Earning your paralegal certification is a great way to set yourself apart and prove your commitment to the paralegal profession. National surveys show that attorneys favor hiring certified paralegals. What employer wouldn’t want a credentialed employee with a high probability of success?
Now that you’re ready to pursue paralegal certification, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re ready for the certification exam. The CP exam from NALA costs $250 for members and $275 for non-members, and a maximum of three attempts can be made to pass the exam in a 365-day period. This exam tests the knowledge and skills of a paralegal, so exam takers need to take their training seriously.
To ensure that you’re prepared to take and pass the paralegal certification exam, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Do you have the required education?
NALA requires a certain level of education in order to sit for the Certified Paralegal Exam. Applicants must have graduated from a paralegal program, have a bachelor’s degree in any field combined with one year of paralegal experience, or have a high school diploma or equivalent plus seven years of experience as a paralegal combined with continuing legal education.
2. Do you have the necessary experience?
Depending on your education level, NALA requires anywhere from one to seven years of experience working as a paralegal before you hold the CP title.
Any legal office work experience you have will also help you as you prepare for the exam. This is because the exam designed to test the knowledge and skills of a professional paralegal.
3. Did you train for the paralegal certification exam?
You should treat the CP exam as if your future career could be at stake. One way to do this is a paralegal training course. Most professional paralegals agree that a training course is one of the best ways to prepare for the exam. Paralegal courses provide comprehensive training both in the profession and the certification exam itself.
For working adults, an online paralegal course allows you to study at your own pace and master the material you need to succeed in the paralegal field. This flexible option is ideal when you don’t have time to attend a class during the week.
4. Do you know what to expect on exam day?
You never want to walk into an exam with no idea what to expect. You want to form a plan of attack and prepare yourself, so there won’t be any surprises on test day.
The CP exam consists of two parts: the knowledge exam and the skills exam. The knowledge exam takes place year-round. Candidates must successfully pass this 120 multiple-choice questions portion before moving on to the skills exam. The skills portion, administered four times a year, involves a written essay
Since the Certified Paralegal credential was first introduced, over 28,000 people have obtained it. NALA membership continues to climb, and it currently stands at more than 7,000 people nationwide. Holding the Certified Paralegal title is a great way to set yourself apart and advance in your career as a paralegal. If you were able to confidently answer those four questions, it might be time to take the exam and join the ranks of Certified Paralegal.