Paralegal Studies Certificate Program | UC Davis Extension

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Paralegal Studies Certificate Program

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Become a Certified Paralegal in Just Six Months

UC Davis Extension’s Paralegal Studies Certificate Program gives you the knowledge, convenience and flexibility to become a certified paralegal in as few as six months. Offered continuously online as well as in the traditional classroom format from June through November each year, our UC-quality curriculum is led by engaging instructors who are leaders in their respective legal careers. The program aligns with the California Business & Professionals Code for paralegal education, ensuring you have the skills to succeed in this high-demand field.

  • Earn your paralegal certificate in six months or fewer
  • Convenient online format lets you schedule your learning to fit your lifestyle or choose the classroom format starting in June
  • Develop a satisfying, high-paying career in this fast-growing field
  • Earn academic credit through the UC Davis School of Law
  • Gain experience with Westlaw and LexisNexis research platforms

Career Outlook

The paralegal industry is expected to grow faster than any other occupation through 2022, with a corresponding rise in salaries:

  • Expected job growth of 19 percent
  • The average salary for paralegals in California was $60,060 in 2013
  • Compensation rates for paralegals went up 6 percent from 2010 to 2012

SOURCES: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Association of Legal Assistants Paralegal Utilization & Compensation.

About the Program:

The Fastest Way to Become a Paralegal

If you’ve got the drive and motivation, UC Davis Extension’s Paralegal Studies Certificate Program can help you become certified as a paralegal in as few as six months. Whether you want to invest a few hours each week or power through in a weekend, the flexible, convenient online program structure lets you learn at the pace that fits your schedule. Or you can enroll in the traditional classroom format, which begins each June. The choice is yours!

This distinctive, intensive format is designed to let you continue working while preparing for your career as a paralegal. The program features:

  • Convenience – We offer this program continuously online throughout the year as well as in the classroom from June through November in our downtown Sacramento classrooms – Start the online program anytime and have access 24/7
  • Veteran Instructors – Learn from practicing attorneys and judges who understand the realities of today’s legal environment
  • English and Spanish Materials – Lecture notes, exercises and other course materials available in Spanish (exams must be taken in English)
  • Real-World Learning – Course material teaches useful paralegal skills through relevant, dynamic learning opportunities
  • Exceptional Networking Opportunities – Make critical connections with the instructors, professional associations and peers who can advance your career
  • Career Flexibility – Paralegal skills are in high demand across many industries, giving you flexibility in the job market
  • Immediate ROI – The lessons you learn can be immediately applied in a legal environment, including experience with both Westlaw and LexisNexis research platforms

You’ll earn academic credit sanctioned by the UC Davis School of Law. If you’re already a paralegal, UC Davis Extension courses offer easy access to continuing paralegal education.

The UC Davis Extension program is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The program is also approved by the University of California, Davis—one of the top public universities in the nation.

The program consists of more than 100 contact hours of paralegal-specific skills, with curriculum structured to build upon and reinforce your learning from previous sessions. You’ll complete the program with a clear understanding of modern paralegal duties and the expertise to put them into practice, including:

  • How to conduct legal research and prepare documentation for trials
  • Proven methods for managing clients
  • Litigation procedures and basic appellate processes within the
  • Laws pertaining to personal injury, product liability and malpractice
  • The ability to analyze and draft contracts as well as litigate them


  • Paralegal Studies Certificate Program Essentials
  • Contract Law for Paralegals
  • Tort Law for Paralegals
  • California Procedures for Paralegals

Courses Approved By:

All courses in the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program are approved by UC Davis School of Law.

Estimated Cost:

Tuition for the entire Paralegal Studies Certificate Program is approximately $6,995. The cost of materials ($800) is not included in the tuition fee.

Payment Plan

For the in-person Paralegal program (offered during the summer quarter) only, a convenient payment plan to fit your financial needs is available. Please contact us at (530) 757-8895 or for details.


"I took the UC Davis Extension Paralegal Studies Certificate Program to improve my knowledge of law and obtain a professional credential. The program absolutely gave me a competitive edge and allowed me to command a higher salary than I had as an un-certified legal assistant."

Rachel Eckhardt

"Although I've worked in a law office for almost four years, I learned a lot that will help prepare me for my upcoming move to a larger city to be a paralegal. I highly recommend this program!"

Bridgette Campbell

"The professors are excellent. I particularly appreciated their efforts to ensure students truly grasped the concepts taught."

