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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 programs that offer paralegal programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. Be sure to visit our guide to paralegal careers in California to find out more about opportunities with a degree or certificate in legal studies.

Quick Facts

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with paralegal/legal assistant degree programs.

Table of Contents
Comparison of Paralegal Programs
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs in California
Select Schools in California with Paralegal Degrees
Student Reviews

Comparison of Paralegal Programs

The table below will help you compare not-for-profit paralegal and legal studies programs in California based on various factors. The table includes the paralegal programs offered, the graduation rate for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers, and the average net price of tuition for in-state students after financial aid awards. We have also included information on approval by the American Bar Association (ABA). While ABA approval is not required in order to work as a paralegal, it is a mark of program quality that is preferred by many employers.

SchoolABA Approved?Paralegal Degree(s)Acceptance Rate6Grad Rate1Online Options?Median Debt7Net Price1
Allan Hancock CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%35%$6,000$6,225
American River CollegeYesCertificate-Law Office Clerical Assistant;
Certificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%25%$6,083$7,089
Brandman UniversityCertificate-Paralegal;
BA-Legal Studies: Business Law;
BA-Legal Studies: Paralegal Profession;
Minor-Paralegal
79%60%YesN.Av.$23,781
Butte CollegeCertificate-Legal Office Administration;
AS-Legal Office Administration
100%33%$6,000$7,613
California State University-ChicoCertificate-Paralegal;
BA-Political Science: Legal Studies
65%67%$14,250$14,843
California State University-East BayYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies72%50%Yes$12,372$10,902
California State University-Los AngelesYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies42%52%$11,000$3,255
Cañada CollegeCertificate-Litigation;
Certificate-Paralegal;
AS-Paralegal
100%32%Yes$6,500$4,870
Cerritos CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal;
AA-Paralegal
100%27%$5,500$3,128
Cerro Coso Community CollegeAS-Paralegal Studies100%25%Yes$2,625$10,070
Chaffey CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%26%$3,005$11,937
City College of San FranciscoYesCertificate-Paralegal/Legal Studies;
AS-Paralegal/Legal Studies
100%35%$5,250$5,571
Claremont McKenna CollegeBA-Legal Studies9%91%$13,000$24,456
Coastline Community CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%23%$6,000$8,882
College of the CanyonsYesAA-Paralegal Studies100%38%Yes$5,268$6,538
College of the SequoiasAS-Paralegal100%29%$3,500$2,264
Cuesta CollegeCertificate-Paralegal;
AA-Paralegal
100%38%$5,500$10,860
Cuyamaca CollegeYesAS-Paralegal Studies100%31%$3,500$4,368
De Anza CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%65%$5,500$6,238
East Los Angeles CollegeCertificate-Legal Office Assistant;
Certificate-Executive Legal Assistant;
Certificate-Legal Support Professional
100%38%$4,787$11,015
El Camino Community College DistrictYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%35%$3,500$11,719
Evergreen Valley CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%28%$5,500$14,076
Fremont CollegeYesAA-Paralegal Studies100%52%Yes$20,000$22,618
Fresno City CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%21%$2,625$4,320
Fullerton CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%30%$4,750$8,198
Glendale Community CollegeCertificate-Paralegal100%36%$4,961$4,210
Humphreys UniversityAA-Legal Studies;
BA-Legal Studies
100%44%$20,881$12,650
Imperial Valley CollegeCertificate-Legal Assistant;
AA-Legal Assistant
100%35%N.Av.$1,814
Irvine Valley CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%46%$5,500$4,352
John F. Kennedy UniversityCertificate-Paralegal;
BA-Legal Studies
N.Av.N.Av.YesN.Av.N.Av.
Los Angeles City CollegeYesAA-Paralegal Studies100%22%$9,000$8,875
Los Angeles Mission CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%21%$9,000$11,727
Los Angeles Pierce CollegeCertificate-Legal Office Procedures;
AA-Legal Office Procedures
100%32%$9,312$11,585
Los Angeles Southwest CollegeCertificate-Legal Office Assistant;
AA-Law: Paralegal
100%15%$5,500$8,752
Los Angeles Trade Technical CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%25%$5,875$8,670
Loyola Marymount UniversityCertificate-Paralegal;
MS-Legal Studies
47%80%Yes$19,491$47,292
Merritt CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%22%$9,000$13,146
Mount San Antonio CollegeYesCertificate-eDiscovery and Litigation Support;
AS-Paralegal/Legal Assistant
100%36%$3,600$4,387
Mount San Jacinto Community College DistrictAA-Legal Assistant100%26%$4,270$7,736
National UniversityYesCertificate-Paralegal Specialist;
Certificate-Paralegal Specialist: Criminal Law;
AS-Paralegal Studies;
BS-Paralegal Studies
100%29%Yes$15,625$29,382
Oxnard CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%34%YesN.Av.$2,628
Pasadena City CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies
100%37%$4,577$5,633
Riverside City CollegeAS-Paralegal Studies100%28%$4,500$6,782
San Diego Miramar CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal;
AS-Paralegal
100%40%$3,500$6,887
San Francisco State UniversityYesCertificate-Paralegal72%57%$13,000$15,166
San Joaquin Delta CollegeCertificate-Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies;
AS-Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies
100%30%Yes$4,500$12,692
Santa Ana CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal;
AA-Paralegal
100%28%$4,500$6,757
The Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law at VenturaMaster of Legal StudiesN.Av.N.Av.N.Av.N.Av.
Santa Monica CollegeCertificate-Legal Administrative Assistant;
AS-Legal Administrative Assistant
100%29%$4,500$6,006
Santa Rosa Junior CollegeAA-Business Administration: Paralegal Studies100%37%$4,600$8,993
Scripps CollegeBA-Legal Studies;
Minor-Legal Studies
24%90%$12,500$39,702
Skyline CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal/Legal Assistant;
AA-Paralegal/Legal Assistant
100%36%$5,250$4,732
Southwestern CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
Certificate-Paralegal Studies: Bilingual;
AS-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies-Bilingual
100%27%$3,500$6,329
University of California-BerkeleyCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
BA-Legal Studies
15%93%Yes$12,643$18,522
University of California-DavisCertificate-Paralegal Studies41%87%Yes$15,886$12,334
University of California-IrvineYesCertificate-Paralegal29%84%Yes$15,000$15,268
University of California-Los AngelesYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
Master of Legal Studies
14%92%$14,544$15,718
University of California-RiversideYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies51%76%$16,530$13,045
University of California-San DiegoYesCertificate-E-Discovery and Litigation Technology;
Certificate-Paralegal
30%87%Yes$16,400$14,864
University of California-Santa BarbaraYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies32%83%Yes$15,000$16,767
University of California-Santa CruzBA-Legal Studies;
Minor-Legal Studies
47%75%$17,200$17,889
University of La VerneYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
BA-Legal Studies
51%73%$21,580$27,933
University of San DiegoYesCertificate-Paralegal;
MS-Legal Studies
53%81%$21,250$35,936
Victor Valley CollegeCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
Advanced Certificate-Paralegal Studies
100%21%$5,000$9,863
West Los Angeles CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%17%$6,500$9,408
West Valley CollegeYesCertificate-Paralegal;
AS-Paralegal
100%35%$4,135$7,541
Yuba CollegeAS-Legal Office Skills100%27%$3,500$5,825

