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.

Quick Facts

  • There are 82 colleges and universities that offer a paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in California.1
  • 52 schools offer an undergraduate certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 51 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 12 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 17 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 10 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • 2 schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs in 2018.3
  • 3 schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018.4
  • 11 schools ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
  • 31 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in California.

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo (#27 in-state, #13 out-of-state)
  • California State University-Long Beach (#70 in-state, #47 out-of-state)
  • San Diego State University (#87 in-state, #56 out-of-state)
  • University of California-Berkeley (#5 in-state, #5 out-of-state)
  • University of California-Davis (#47 in-state, #84 out-of-state)
  • University of California-Irvine (#26 in-state, #42 out-of-state)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (#6 in-state, #12 out-of-state)
  • University of California-San Diego (#20 in-state, #37 out-of-state)
  • University of California-Santa Barbara (#22 in-state, #33 out-of-state)
  • University of California-Santa Cruz (#66 in-state, #97 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018

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

College Factual’s Best Degrees in Legal Professions 2018

  • University of California-Berkeley (#2)
  • University of California-Santa Cruz (#7)
  • University of La Verne (#17)

US News Best Law Schools 2019

  • Stanford University (#2)
  • University of California-Berkeley (#9 tie)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (#16)
  • University of Southern California (#19)
  • University of California-Irvine (#21)
  • University of California-Davis (#37 tie)
  • University of California-San Francisco (#58)
  • Loyola Marymount University (#65 tie)
  • University of San Diego (#95 tie)
  • Santa Clara University (#113 tie)
  • Chapman University (#139 tie)

Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA

  • American River College
  • California State University-East Bay
  • California State University-Los Angeles
  • Cerritos College
  • City College of San Francisco
  • Coastline Community College
  • College of the Canyons
  • Cuyamaca College
  • De Anza College
  • El Camino College
  • Fremont College
  • Fullerton College
  • John F Kennedy University
  • Los Angeles City College
  • Miramar College
  • Mount San Antonio College
  • MTI College
  • National University
  • Pasadena City College
  • San Francisco State University-College of Extended Learning
  • Santa Ana College
  • Skyline College
  • 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
  • University of San Diego
  • West Los Angeles College
  • West Valley College
    • Paralegal Degree Programs in California

      Cañada College

      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.

      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.

      University of California-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. A high school diploma or advanced degree is required for admission.

      San Francisco State University-College of Extended Learning, San Francisco

      The ABA-approved paralegal education program offered through the San Francisco State College of Extended Learning offers a thorough academic curriculum with a strong foundation 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.

      Fremont College

      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 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.

      Cerritos College

      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.

      Online Paralegal Programs

      Brandman University

      Brandman University offers a 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 and 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).

      Humphreys University

      Through Humphreys University, students can earn an Associate of Arts (AA) in Legal Studies, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies, or a Certificate of Completion in Paralegal Studies. 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.

      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

      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 a life of 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

      De Anza College
      21250 Stevens Creek Blvd
      Cupertino, CA 95014
      (408) 864-8327

      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

      Humphreys College
      6650 Inglewood Ave
      Stockton, CA 95207
      (209) 478-0800

      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

      Santa Ana College
      1530 W 17th St
      Santa Ana, CA 92706
      (714) 564-6005

      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

      Santa Rosa Junior College
      1501 Mendocino Ave
      Santa Rosa, CA 95401
      (707) 527-4011

      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

      University of California, Los Angeles
      Los Angeles, CA 90095
      (310) 825-4321

      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

      1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
      2. Kiplinger’s Best College Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
      3. Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs: https://www.paralegal411.org/degrees/bachelors/online/
      4. College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/legal-studies-and-professions/rankings/top-ranked//
      5. US News Best Law Schools 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
      6. American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/