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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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  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
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  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Students who qualify may apply for the Opportunity Scholarship, which can help lower education costs.
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  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
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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 #8 in the 2013 Best Online Undergrad Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 70% graduation rate– significantly higher than the national average of 59%. 
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  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional accrediting associations that accredit public and private colleges and universities in the United States.  
  • Has a network of 26 campuses.

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Platt College , Riverside
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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.
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