9 Best Paralegal Programs in California

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If you’re a working legal professional or an aspiring paralegal, one of the quickest ways to gain entry into the legal field or to boost your earning potential is by earning a paralegal certificate.

California’s paralegals support local area attorneys with a variety of legal tasks, including legal research, interviewing, case management, and compliance.

This guide provides an overview of some of the best paralegal programs in California.

All the programs below have been approved by the American Bar Association, which means they meet the highest standards for paralegal education.

Best Paralegal Programs in California

The best paralegal programs in California prepare students for quick entry into the legal profession, meet local and national certification requirements, and put students on track for other law-based careers.

Accreditation and American Bar Association approval make the programs below some of the best in the state and the country.

Factors To Consider When Choosing California Paralegal Programs

If you’re new to the world of paralegal education, there are a few important factors you should consider before committing to and enrolling in an online paralegal education program in California.

It is important for prospective paralegals to consider the factors below and discuss any concerns with their program director and advisor before choosing a program.

  • Online vs. In-Person Education
  • Accreditation Status of the Program
  • American Bar Association Approved Programs
  • Tuition Costs and Financial Aid
  • National Certification Preparation
  • Student Support Options

Now that you understand the basics and what to look for in a program, let’s dive into the guide!

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1 University of California Irvine

About the Program

The University of California at Irvine offers one of the best paralegal programs in the state.

Their program gives students the opportunity to get their paralegal education in a remote and online format.

Part-time programs can be completed within twelve to twenty-four months, while full-time students can accelerate their learning and complete their online paralegal studies in just three months with UCI.

Attorneys and paralegals teach UCI’s top-tier paralegal training program.

Students who complete this ABA-approved program are on track to earn national certification and begin entry-level paralegal careers.

This program requires prospective students to have already completed an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in a related field prior to entry.

Courses Offered

  • Legal Research and Analysis
  • American Legal Systems
  • Legal Writing
  • Legal Technology
  • Transactional Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Paralegal Studies

Program Costs: $7,060.00 – $8,270.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 510 East Peltason Drive, Irvine, California - 92697
  • Phone: 949-824-5414
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 John F. Kennedy University - School of Law with NCU

About the Program

John F. Kennedy University offers its paralegal program in partnership with North Central University.

Their American Bar Association-approved program has thirty-nine units and twelve classes that teach students the fundamentals of how to work as a California paralegal supporting attorneys.

Students who take these classes will also learn about legal ethics, research, writing, and litigation, which prepares them for real-life situations in courtrooms.

JFK’s program offers students the opportunity to specialize in a high-demand area of law and a Legal Specialty Internship that gives them even more hands-on experience working as a paralegal at local law firms and government agencies.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Law
  • Legal Ethics
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Specialty Focus Course
  • Legal Technology Applications and Management
  • Litigation
  • Tort Law

Program Costs: This program has recently relocated and changed its format. Please get in touch with the program director for current pricing.

Contact Information

  • Address: 9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego, California - 92123
  • Phone: 855-355-6288
  • Website: Visit School Website

3 San Francisco State University College of Professional and Global Education

About the Program

SFSU’s College of Professional and Global Education has a 100% online paralegal certificate program.

Their program emphasizes civil litigation, and the ABA approves it and prepares students for paralegal jobs in California.

This program has a total of ten courses, which translates into thirty units of online paralegal education.

Students who take classes at SFSU will learn the practical, substantive, and hands-on legal skills required to pass national certification exams and to work as professional paralegals upon completion.

Program instructors include experienced attorneys and practicing paralegals.

This program may require students to meet face-to-face with an instructor periodically.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Civil Procedure
  • Communication Skills and Legal Ethics
  • Pleadings
  • Investigation, Discovery, and Trial Preparation

Program Costs: $395.00 – $899.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 160 Spear Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California - 94105
  • Phone: 415-405-7700
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 University of La Verne

About the Program

The University of La Verne has a thirty-two semester hour paralegal program that teaches students how to understand and navigate the American Legal System.

Their paralegal studies program follows the same academic track and curriculum as their Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies, with the exception of one course and one elective.

Students who enroll in the University of La Verne’s paralegal studies program will learn how to use the legal technology required to keep up with electronic records and case management in Law Office Computer Applications.

They will also get an in-depth perspective on the rules of litigation in Litigation I and II.

This program offers students a paralegal internship, which allows them to demonstrate their legal knowledge and skills prior to graduation and follow the next steps to national certification and licensure in California.

Courses Offered

  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Torts
  • American Legal Studies
  • Paralegal Internship and Ethics
  • Litigation I and II
  • Contract

Program Costs: $650.00-$750.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1950 Third Street, La Verne, California 91750
  • Phone: 909-593-3511
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 California State University at East Bay

About the Program

Paralegals who are excited to enter courtrooms and support trial attorneys will be eager to take paralegal studies at California University’s East Bay campus.

Their paralegal studies certificate program teaches students the fundamentals of civil and criminal law in the US and California.

