College
Humphreys College: “At Humphreys College, I took a variety of classes to get my paralegal certificate. I would say that my favorite was Legal Research and Writing because I absolutely loved my professor. She always made sure to explain everything precisely and thoroughly. Although, just like any other college, I had some professors who were absolutely horrendous. For example, my Intro to Law/Civil Procedure class had a professor that spoke so softly the entire class had to huddle in the first two rows to hear him. All in all, the college life at Humphreys is pretty boring. You’ll have classes you love, some you like, and those you dread going to.” – Student at Humphreys College
National Paralegal College: “In February of 2010, I ended up pregnant with my son and going back to campus full-time while I was pregnant or even after he was born, would not be an option for me. I had worked for a law firm for a couple years and after doing my research, I found National Paralegal College to be a great option for me. Number one, it’s an online school, so that was a massive plus right from the beginning. Number two, they are nationally accredited and that was also a huge factor in my decision. This was my first time going to school online and I didn’t know what to expect. They had everything that I was looking for. Live interactive classrooms, student mentors, great teachers and I could work on my work around my life! Hugely important with a new baby! It’s been a great experience for me. Everything from financial aid to extra help in courses has been easy to obtain. If you had unanswered questions about an assignment or you needed to be pointed towards a particular bit of case law, teacher (most actually lawyers) and student mentors were there to point you in the right direction. You can contact them by phone, through email or through the interactive message boards. Some of my favorite courses were Criminal Law, Torts and Personal Injury and Advanced Legal Analysis and Writing. They were not easy courses either, they were challenging and kept me busy for countless hours. Overall it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience and they really did set up their site beautifully. It’s been so easy to navigate and learn how to use. I am on my last class as we speak, Immigration Law, and will have my Associates in Paralegal Studies very soon. I have a friend who studied at another online college and she couldn’t believe the difference in what was offered. Since I’ve been a student they have expanded as well, they now offer both bachelor’s and master’s all online. If you are interested in the paralegal field and would rather an online college experience, National Paralegal College is a great place to get your paralegal degree.” – Student at National Paralegal College
Santa Ana College: “The Santa Ana College paralegal program was a wonderful experience for me. I felt that I learned a lot and that the teachers were very knowledgeable about the subjects that they taught. The professors were also all members of the California Bar and had experience in practicing law outside of the school. There were a lot of classes to choose from depending on the specifics and direction you were headed after the program ended. There was also an internship class which allowed the students to get real world experience while still being in school. They offered hybrid classes (online and in-class settings), traditional classes, and classes that were strictly online only. This variety allows students the independence to select which classes that they wanted to complete and how those classes would be completed.” – Student at Santa Ana College
1. National Center for Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche: http://colleges.niche.com/search/t-career/sm1-paralegal/st-ca/