graduation from an accredited paralegal program
acceptable performance on a qualifying examination or series of examinations, and/or
completion of a given amount of work experience
There are several organizations that offer certification exams.
The National Association of Paralegals (NALA) awards the designation Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) or Certified Paralegal (CP) to persons who have met its requirements, which include passing a competency exam. Advanced specialty certification (CLAS) exams are also administered by NALA, as are a few state-specific advanced competency examinations. www.nala.org
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) awards the designation Registered Paralegal (RP) to persons who have met its requirements for education and work experience and who have passed the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). www.paralegals.org
NALS, the Association for Legal Professionals, offers three unique paralegal certifications of varying levels. www.nals.org
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization offers a voluntary specialty certification program in six areas of Texas law. Other states have state-specific examinations. www.txpd.org
Attorneys are encouraged by their State Bar Associations to promote continuing education and excellence among their paralegals. A paralegal that successfully completes a professional Certification Exam helps ensure employers and clients that they possess a specified level of understanding and competence.