Read Everything You Need to Know About Paralegal Certification
Learn how to become a certified paralegal.
Which Certification is Best for You?
Paralegal programs grant certificates or diplomas to graduates who have successfully completed the necessary paralegal training. This is not the same as paralegal certification, which is granted by three professional organizations.
At present, there are no mandatory requirements for paralegal certification or licensing. Only in California are paralegals required to meet certain educational standards.
Nonetheless, certification is recommended because in some highly competitive markets employers prefer or even require it. Some paralegals even seek out certification after getting several years job experience to increase their real-world knowledge.
The three certification agencies are as follows:
- National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA): NALA has established standards for certification requiring various combinations of education and experience. Paralegals who meet these standards are eligible to take a two-day examination administered three times a year at regional testing centers. Those who pass this examination may use the designation Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP).
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA): The NFPA-administered Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) offers professional recognition to paralegals with various combinations of education and experience. Those who pass this examination may use the designation Registered Paralegal (RP).
- American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI): The AAPI administers the American Alliance Certification Program (AACP). It is not necessary to take an exam to receive AACP certification. Any paralegal with five years of work experience and certain education requirements is eligible to apply for certification.
If you'd like to become a paralegal, browse our directory of accredited paralegal schools. Once on the job, you can decide for yourself whether you want to pursue paralegal certification or not.
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