Paralegal Programs in California

California has been at the forefront of paralegal legislation. As a result, there are some paralegal education requirements you should be aware of prior to choosing a paralegal training program in California.

On September 13, 2000 AB1761 was passed. This bill established an initial standard of education that individuals must complete prior to practicing as a paralegal. Under the California Business and Professions Code Section 6450 (c)(1)(2) a paralegal certificate is considered valid if it meets one of the following criteria:

1) Completion of an American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal program.

2) Completion of a paralegal program or a degree program that requires at least 24 semester units of law related courses. In addition, the school must have been accredited by a national or regional accrediting body or approved by the Bureau for Private Post-secondary and Vocational Education.

3) Possession of a baccalaureate degree or advanced degree in any subject along with a written declaration from an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California or practiced in the federal courts of California for at least the previous three years.

4) A high school diploma or equivalent with at least 3 years of law related work experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California or practiced in the federal courts of California for at least the previous three years.

Paralegals in California should have a record of their paralegal certificate or degree to present upon request from their employer or a client.

Additional Considerations When Choosing a Paralegal Program

With California's paralegal education requirements in mind, we have only listed online schools that are Nationally or Regionally accredited and included their accrediting body for your information. Often non-ABA approved programs can be less expensive than ABA approved schools, yet offer an education that would actually meet the ABA's requirements for approval. We have also listed the ABA approved paralegal programs in California. Read more about ABA and non-ABA approved paralegal programs.

One of the things we recommend is to inquire with your desired place of employment as to what their hiring requirements are for paralegals. We have found that some of the larger firms in California require a specific education, such as an ABA approved paralegal certificate and a bachelor's degree as well as a certain amount of related work experience. This is on an extreme end and not all firms or employers have these requirements, however, it makes since to find out exactly what you need to do to pursue your personal and professional career goals.

When inquiring about schools be sure to ask about academic counseling, financial aid and job placement services. These are important student services that a college or university should offer their students and commonly do.

California Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Los Angeles, La Puente, Anaheim, Ontario

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's - Paralegal

Campuses: Salida, Stockton, Concord, San Francisco, Hayward, Fresno, Milpitas, Salinas, Rancho Cordova, Roseville

Degrees Offered:

  • Paralegal (Associate Degree)

Campuses: Los Angeles, Cerritos

Degrees Offered:

  • Paralegal Studies (Associate of Arts Degree)

Campuses: Los Angeles, Upland, Anaheim

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's in Paralegal

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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Earning a degree may not qualify you for specialized careers that require more education or experience in the field.