Employment numbers in the legal services field are on the rise, which makes becoming certified as a paralegal a solid choice for securing a reliable, interesting and challenging career. It is also a sound option for ensuring opportunities for career advancement. A certified paralegal is one who has completed paralegal studies, then has gone on to successfully complete a paralegal certification exam and/or other requirements of a certifying organization. Here, we'll outline facts on a selection of well-respected national paralegal certification exams.
Paralegal CORE Competency Exam
A national paralegal certification exam developed by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), a passing score on the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE) provides a CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP) credential. It is administered via computer at test centers throughout the US and Canada. To sit for this exam, applicants must meet certain education/experience eligibility requirements, which are outlined on the NFPA website There are 125 questions on the exam of which only 110 are used to calculate the final score. Each candidate is allowed two and a half hours to complete the exam. Here are some examples of the two main types of questions in the exam:
The NFPA website also features study guides, information on NFPA-approved PCCE review courses and application information.
Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam
This exam was also developed by the NFPA. Paralegals who obtain a passing score on the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE), are entitled to a PACE Registered Paralegal credential. This certification is widely recognized throughout the legal services sector as a symbol of excellence. Information on eligibility requirements, study materials, NFPA-approved PACE Review Courses and exam applications can be found on the NFPA website's PACE page .
Certified Paralegal/Certified Legal Assistant Exam
This exam is administered by the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA). The credentials conveyed by passing this exam are the Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) designations, certificates that verify that holders are capable of providing superior service to firms and corporations. Information on application processes and deadlines, exam eligibility requirements and testing centers is available at the NALA website .
Professional Paralegal Exam
The Professional Paralegal exam is administered by NALS, a national association for legal professionals. Paralegals who achieve a passing score on this exam earn the Professional Paralegal (PP) certificate that identifies holders as exceptional in all areas of law. The exam is a one-day, four-part examination which includes the following:
Information on eligibility requirements, study guides, sample exams and testing times and locations can be obtained from the NALS website> .
Many state-level Paralegal certifications are also available for career enhancement, as well as some that are recognized in multiple states . Whether you are a student beginning the path to becoming a paralegal or have already graduated from a paralegal studies program, pursuing certifications can benefit your career in terms of more prestigious job opportunities and greater income potential.
Taking a paralegal certification exam can give students the next step towards career advancement and success in the legal field. A paralegal certification exam can and should be applied to each of the Continuing Education programs offered by Bryant & Stratton College.