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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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