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018

  • Brandman University (#23)
  • Humphreys University (#25)

US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022

  • University of California-Berkeley (#9)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (#14)
  • University of California-Davis (#38 tie)
  • University of California-Irvine (#35 tie)
  • Loyola Marymount University (#72 tie)
  • University of San Diego (#86)

US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022

  • University of California-Irvine (#9 tie)
  • Loyola Marymount University (#46 tie)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (#100 tie)
  • University of California-Berkeley (#121 tie)
  • University of California-Davis (#132 tie)
  • University of San Diego (#144 tie)

Select Schools in California with Paralegal Degrees

Traditional Programs

California State University-Chico

The Paralegal Certificate offered by California State University-Chico (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 minimum 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. CSU Chico also offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science with a Legal Studies option.

Cerritos College

The Paralegal Department at Cerritos College offers an ABA-approved Associate of Arts (AA) 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 in Paralegal that is approved by the ABA. The Certificate program takes 28 credit hours to complete and is open to students who already possess an associate’s 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.

Fremont College

The Fremont College College of Paralegal Studies offers an ABA-approved Associate of Arts (AA) in Paralegal Studies designed to integrate the background and theory of the modern legal system with hands-on legal research and application. The Paralegal Studies program provides students the opportunity to conduct legal research, perform 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 the Cerritos campus. Additionally, an accelerated degree program provides students the option of completing coursework in as little as 15 months. Courses offered include Advanced Legal Research and Writing; Real Property Law; Legal Practice Technology; and Civil Procedure. Upon graduation, potential careers include corporate paralegal, litigation paralegal, immigration paralegal, and law clerk.

I treated the classroom as a job. I arrived to class on time, professionally dressed, prepared, and willing to contribute. Also, I began mastering my writing skills by finishing every project as if I was actually working for an attorney. By treating my education like a job, by the time I started working as a paralegal, I was practiced and prepared.” –Jennifer MacDonnell, California Paralegal and contributor to the Paralegal Society blog.

Hybrid and Online Programs

Brandman University

Brandman University offers an online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies with a concentration in the Paralegal Profession. This 120-credit undergraduate degree can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format with on-campus classes. Students learn a mix of general critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as legal-specific research methods and documentation. The curriculum includes general education requirements for the bachelor’s degree, core requirements in Legal Studies, and courses for the Paralegal Profession concentration. General law courses include Foundations of Law and Ethics in a Legal Environment. The paralegal concentration requires classes like Contemporary Legal Issues, Law Practice Management, and Intellectual Property. Coursework emphasizes how to apply classroom knowledge in a legal context. The curriculum covers the subjects necessary to sit for the Paralegal Core Competencies Exam from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and the Certified Paralegal Exam from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Cañada College

Cañada College awards an Associate in Science (AS) in Paralegal degree to students who complete its 60-credit hour online paralegal 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.

Humphreys University

Through Humphreys University, students can earn an Associate of Arts (AA) in Legal Studies, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies, and a Master of Legal Studies (MLS). All three programs can be completed entirely online or students can choose on-campus day or evening classes. The curriculum starts with core classes in liberal arts and business. Legal studies students then concentrate on courses that teach legal terminology as well as substantive and procedural law. Core courses include Contracts, Criminal Law, Civil Litigation, and Legal Terminology and Legal Research. Students are prepared with both the technological and legal skills needed in today’s law industry. Humphreys University also offers career support and networking opportunities for students, helping facilitate career opportunities for its graduates. Students also have the option of continuing on to the Drivon School of Law at Humphreys, allowing them to possibly transfer credits and finish their law school education a year early.

San Francisco State University

The online ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Certificate offered through San Francisco State University (SF State) offers a thorough academic curriculum with a strong foundation that culminates in an 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, the California Coastal Commission, the California Appellate Project, and over 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.

University of California-Davis

The fully online Paralegal Studies Certificate at the University of California-Davis (UC Davis) 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. A high school diploma or advanced degree is required for admission.

Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Cerritos College
11110 Alondra Blvd
Norwalk, CA 90650
(562) 860-2451
https://www.cerritos.edu

Student Review: “The Cerritos College Paralegal program is one of a kind in southern California as it is one of the one ABA backed program in Southern California. This helps with job placement once the program is completed. Lawyers find that having ABA Certification helpful because that course work is tough. The professors at Cerritos College are either judges or lawyers and are fairly knowledgeable in what they teach and how they teach it. The course work is tough but is rewarding as it prepares you for the life of a paralegal. They offer a variety of times for classes including online and night classes which was helpful for me because I also work full time at another job. All in all, I have no complaints about this program it is an all-around great program.” -Student at Cerritos College
stars-5

De Anza College
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 864-8327
https://www.deanza.edu/

Student Review: “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 were 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
stars-4

Humphreys College
6650 Inglewood Ave
Stockton, CA 95207
(209) 478-0800
https://humphreys.edu/

Student Review: “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
stars-2

Santa Ana College
1530 W 17th St
Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 564-6005
https://www.sac.edu/Pages/default.aspx

Student Review: “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
stars-5

Santa Rosa Junior College
1501 Mendocino Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 527-4011
https://www.santarosa.edu/

Student Review: “The SRJC Paralegal program continues the SRJC legacy of quality, affordable, community education. The program director also taught many of the classes. She was firm in her expectations but very knowledgeable. The program offered many classes beyond the general requirements so that students could specialize their studies in the field based on their interests. The program also worked in conjunction with the Sonoma County Law Library to allow students access and classes within the library itself. This was so advantageous for my studies. This program also has a mandatory internship, connecting students with law offices in the area. At the time of graduation, every single graduating student had a job working as a paralegal thanks to the internships and the reputation of the SRJC programs. However, if considering practicing outside of Sonoma County, it should be noted that the SRJC Paralegal program is not ABA approved.” -Student at Santa Rosa Junior College
stars-4

University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 825-4321
https://www.ucla.edu/

Student Review: “The UCLA Extension’s Paralegal Training Program (PTP) was an all-encompassing and very thorough education, with real-life examples often included in the classroom as part of the material. There were also many ways to get involved outside the classroom, as the Program offered lots of help with internships and volunteer opportunities, such as with The Lanier Law Firm in Los Angeles. The professors were all very knowledgeable in their fields, as well as friendly to approach. Due to the wide variety of firms and fields that alumni were involved in, it was much easier for me to make connections in the field, as well as continue with my education. However, despite all the positives, one of the drawbacks was the expensive cost of living and tuition with the program.” -Student at UCLA Los Angeles
stars-5

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs: https://www.paralegal411.org/degrees/bachelors/online/
3. US News & World Report Best Law Schools 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
4. US News & World Report Best Legal Writing Programs 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/legal-writing-rankings
5. American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/
6. Niche: https://www.niche.com/
7. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Ranking ROI of 4,500 US Colleges and Universities: https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/CollegeROI/