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Application-Qualifications, Administration Policies & Procedures, and Fees
Effective 2018, the Certified Paralegal examination is available on-demand, Monday-Saturday each day with an exception of holidays.
To be eligible for the Certified Paralegal examination, a paralegal must meet one of the following requirements listed below. The NALA Certifying Board and NALA do not provide nor approve any education that is required for initial certification.
1. Graduation from a paralegal program that is:
- (a) Approved by the American Bar Association; or
- (b) An associate degree program; or
- (c) A post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies; or
- (d) A bachelor's degree program in paralegal studies; or
- (e) A paralegal program which consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (900 clock hours or 90 quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (225 clock hours or 22.5 quarter hours) are substantive legal courses.
Note: An applicant may combine college hours from more than one institution. The applicant must have graduated from a paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 15 semester hours (or 225 clock hours or 22.5 quarter hours.) Evidence of the minimum hours required under Category 1(e) must be provided with the application form.
2. A bachelor's degree in any field plus one year's experience as a paralegal. Successful completion of at least 15 semester hours (or 22.5 quarter hours or 225 clock hours or equivalent CEU hours) of substantive paralegal courses will be considered equivalent to one year's experience as a paralegal.
3. A high school diploma or equivalent plus seven (7) years' experience as a paralegal under the supervision of a member of the Bar, plus evidence of a minimum of twenty (20) hours of continuing legal education credit to have been completed within a two (2) year period prior to the examination date.
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.
• 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.