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Paralegal Programs in California

March 18, 2011

Paralegals, also known as legal assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently over 256,000 paralegals and legal secretaries in California, and this is expected to grow to nearly 302,900 in 2020.

You may pursue a paralegal degree through a community college paralegal program like an associate degree. Another common route of qualification, mainly for those who already have a college degree, may be a certificate in paralegal studies. A small number of schools in California may also offer a bachelor’s and master’s degree in paralegal studies. Finally, some employers may provide on-the-job training.

Schools that may interest you are Platt College in Los Angeles and Ontario, and Fremont College in Cerritos.

California Licensing Requirements

There may be no licensing requirement or certification requirement in California.

You may consider pursuing one of two voluntary certifications:

  • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)
  • Registered Paralegal (RP)

These are usually not required, but may give you a competitive advantage in the paralegal employment market.

Pursuing a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)

The CLA qualification may be the preferred choice for California resident paralegals.

It may be necessary to renew the CLA certification every 5 years. In order to keep your certification current you may need to have proof of having completed 50 hours of approved continuing legal education credits in a five-year period.

Five specialty areas are usually available:

  • Business and Organizations
  • Civil Litigation
  • Family Law
  • Estates and Trusts
  • Real Estate

Paralegal Schools:

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Platt College , Riverside
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
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  • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
  • Ranked #35 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost.
  • Grants students in its Global Online program the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
  • Has an student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1.
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  • Accredited
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  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses help make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 24 months and a master’s degree in 12-18 months.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits