Paralegal Studies Certificate Program in Downtown LA

Woman holding a notebook in front of a courthouse.

Offered at Cal State LA Downtown, the Paralegal Studies (PLS) Certificate Program has been American Bar Association (ABA) approved since 1978, making it one of the earliest approved programs in a university setting in California. The program curriculum is designed to equip students with a strong foundation of legal knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge to a variety of practical tasks required of the profession. As legal professionals, paralegals are able to interview clients, perform legal research, and draft and analyze legal documents. Cal State LA's Paralegal Studies Certificate Program satisfies the requirements of Business and Professionals Code Section 6450. However, paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.


This program is ideal for:

  • Individuals interested in becoming part of a legal services delivery team
  • Individuals considering law school
  • Paralegals looking to brush up on their paralegal skills

The Paralegal Studies Certificate Program curriculum will develop and practice:

  • Oral and written communication skills.
  • Skills to find answers and problem solve through experiential learning.
  • Critical thinking skills through writing assignments.
  • Litigation, transactional, and technology skills, and create a framework for continued learning in the workforce.
  • A framework for the knowledge, skills, and ethical obligations of the paralegal profession.

In order to earn a Certificate in Paralegal Studies, students must complete each of the required six courses (18 units) with a grade of "C" or higher. PLS 7010 Paralegal Internship is optional and not a required course to complete the program.

PLS 7001 American Legal Systems
Examine the fundamentals of the United States legal systems. Sources of law, procedural requirements, and the role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services will be explored.
PLS 7002 Civil Litigation
Examine civil ligation using contract and tort cases as a backdrop. Initiating a case, discovery, pre-trial, and preparing for trial will be explored.
PLS 7003 Legal Research and Writing
Examine the legal research process and the principles of legal analysis and writing. The use of authority, research tools, and effective writing strategies will be explored.
PLS 7004 Legal Technology
Examine technology commonly used in the delivery of legal services. Word processing, databases, electronic filing, and e-discovery will be explored.
PLS 7005 Transactional Law
Examine common transactional law principles. Contracts, business types, corporate filings, and regulatory forms will be explored.
PLS 7006 Administrative Law
Examine state and federal administrative agencies. Rulemaking, administrative hearings, and common administrative law areas, including immigration, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, tax, and Social Security will be explored.
PLS 7010 Paralegal Internship (Optional Course)
Examine the knowledge, skills, and abilities used in the delivery of legal services through an internship position in a law firm, legal department, government agency, or another legal setting. Students considering this course should email Lisa Rauhauser, Program Faculty Coordinator, to obtain approval and placement assistance. This approval should be obtained the semester before students plan to enroll in the course.

Register to view/listen to a live OR prerecorded Paralegal Studies Certificate Program webinar.

Each Paralegal Studies Certificate Program course is $900 ($300 per unit).

The total cost of all six required courses is $5,400.

Payment for intended courses must be paid in full at the time of registration, as installment plans are not available.

Federal financial aid is not currently available for the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.  However, you can apply for a private student loan.

Cal State LA and the local Workforce Investment Board (WIB) are working together to ensure that our state has a well-trained and sustainable workforce. If you have been laid off due to poor economic conditions, company closure, or mass layoff, you may be eligible to receive free career development training.

To find out if you qualify for paid training, contact your local American Job Center (formerly One-Stop Center) to have them determine your eligibility to receive free training. Be sure to mention that you want to take classes through the College of Professional and Global Education at Cal State LA. Visit CareerOneStop to find your nearest American Job Center or call 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627) for more information. 

Important: You must contact your local American Job Center for application and approval first. Free enrollment in our WIB-approved programs is not available without prior written approval.

Approved Programs Offered by Cal State LA:

Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Medical Billing and Coding

Healthcare Revenue Cycle Administration Certificate

Certificate in Project Management 

Pharmacy Technician

The instructor and participants will actively engage in in-person discussions and lectures, and utilize Canvas (the University's learning management system) every week. The instructor and students are required to actively engage in discussions, lectures, and presentations.

The next PLS Certificate Program offering is Fall 2024. Classes begin on August 20.  View/download the program schedule.

Please note the following.

  • Each course will meet once a week on a designated weeknight within the program term (Spring and Fall).
  • All classes meet in the evening, Monday through Thursday (6:30 to 9:15 p.m.).
  • Most students finish the program within two or three semesters by taking 2-3 of the required classes per term.

Applications for Fall 2024 open on May 7 and close on July 22, 2024 (at 5 p.m.). Transcripts are due before July 22 (at 5 p.m.).

Prospective participants in the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program must have a baccalaureate degree or an associate of arts or science degree from an accredited post-secondary institution for admission to the program. An associate of applied science degree or an occupational or vocational degree does not satisfy the education requirement. If you do not have a baccalaureate degree or an associate of arts or science degree from an accredited post-secondary institution, please contact the College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE) Program Office for an alternative process.

The program does not permit students to transfer specialty credits from other institutions; nor does the program award legal specialty credit by course challenge, examination, or portfolio.

If you completed your undergraduate education at an institution where English was not the primary language of instruction, you must submit evidence of English language proficiency. International academic transcripts can be translated through You must submit an acceptable TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 paper-based or 79-80 internet-based tests (with a minimum Writing sub-score of 24 and Speaking sub-score of 26) to demonstrate English proficiency.

Both the online application and official transcripts reflecting a conferred (awarded) degree must be received by Cal State LA's College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE) Program Office. The deadline to apply and submit transcripts is July 22 (5 p.m.).

The PaGE Program Office will notify applicants with missing transcripts during the application window via email until official transcripts are received. Applications will be evaluated for program admission when both the online application and sealed official transcripts are received. You will be notified by email from the PaGE Program Developer regarding admission.

When submitting official transcripts to the PaGE Program Office, the document needs to be printed on the issuing institution’s official paper/letterhead and sealed by the institution in an envelope. Opened transcripts are considered unofficial and will not be used for admission review. All submitted documents will not be released back to you.

Apply to the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.

NOTE: If you encounter technical difficulties applying to this program, please email the College of Professional and Global Education Student Services Office for assistance.

Please mail official transcripts reflecting a conferred degree to:

Cal State LA – Paralegal Studies

5151 State University Drive, Golden Eagle Room 215

Los Angeles, CA 90032-8619

If transcripts are not mailed to the address listed above, our office will require you to request another official copy from your university.

Prospective students who received their degrees from Cal State LA will not need to submit official transcripts but need to indicate their CIN (Campus Identification Number) when applying and creating their PaGE account. Applications cannot be processed if profiles and applications from Cal State LA alumni do not contain CINs.

To ensure receipt of your official transcripts reflecting a conferred degree, our office also accepts electronic transcripts if your institution has this option. Please request for your official transcript to be sent electronically to:

(323) 343-4915

Please read Cal State LA's Non-Discrimination Policy.

Join our interest list to learn more about the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program

Law firms in need of paralegal interns or employees, please contact the College of Professional and Global Education Programs Office.

For more information about the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program, please contact the Cal State LA Downtown Outreach and Recruitment Department: [email protected].