How do I Prepare for a Paralegal Certification Exam?

There are a variety of ways to study for a paralegal certification exam. Such exams are offered a variety of organizations and professional associations, each with its own set of requirements. A paralegal can check to see if he or she meets the prerequisites after deciding which one to take. These often include a combination of academic credentials and practical experience. Then he or she should devise a test preparation strategy. Studying relevant books or taking online classes and practice tests are some ways to prepare for paralegal certification.

In most cases, the first step in studying for a paralegal certification exam is determining which exam is appropriate for the individual’s professional background. The Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam is administered the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) in the United States, for example (PACE). According to the NFPA’s guidelines, paralegals who meet certain paralegal certification requirements are eligible to take the PACE. A degree or certificate from an accredited institution, as well as a certain amount of practical work experience, are usually required. Because extensive hands-on experience can sometimes be used to replace academic credentials, it is important to review the specific guidelines of each paralegal certification program.

The next step is to create a personal study strategy for the paralegal certification exam. The format and content of many of these tests varies. Some tests include a written essay, while others only have multiple-choice questions. Exams usually cover specific areas of law and may also attempt to assess a person’s general knowledge of administrative procedures. Exam takers can prepare for exams looking at the test’s format and the types of questions they’ll be asked.

Test takers can often find study aids from the professional organization or association that administers the exam. Study manuals, online courses, and practice tests are examples of such tools. Some paralegals may form study groups in person or online with other paralegals who are taking the same exam. Using these study aids and other available resources to prepare for a paralegal certification exam could be beneficial.

Different levels of paralegal certification are available in the United States through various professional organizations. The National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. is one example (NALA). By passing the exam, you can earn the title of Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP). The NALA also offers some specific courses that lead to an Advanced Paralegal Certification for paralegals who are already certified (APC).

In the United States, paralegal certification is not usually required in order to obtain a professional position. Nonetheless, as employers seek job candidates with specific qualifications, certification is becoming more common in the field. Passing a paralegal certification exam is a way to demonstrate those skills, and it can lead to more opportunities for advancement in the legal field.