Nanci Henning


Quarterly schedule of courses

Paralegal Studies Certificate Program21.0OOOC
F=Fall W=Winter SP=Spring SU=Summer; Schedules subject to change.
O = Online C = Classroom OC = Online and Classroom H = Hybrid

Required Courses

The paralegal profession continues to be one of the fastest growing career opportunities in the country. A recent survey conducted by ALM Research, a leading source of business intelligence for legal professionals, also indicates compensation for paralegals is rising steadily above the cost of living. Acquire the knowledge you need to enter the paralegal profession through the acclaimed Paralegal Studies Certificate Program, offered online every quarter and in the classroom during the summer. Program highlights include:
  • Instructors who are licensed attorneys
  • Individual access to LexisNexis and Westlaw online legal research
  • Lecture notes, exercises, diagrams, charts, forms, templates, writing and research labs, and mock exams (exams must be taken in English) accessed through the ParaStudent website (in English or Spanish)
  • The UC Davis Extension online and classroom Paralegal Studies Certificate Program is in compliance with California Business & Professions Code 6450 through 6456 regulatory standards for paralegal education

This dynamic certificate program provides you with the skills you need to enter this exciting profession.

Why choose this program over other paralegal programs

The expertise of its instruction, provided by members of the bar association, result is an unparalleled and dynamic educational experience. According to the 2010 Salary Survey by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), paralegals who obtained their training from paralegal certificate programs are among the highest paid.

Who should enroll

  • Legal staff who wish to enhance or advance their careers by earning a professional credential
  • Career changers looking for a professional career with strong compensation
  • Those involved in legal matters who want to gain a clearer understanding of legal processes
  • Those considering law school (this program gives you a distinct advantage)

Comprehensive program

Excellent resource materials--including, texts, workbooks and interactive study support site. Access to a website with additional resources only for program participants, including lecture notes, mock exams, templates and forms, online citation assistance, online court rules, textbook summary and quizzes, chat rooms for instructor and students, and practice exercise questions. Please feel free to test drive our online support materials and experience the UC Davis Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. To visit the test drive site, please go to

Statement Regarding California Regulatory Requirements

The UC Davis Extension online and classroom Paralegal Studies Certificate Program is in compliance with California Business & Professions Code 6450 through 6456. The California regulations require that a paralegal program offer either 24 semester units or an equivalent amount of hours related to law. This course meets or exceeds the regulatory standard of 360 classroom hours. In addition, students earn up to 21 quarter units of academic credit for the program. Students should expect to devote at least 360 hours of academic work of online and/or face-to-face instruction.

Program outline

Introduction: Paralegal Studies Certificate Program Essentials

Explore legal ethics, legal terminology, legal research and writing, pleading preparation, utilization of forms and form books, legal analysis, client correspondence, interviewing, investigation, citation forms, the specifics of evidence, trial preparation and how to manage your clients.

Advanced Topics

Build upon the introductory portion with more in-depth study of those topics as well as preparation of discovery documents, e-discovery, motions, notices, legal technology, employment strategies, and online legal research with both LexisNexis and Westlaw.

California Procedures for Paralegals

Explore litigation procedures in the state courts of California, from both an academic, as well as a law practitioner's point of view. Receive step-by-step instruction on how to:

  • Prepare summons and complaints
  • Obtain default judgment
  • Prepare answers and cross Complaints
  • Evaluate and draft various pretrial motions and discovery requests
  • Prepare cases for trial and trial related documents and motions
  • Enforce a judgment after trial

In addition, learn the California court system and basic appellate processes, how to interpret and apply California Code of Civil Procedure, California Rules of Court, as well as various local court rules and legal forms.

Tort Law for Paralegals

Gain an understanding of laws pertaining to personal injury, product liability and malpractice. Examine the intentional torts of battery, assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of mental distress, trespass to chattel, trespass to property and conversion. Analyze negligence, breach of duty, causation and damages, liability issues and defenses, and malpractice.

Contract Law for Paralegals

Contracts are involved in virtually every field of law. Focus on the specialized skills of contract drafting, analysis and litigation. Examine several kinds of contracts and draft a contract as a part of your course requirements. Learn about remedies for non-performance (i.e., breach of contract) and third party contracts.

Program Designers

Alyssa Navallo and Daniel Barber are paralegals and nationally-recognized educators who have designed, developed courses and consulted for paralegal programs at some of the most highly respected universities in the United States, including Duke University, DePaul University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Emory University, Rice University, the University of Miami, the University of Tennessee, Xavier University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Admission Criteria

In order to enroll in this program, we recommend you hold either a high school diploma, GED or an advanced degree. In addition, participants need both word processing and basic Internet skills.

Sections of this course open for enrollment:



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