As of March 2013, there are 17,410 Certified Paralegals and nearly 2500 Advanced Certified Paralegals in the United States. Over 26,000 paralegals have participated in this program.
Click here to see the distribution of Certified Paralegals in the United States
Click here to see the distribution of Advanced Certified Paralegals in the United States
Click here for the performance table for the 2012 examination administrations. This summarizes the pass/fail rates, by section, for examinations administered in 2012.
Job Analysis Report
A report summarizing results of a major job analysis for the paralegal profession was released June 15, 2012. Click here to download the report in pdf format.
Since 1986, NALA has conducted nationwide utilization and compensation surveys every two years. A portion of the survey looks at the duties and responsibilities of paralegals and later surveys have included a section used by the Certifying Board which presents the major areas of the Certified Paralegal examination and topics included within those areas. Respondents are asked to rate the importance of each skill/knowledge to their work and frequency of use of the skill/knowledge in their day to day work environment. The job task analysis study is conducted to:
- Validate, and update as needed, the Certified Paralegal examination content specifications
- Ensure that NALA has current information about the roles and responsibilities of paralegals
The survey was conducted by NALA in consultation with psychometric consultant Dr. Kurt Kraiger, Colorado State University, and Janice Moore, CEO, SeaCrest Consulting Company, LLC, Charlotte, North Carolina.
In February of 2012, an updated survey was released to NALA members and non-members who are included on our mailing list. The survey was sent electronically to more than 10,000 NALA members and non-members. There were 1,484 respondents for a 14 percent response rate, typical of surveys of this nature.
The survey consisted of three sections:
- Demographic information
- List of general skills and knowledge of areas of the Certified Paralegal exam required of all examinees.
- List of skills and knowledge specific to the practice areas tested as elective sections of the Certified Paralegal exam.
Overall the respondents are representative of the population of working paralegals. 95% of the respondents are female. Responses were received from 49 states. 71% identified themselves as being members of NALA and 75% reported being certified paralegals. The average years of certification were 11 and average years of work experience were 15. 84.7% reported being currently employed as a paralegal. 53% reported a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree as their highest level of education. With reference to paralegal training, 37% reported they completed an associate degree program; 9% reported completion of a bachelor degree paralegal program. Survey respondents were reminded that the knowledge expected for Certified Paralegals is that of recent graduates of paralegal programs who have little or no practice experience.
Respondents were instructed to complete the importance and frequency ratings only for those areas in which the respondent has worked or has knowledge. In addition to the ratings of each item, respondents were asked to include comments about the exam subjects and suggest additional skills/knowledge the board may consider including in the tests. The board compared the importance and frequency ratings with the number of questions on each section of the examination, and reviewed the comments from respondents.
Extensive analysis of the 2012 Job Task Analysis data continued through 2012 and early 2013 with the Certifying Board working in consultation with PSI Psychometric Consulting Services. As a result of this analysis, the Certifying Board announced a change to the exam specifications, specifically to the Substantive Law examination section. The changes are described in an earlier section of this description. The new examination specifications are effective with the September 2013 examination.
The next detailed job tasks study is planned to be conducted in six years unless there are fundamental changes in the nature of the job such as changes in state laws that affect paralegal responsibilities.