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Certified Paralegal: Clarification

Posted by Gail Armatys

Jan 14, 2013 10:26:00 AM

Are you a paralegal? Ready to move your career forward?  Maybe it's time for you to become Certified. 

But before we answer the 'why should I become certified' questions you may have, let's make sure we are talking about the same thing first.  What do I mean?  Well, there apparently continues to be confusion about the difference between a paralegal who is 'certificated' and one who is 'certified'.  The confusion comes from all places; attorneys, misinformed paralegals, paralegal programs who aren't careful in their word useage, students who prefer to 'pretend' they are certified on their resumes but are really 'certificated', and probably a host of other places.Let's be clear, A 'certificated' paralegal is one who as successfully completed and graduated from a paralegal program. One who has earned a certificate or diploma.

The only way to become a 'certified' paralegal is to successfully pass an exam that demonstrates one's knowledge and understanding of the law. Online Paralegal Exam Prep Student

Before you read more, here is my plug for those of you who would like an exceptional online opportunity to advance your career through certification. You may take this complete and thorough online interactive course from your home or office. To find out more simply go to www.paralegal.edu/seminars/ and scroll down the page. Learn how our experienced facilitators help prepare you to earn the Certified Paralegal designation. 

Why it's Important to become Certified
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.  It is also an opportunity to promote and advance a paralegal's career.

A little more information about becoming Certified Paralegal
A certified paralegal is a paralegal that has completed a certification exam and has met specific requirements. The requirements, in general, include:

  • 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

As you can see there are various avenues that lead to becoming a certified paralegal.  Center for Advanced Legal Studies encourages all paralegals to invest their resources into preparing for, taking, and passing a certificaiton exam. 

If we can help you move forward by providing additional information or if you would like to register for the upcoming Paralegal Exam Prep course in preparation of NALA's Certified Paralegal exam, contact us at www.info@paralegal.edu or 800-4466931. 

Gail Armatys, Co-founder & CAO
Gail Armatys, Co-founder  
Center for Advanced Legal Studies  

Topics: online classes, certification, education and training

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