So, you want to find work as a paralegal in the state of California? You probably already know that many people want that very same thing, judging by the competition for these jobs. It is important to note, however, that you can’t work as a paralegal until you have secured the proper training.

This includes either an associate’s degree from an accredited college or university that is approved by the American Bar Association, or an approved certification program, which also must come from an accredited institution. If you don’t have an education in the field, then you are wasting your time applying for jobs. You have to get your schooling done first.

Fortunately for you, there are many schools in the state that will help you to get to where you need to be. These include California State University at East Bay, which is in Howard, and California State University at Los Angeles, both of which are affordable, powerful institutions with strong reputations in the state.

Community colleges, however, are even more affordable options than state schools, and there are many. You have Cerritos Community College in Norwalk, Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, and Pasadena City College in Pasadena, among others. Other schools include the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Cuyamaca College in El Cajon, DeAnza College in Cupertino, El Camino College in Torrance, and Fremont College in Cerritos.

Then you have Fullerton College, the prestigious John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, Los Angeles City College, Miramar College in San Diego, Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, and MTI College in Sacramento. Still, the list goes on with National University, which has locations in both Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks, both of which are ripe with opportunities for internships and jobs upon graduation.

You also have San Francisco State University’s College of Extended Learning, Santa Ana College, the University of California at Irvine, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Riverside, the University of California at San Diego (actually located in La Jolla), the University of California at Santa Barbara (actually located in Goleta), the University of Laverne, the University of San Diego, West Los Angeles College of Culver City, and West Valley College of Saratoga.

You may not realize it, but you are incredibly fortunate to have so many fine choices within your own state. Many states offer only one or two schools to choose from, if they even have any. So, make the most of your widely varied options by researching many of them carefully and choosing the one that is the absolute best fit for you and your goals.

If, for some strange reason, you can’t find a school that you like out of all of these choices, you can always choose to pursue an online degree, which can come from schools based all over the world. These schools are also good for those who simply can’t meet the demands of a traditional education due to other responsibilities.

Once you do have your education under your belt, you can choose to start applying for jobs right away. If, however, you want to increase your chances of landing a good job, it is wise to take on an internship. Of course, you can also complete an internship while you are still in school at many institutions. In any case, internships may be paid, unpaid, or even taken for college credit.

You can find out about them through your school or by looking through local job listings, which frequently include internships. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you might even approach a company or potential employer directly and ask about internship opportunities. However you come across your internship, you will want to make sure it is as close as possible to the type of paralegal work you wish to do for a living.

Treat your internship as seriously as you would a real job, because in some cases, it has been known to turn into one. No matter what, an internship will serve as a great way to gain real world experience and to start building an impressive resume for yourself.