General Policies

EFFECTIVE with the 2018 Administration

Exam Administration Policies and Procedures

  • Knowledge Exam
    • Candidates must first pass the Knowledge Exam.
    • Candidates are eligible to take the Knowledge Exam only after they have graduated from an educational program, if using that eligibility pathway, or have the required minimum experience, if using the experience category. The new system of on-demand  testing will remove deadlines to apply for the examination. Candidates will be able to apply when they are eligible.
    • Once NALA approves an application for the Certified Paralegal examination, candidates will have 365 days from the approval date to sit for the Knowledge Exam. If the candidate does not take the Knowledge Exam within 365 days of the initial approval date, NALA will return the application to the candidate. The examination fee is nonrefundable.
    • Candidates who do not pass the Knowledge Exam must wait 90 days before re-taking it.
    • Candidates must pass the Knowledge Exam within the first three attempts during the 365 day period or wait 365 days before trying again.
  • Skills Exam
    • Candidates who pass the Knowledge Exam are then eligible to take the Skills Exam and must complete the Skills Exam within the next 365 days after receiving notice of eligibility from NALA.
    • Candidates must wait at least 2 weeks after passing the Knowledge Exam before receiving eligibility to take the Skills Exam.
    • Candidates who do not pass the Skills Exam must wait 90 days before re-taking it.
    • Candidates must pass the Skills Exam within the first three attempts in a 365 day period or start over by re-taking the Knowledge Exam.

Fees are Non-Refundable
Payment may be made either by check, money order, or credit card (VISA, Master Card, Discover, or American Express). 

Exam fees

  • First time candidates
    • Nonrefundable examination fee of $250 for NALA members, $275 for nonmembers.
    • Includes one attempt for the Knowledge Exam and one attempt for the Skills exam.
  • Retake candidates
    • Nonrefundable attempt fee of $60 per subsequent attempt for the Knowledge Exam.
    • Nonrefundable attempt fee of $60 per subsequent attempt for the Skills Exam.

Withdrawal, Incomplete, or Rejected Applications
If an applicant must withdraw the application, or the application is incomplete or rejected, payment is non-refundable.

Testing Center Fees
Testing center fees are NOT included in the examination application fee. 

Americans with Disability Act
The Certified Paralegal examination is administered in compliance with requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. All special requests must accompany the application form. Click here to download the form. Examinees qualifying for special accommodations under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act must attend a PSI testing center.

An individual’s application status, exam results, and personal identifying information is confidential and will not be released by NALA to any person without the consent of the individual or as required by law, except to exam proctors as required for administration of the exam. 

NALA does not discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or family status.

Appeal Process for Applicants Who Receive an Adverse Eligibility Decision
Applications accepted for the Certified Paralegal examination are accepted on the basis of proof of meeting the eligibility requirements as enumerated on the application form and in the candidate information and submission of the required fee. If an applicant is unable to provide proof of meeting any of the requirements, the applicant is encouraged to contact NALA Headquarters.  The procedures for approving applications allow the following:

  • For those qualifying under the 7 years’ paralegal experience requirement, attestations of employers are required for the entire 7 year period.  If it is not possible to reach former employers whose attestation is required, the Certifying Board will accept an affidavit of the current employer attesting to the previous years of work as a paralegal.
  • As stated in the application requirements, applicants may combine hours of course work from more than one institution.

If an application is not accepted, the candidate may, within 30 days of the date of denial of application, appeal the decision of the Certifying Board under the following circumstances:

  • It is not possible to provide a transcript of completed course work because the school no longer exists.
  • If qualifying under categories which require experience, the application may be considered if the experience requirement is not fully met, and the paralegal is able to submit proof of the need for certification for employment or advancement in employment.
  • An application for the Certified Paralegal examination was submitted and previously accepted but has expired, provided the candidate meets the current eligibility requirements.
  • Financial hardship.

In appealing a decision to deny an application based on the reasons listed above, the candidate must submit documentation to substantiate the claim, and a signed and notarized attestation that the information is true and correct.

The Certifying Board Chair, working with certification staff, within 30 days of receipt of the appeal, shall make a determination regarding the appeal and the candidate’s eligibility to take the examination. In the case of financial hardship, the Chair may suggest a payment plan for the candidate, but the fee may not be waived.  The decision of the Certifying Board Chair is final.

Appeal of examination results

An examinee may appeal, in writing, to the Certifying Board for review of the Board’s actions concerning examination results.

Such appeal must include the candidate’s basis for the appeal and any and all relevant documentation to be considered, and must be received at NALA Headquarters within thirty (30) days after release of the examination results. The Board Chair and NALA Headquarters staff will promptly investigate to determine whether the documentation submitted meets the Certifying Board’s requirements for review of examination results. If it is determined that the appeal does not meet the requirements, the examinee will be so advised. If the information meets the Board’s requirements for an appeal, such appeal shall be reviewed by an Appeal Committee which shall be comprised of a minimum of three (3) members of the Certifying Board, to include a paralegal educator, an attorney, and an Advanced Certified Paralegal. Each member of the Appeal Committee shall have served a minimum of one (1) year on the Certifying Board.

The Appeal Committee of the Certifying Board will determine whether a decision made by the Certifying Board was inappropriate if: (1) the decision was based on material errors of fact, or (2) the NALA Certifying Board failed to follow published criteria, policies, and procedures.

Only facts and conditions up to and including the time of the Certifying Board’s decision are eligible for consideration during the appeal process.

After consideration of the matter under appeal, the Appeal Committee shall submit its recommendation for action to the Certifying Board. A majority vote of Certifying Board members shall be final and binding in the matter under appellate review.

Cheating and Misconduct in the Certified Paralegal Examination Program
Cheating and misconduct are not tolerated in the Certified Paralegal Program. Candidates are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity at all times and during all phases of the certification process - including exam preparation, testing, and re-certification.

Filing a Complaint
If a candidate is believed to have acted with dishonesty or with intent to misrepresent at any time during the certification process, the Certifying Board reserves the right to bar that individual from the program immediately while investigating the circumstances.

Evidence of misconduct includes, but is not limited to, violation of the terms and conditions of testing, unfairly gaining exam information by using unauthorized materials or web sites during the examination, or by providing unfair assistance to another candidate at any time during the exam preparation or delivery period.  This evidence may include visual observation during the test period or other tangible evidence.

Evidence may be filed in writing to NALA Headquarters by examination proctors, fellow examinees or others with knowledge of possible misconduct.  Proctors and examinees may also contact NALA certification staff by telephone on the day of testing if it is believed cheating is observed.

Procedures for Investigating Complaint

The Certifying Board’s Procedures for Disciplinary Proceedings are published in their entirety on the NALA website, to view please click here. They are also found in the Certifying Board’s Policy Manual in Policy #304.

If the Board concludes that there has been a violation of the terms and conditions of testing by a CP examinee during any testing session, it will determine which of the following disciplines is appropriate, which may include:

  • all examination sections will be voided with no refund of fees and no scores reported;  the candidate may be prohibited from taking the CP examination indefinitely.
  • the candidate will be prohibited from taking the Certified Paralegal examination (or any section) for a period of not less than two years from the date of the violation;
  • all sections must be taken or retaken if the examinee is permitted to re-test and, as a condition for re-testing, the Certifying Board shall require the candidate to complete a specific number of hours of Legal Ethics, approved for CLE credit, to be completed within a specific period of time prior to eligibility for re-testing; documentation of completion of the ethics CLE hours is required.  The program may be approved by a paralegal professional association, bar association, or offered for college credit or continuing education units.