How do I become a paralegal? California law defines who can be a paralegal. One way is to obtain a degree, which requires at least 24 semester units of coursework. College of the Canyons offers 31 units (11 classes) in its associate degree program in paralegal studies.
When and where are the classes offered? Classes are offered at both the COC Valencia and Canyon Country campuses. Most classes are offered in the evenings.
Can I take the program part-time? Most students attend part-time by taking a few courses each semester.
Why does College of the Canyons require an internship to graduate? The US Department of Labor notes that experienced, formally-trained paralegals have the best employment opportunities. Having internship experience is a valuable asset in seeking a job after graduation.
When can paralegal students take their internship? Students should plan to enroll in an internship after they have taken a few courses. Then they should arrange an internship as soon as possible to help them decide whether to continue their paralegal education.
Where do paralegal students do their internships? Most COC paralegal studies students have interned at private law firms in the Santa Clarita Valley. Other internship placements have included the Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, and NBCUniversal.
How do I find an internship? Students can secure internships through the college’s Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE) internship program. To graduate, students must enroll in at least two units of CWEE Paralegal Studies. Locating an internship is the student’s responsibility, however, department faculty and CWEE staff provide guidance and assistance. Students are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with the Paralegal Studies department chair and/or a CWEE staff member at least one semester before they plan to begin their internship.
Will I receive a degree or does the college offer a certificate? College of the Canyons offers an associate in arts degree in Paralegal Studies. It does not offer a certificate program.
I already have college credits or an associate and/or bachelor’s degree in another field. Do I still need another degree? Yes. However, some of your credits may count toward your associate degree in paralegal studies. Prospective students should make an appointment with a counselor to verify any credits that will count toward the degree. In some cases, students who possess other degrees only have to take the Paralegal Studies courses to graduate.
What placement assistance does College of the Canyons offer to graduates?The college’s Career Services and Paralegal Studies departments offer a variety of resources to students and graduates including: assistance creating a resume, interview preparation, and career networking. During the Paralegal Studies Seminar course, students receive instruction on how to conduct a successful job search, take steps toward career advancement and obtain recommended job skills.