Paralegals gather facts to shape and win legal cases.
Additionally, they research relevant laws and regulations to help attorneys draft legal documents.
California employs almost 35,000 paralegals.
Without paralegals, attorneys would spend all their time preparing cases instead of presenting them, leaving people’s lives tied up in court.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Licensing Requirements to Become a California Paralegal
- 2 California Paralegal Industry Information
- 3 Five Paralegal Schools in California
- 3.1 University of California Irvine, Ext
- 3.2 California State University, East Bay
- 3.3 University of California Santa Barbara Ext
- 3.4 University of California Riverside
- 3.5 University of California San Diego Extended Studies Paralegal Studies Program
- 3.6 Paralegal Schools in California – Summary Table
- 4 California Paralegal Salary Data
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5.1 Are there other ABA-approved California paralegal schools not on this list?
- 5.2 Do you need a bachelor's degree to enroll in paralegal programs in California?
- 5.3 What is the shortest time to receive a degree from the schools listed here?
- 5.4 Do I have to attend classes in person?
- 5.5 Do the tuition estimates provided by these schools include books and fees?
Licensing Requirements to Become a California Paralegal
Many legal assistants begin their careers with only an associate degree in paralegal studies; applicants with bachelor’s degrees in specific fields receive hiring preference.
However, some employers prefer assistants with no legal training or experience, providing any necessary education on the job.
Nevertheless, the paralegal field may be perfect if you enjoy tracking down facts, engaging with people to build trust and openness, and love reading contracts.
Paralegals cannot provide legal advice or represent anyone in a California court, nor can they choose, explain, write preliminary copies of or recommend a specific legal document to anyone except their supervising attorney.
Moreover, paralegals may not solicit business for their attorneys.
California Paralegal Industry Information
Paralegals in California must do one of the following:
- Complete an American Bar Association-approved paralegal training program.
- Receive a certificate of completion demonstrating 24 semesters or units of legal education-related classes with national or regional accreditation.
- Attain a baccalaureate or other advanced degree plus one year of experience, supervised by an active California State Bar Association member, and have a competency letter testifying their paralegal abilities.
- Graduate with a high school diploma or GED, obtain three years’ experience, and receive a letter of recommendation from their supervising attorney.
Five Paralegal Schools in California
These Paralegal/Legal Assistant programs have American Bar Association approval in California.
However, the ABA updates its directory twice a year in February and August, and any program not listed in that directory does not have ABA approval.
University of California Irvine, Ext
- Program Length: Three months of full-time classes or 12 to 24 months part-time.
- Applicants must already hold a baccalaureate or associate degree before applying.
- Cost: $7060 to $8270, plus the cost of all prior degrees.
- The program cost estimate does not include books and fees and represents a remote format.
- The program includes career coaching in the Legal Career Skills class.
- Eligible students may receive an Alternative Digital Credential in Legal Research and Analysis upon completing the Legal Research course.
California State University, East Bay
- Program Length: Twelve months to take 11 courses.
- Cost: $7625 includes computer lab fees and WestLaw access. Price does not reflect expenses for the required general studies courses or prior degrees.
- The program consists of online and in-person options at 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd Hayward, CA 94542-3000.
University of California Santa Barbara Ext
- Program Length: Applicants must complete up to 55 quarter units or 37 semester-length units of general education courses before enrolling.
- Cost: Estimated $6,035, not including the cost of the required general education courses.
- You may contact the certificate advisor via Zendesk or write Mail Code 1110 Santa Barbara, CA 93106-1110 to request more information.
University of California Riverside
- Program Length: 15 months in an online format.
- Cost: $6,500 plus the cost of your prior degree.
- You must already hold an Associate or Baccalaureate degree or complete 59 quarter units or 40-semester units of general education classes.
- Located at 1200 University Ave Riverside, CA 92507-4596
- Contact Director Kathleen Wilson at (951) 827-5804 or Email: email@example.com
University of California San Diego Extended Studies Paralegal Studies Program
Accelerated Program Length: 12 weeks online.
- Accelerated Program Cost: The $7,495 tuition includes course materials and textbooks, placement assistance, the certificate fee, parking permit, orientation, and a graduation luncheon.
- Part-time Program Length: 12 to 24 months online and live via Zoom.
- Part-time Program Costs: The $5,100-$5,200 price does not include materials, books, or the $95 application fee.
- Contact Director Julia Dunlap (858)534-8164 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paralegal Schools in California – Summary Table
|University of California Irvine, Ext||510 E Peltason Dr, Irvine, CA 92697|
|California State University, East Bay||25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, CA 94542|
|University of California Santa Barbara Ext||Kerr Hall, 2160, Santa Barbara, CA 93106|
|University of California Riverside||900 University Ave, Riverside, CA 92521|
|University of California San Diego Extended Studies Paralegal Studies Program||9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093|
California Paralegal Salary Data
California’s paralegals earn an average of $70,290 per year.
Although California employs the most paralegals, they rank third-highest for average salaries.
The State of Washington holds second place, and the District of Columbia pays the highest salaries.
Speak with your current or intended employer before enrolling in any paralegal program.
The last thing you want to do is saddle yourself with student debt if your employer pays for legal assistant training.
If you are still in school, ask local attorneys which classes to take to attain their firm’s desired level of competence.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in California
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|El Centro, CA||50||$60,060||$28.88||$95,700||$37,560|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||16,530||$75,850||$36.46||$105,670||$48,460|
|Madera, CA||40||- NA -||- NA -||- NA -||- NA -|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||660||$68,090||$32.74||$90,080||$49,180|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||1,280||$67,030||$32.23||$98,080||$46,480|
|San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||4,110||$71,420||$34.34||$100,700||$50,040|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||6,330||$88,270||$42.44||$129,900||$51,400|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||1,770||$96,460||$46.37||$140,520||$62,600|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA||210||$58,290||$28.02||$79,560||$35,170|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||80||$72,360||$34.79||$105,020||$43,570|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA||270||$63,060||$30.32||$91,340||$40,540|
|Santa Rosa, CA||360||$62,450||$30.03||$95,170||$37,790|
|Yuba City, CA||30||$61,430||$29.54||$76,170||$40,160|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there other ABA-approved California paralegal schools not on this list?
The Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs lists another 28 paralegal schools in California.
Do you need a bachelor's degree to enroll in paralegal programs in California?
Before enrollment, you must hold a prior associate’s or bachelor’s degree or take a specified number of general studies courses.
What is the shortest time to receive a degree from the schools listed here?
Do I have to attend classes in person?
No, most of the listed California paralegal schools use online or Zoom formats.
Do the tuition estimates provided by these schools include books and fees?
Only California State University East Bay and the University of California San Diego Extended Studies Paralegal Studies Program had books and miscellaneous expenses included in their tuition estimates.