They offer both in-person and remote learning options where students complete a total of eleven paralegal studies courses to earn their ABA-approved certificate.

Most students can complete CSU’s paralegal program within twelve months.

Students who enroll in CSU’s paralegal program have computer lab fees and access to Westlaw included in their tuition costs.

Courses Offered

  • Legal Technology
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Westlaw
  • Civil Litigation
  • Substantive Law
  • Professional Responsibility
  • American Legal Systems
  • Paralegal Internship

Program Costs: $6,910.00

*This program has alum discounts available for qualified students.

Contact Information

  • Address: 25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard, Hayward, California - 94542
  • Phone: 510-885-3500
  • Website: Visit School Website

6 American River College

About the Program

The American Bar Association has approved the Legal Studies program at American River College to train students as entry-level legal professionals and paralegals.

They introduce new paralegals to the fundamentals of how to manage cases, draft legal documents, interview witnesses and clients, and perform other legal tasks in their certificate program.

Their legal studies program requires paralegal students to complete thirty credit hours of study and nine hours of synchronous instruction.

Students who take courses at American River College can go on to complete a full-time or part-time associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies offered by the College.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to the Law and the American Legal System
  • Legal Research
  • Torts and Personal Injury
  • Evidence
  • Civil Procedures and Litigation
  • Legal Writing
  • Estate Planning and Probate Procedure
  • Corporations Law
  • Contract Law

Program Costs: $46.00 – $268.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento, California - 95841
  • Phone: 916-484-8011
  • Website: Visit School Website

7 Victor Valley College

About the Program

Victor Valley College trains students to become paralegals in California.

It requires students to complete thirty-three units of coursework, with fifteen units taken in residence at the College.

Their accredited program trains students to support California attorneys in a variety of courtroom-related tasks while working under the supervision of those attorneys.

The ABA has approved this program to offer new students entering the legal field a route for quick entry as working paralegals.

Courses Offered

  • Political Science
  • Introduction to Paralegal
  • English
  • Legal Research
  • Administrative Tasks
  • Document Preparation
  • Legal Interviewing

Program Costs: $46.00 – $268.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 18422 Bear Valley Road, Victorville, California - 92395
  • Phone: 760-245-4271
  • Website: Visit School Website

8 California State University - Los Angeles

About the Program

LA-area students who want to complete their paralegal studies in Downtown Los Angeles can enroll in the paralegal certificate program offered by California State.

Their long-running paralegal program gives students the foundational knowledge needed to thrive as California paralegals.

Students who complete paralegal training at Cal State will learn how to perform legal research, draft legal documents, interview clients and witnesses, and satisfy California’s requirements for paralegal education.

Their program consists of six courses, which translates to eighteen units of paralegal education.

Courses Offered

  • Administrative Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • American Legal Systems
  • Legal Technology
  • Transactional Law
  • Paralegal Internship

Program Costs: $300.00 per unit.

*This program requires payment in total upfront and does not offer monthly installment plans.

Contact Information

  • Address: 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, California - 90032
  • Phone: 323-343-3000
  • Website: Visit School Website

9 University of Southern California - Gould School of Law

About the Program

USC offers California-based students quick entry into the legal field with a variety of graduate certificate options for practicing and prospective paralegals.

Students can take coursework to earn an Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate, which teaches them the fundamentals of how to navigate disagreements between parties and avoid lawsuits.

They can also work toward a Legal Compliance Certificate, which teaches students about legal rules and regulations in the American government and corporations.

There is an additional option for students to earn a certificate in Transnational Law, Public Interest Law, Privacy Law, and Media and Entertainment Law.

They offer evening and weekend paralegal classes to accommodate student schedules and help facilitate work-life balance.

Courses Offered

  • Media and Entertainment Law Certificate Program
  • Law Social Justice and Social Diversity – Certificate Program
  • Legal Compliance – Certificate Program
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution – Certificate Program
  • Business Law – Certificate Program
  • Transactional Law – Certificate Progam
  • Privacy Law and Cybersecurity – Certificate Program
  • Human Resources Law and Compliance – Certificate Program

Program Costs: $2,956.00 per unit plus program fees.

Contact Information

  • Address: 699 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California - 90089
  • Phone: 213-740-7331
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 University of California Irvine
#2 John F. Kennedy University - School of Law with NCU
#3 San Francisco State University College of Professional and Global Education
#4 University of La Verne
#5 California State University at East Bay
#6 American River College
#7 Victor Valley College
#8 California State University - Los Angeles
#9 University of Southern California - Gould School of Law

Paralegal Programs by State

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

2 Responses to 9 Best Paralegal Programs in California

  1. Avatar
    Mike Hall #

    Finding the right paralegal program for yourself is great for a strong start in the legal field. This list of the best programs in Cali provides a helpful guide for prospective students.

  2. Avatar
    Micah Hogan #

    I completed a program in California, and it was a transformative experience that prepared me well for my career. The quality of education is a must-have.

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