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California Paralegal Schools

California has had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country for several years, ranking 47th of 51 in February 2015, with a rate of 6.7% of unemployed residents.1 So why do California paralegal schools make sense? While its unemployment rate is high, California is still the largest state economy in the US, and that economy is growing along with the rest of the country. The Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks gross domestic product changes overall and in the Professional and Business Services, which includes Legal Services. In this area, California grew 2.5% between 2012 and 2013.2 While still below the overall US growth of 3.5% for the same period, the fact that this largest state accounts for 14.5% of all such US activity means there are plenty of paralegal opportunities for qualified candidates.2 Paired with good salary expectations in the state, earning a paralegal degree at California paralegal schools could make sense to those aspiring to enter a legal career.

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How to Become a Paralegal in California

There are a number of different programs of varying lengths at California paralegal schools. Unlike some other states, California has specific requirements for paralegals. To become a paralegal in California, you must possess at least one of the following:

  • A paralegal certificate from a school approved by the ABA
  • The completion of a minimum of 24 semester credits in paralegal studies from a school accredited by the state
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in any subject AND a minimum of one year of experience working under an attorney with a minimum of three years of experience in California law
Paralegal Quote: “We work in stealth, in often unrecognized contributions that may appear small when taken individually, but which have enormous ripple effect in the aggregate. I gain intrinsic satisfaction from the knowledge that my work produces this benefit.” -Barbara Liss, President of the Santa Barbara Paralegal Association

California Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between 2012 and 2022, paralegal and legal assistant jobs are expected to grow about 17 percent, which is higher than average.3 There are also a number of opportunities in California with high wages, with an average annual salary of $60,940 reported in 2014.4 Along with law firms, a number of tech companies in Silicon Valley and large city governments throughout the state offer possibilities for employment in the private and public sector.

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Featured Paralegal Schools in California

There are over two dozen California paralegal schools that are approved by American Bar Association (ABA). They include:

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Profiles of Well-Known Schools in California

San Francisco State University: Within San Francisco State University’s College of Extended Learning is the city’s only ABA-approved Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Students can complete the program in as little as 18 months, or take as long as four years, which is comprised of 30 credit hours. The first seven courses are core paralegal subjects while the upper level electives are rotated between different specialization areas. Students can specialize in either Corporate and Business Practice, Advanced Litigation, and Estate Planning and Elder Law. Over a dozen star paralegal faculty teach at SFSU and are all current/ former legal professionals.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in California

With locations across California, Best Best & Krieger LLP provides full service consulting and litigation for its clients in a range of industries. The firm is continually growing, and its staff enjoys a congenial working atmosphere and high job satisfaction. Loeb & Loeb LLP is regularly recognized as one of the top entertainment and media law firms in California, and its attorneys frequently receive recognition from around the US for their accomplishments. Established in 1909, Loeb & Loeb also works in other practice areas. Staff at Loeb & Loeb are organized in teams to better service its variety of clients, and the company considers it a priority to have senior attorneys involved in all work provided to clients. Crowell & Moring LLP has been ranked as one of the top 50 law firms in the US by “American Lawyer.”5 Crowell & Moring is a global company with offices across the US, including offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orange County. It hires paralegal graduates to staff multiple departments in its effort to provide top quality service to clients.

Online and California Paralegal Schools

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Featured Paralegal School in CA

Evergreen Valley College (San Jose, CA) >>Request Information!
http://www.evc.edu
(408) 223-6430

Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Arts | Paralegal Studies
Associate in Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate of Achievement | Paralegal Studies


Paralegal Schools in California

California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Minor | Legal Studies

Canada College (Redwood City, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Cerro Coso Community College (Ridgecrest, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Chaffey College (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

City College of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Arts | Paralegal/Legal Studies
Certificate of Achievement | Paralegal/Legal Studies

Coastline Community College (Fountain Valley, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Arts | Paralegal

College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies

College of the Sequoias (Visalia, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Law Office Clerk/Receptionist
Certificate | Paralegal

Cuesta College (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Cuyamaca College (El Cajon, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Science | Paralegal Studies

De Anza College (Cupertino, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Certificate of Achievement | Paralegal Studies

El Camino Community College (Torrance, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Arts | Paralegal Studies
Certificate of Achievement | Paralegal Studies

Empire College (Santa Rosa, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Office Administration
Certificate | Legal Secretary

Everest College (Los Angeles, CA; Ontario, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Diploma | Paralegal

Fremont College (Cerritos, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies

Fullerton College (Fullerton, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Heald College (Concord, CA; Fresno, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal

Humphreys College (Stockton, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate in Arts | Court Reporting
Associate in Science | Court Reporting
Associate of Arts | Court Reporting
Associate of Arts | Legal Office Administration
Associate of Science | Court Reporting
Associate of Science | Legal Office Administration
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Court Reporting
Bachelor of Science | Court Reporting (online program)
Bachelor of Science | Court Reporting | CSR (Online) (online program)
Certificate of Completion | Court Reporting
Certificate of Completion | Legal Office Administration
Certificate of Completion | Paralegal Studies

ICDC College (Los Angeles, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal
Associate Degree | Paralegal (online program)
Diploma | Paralegal

Intercoast Colleges (West Covina, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Legal Office Assistant
Certificate | Paralegal Specialist
Certificate of Completion | Legal Office Assistant

ITT Technical Institute (Anaheim, CA; Clovis, CA; Concord, CA; Lathrop, CA; Oxnard, CA; Rancho Cordova, CA; San Bernardino, CA; San Diego, CA; San Dimas, CA; Sylmar, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

John F Kennedy University (Pleasant Hill, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal

Kaplan College (Bakersfield, CA; Clovis, CA; North County, CA; Palm Springs, CA; Panorama City, CA; Sacramento, CA; Salida, CA; San Diego, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Diploma | Legal Administrative Assistant

Kensington College (Santa Ana, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal Assistant
Diploma | Legal Administrative Assistant

Los Angeles City College (Los Angeles, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies

Los Angeles Mission College (Sylmar, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Legal Assisting/Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Assisting/Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal (online program)

Los Angeles Southwest College (Los Angeles, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Law Office Specialist 1
Associate of Arts | Law Office Specialist: Civil Law
Associate of Arts | Law Office Specialist: Litigation

Merced College (Merced, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Merritt College (Oakland, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Certificate of Achievement | Paralegal Studies

MTI College (Sacramento, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal (online program)
Diploma | Legal Administrative Assistant

North-West College (Pasadena, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Pasadena City College (Pasadena, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Platt College (Alhambra, CA; Ontario, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Studies

Riverside Community College (Riverside, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Sage College (Moreno Valley, CA)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Court Reporting
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Diploma | Court Reporting

Additional Resources:

California Alliance of Paralegal Associations – This non-profit organization seeks to advance the careers of California paralegals by providing resources and information about the profession.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
2. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
5. American Lawyer: http://www.americanlawyer.com/