How to Get a Paralegal Certification
Have you completed a paralegal degree? Do you have a few years of practical working experience? Are you asking yourself what to do now? Consider asking yourself how to get a paralegal certification. This is your next step towards enjoying a fruitful career.
NFPA and NALA Certifications
When asking yourself how to get a paralegal certification, you should discern the type of certification you need to complete. The National Federation of Paralegals Associations (NFPA) and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) have very different paralegal certification examinations. The NFPA provides you with the title of Registered Paralegal upon successful completion, and you list in the national registry searchable database. You will be required to complete a variation of education, all of which must be from an accredited institution. People may have to complete six years of paralegal experience if they only have an associate’s degree. They will require three years of experience with an online bachelor’s degree in any subject. Only two years is required for people to complete a paralegal bachelor’s degree and four without any higher education at all.
The NALA provides you with the title of Certified Paralegal.You must have an associate’s degree, post-bachelor’s degree paralegal certificate, bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, or have current enrollment in a paralegal studies program. Alternatively, complete a bachelor’s degree in any subject, one year of paralegal experience, and 15 hours of substantive legal courses. If the first two requirements do not apply to you, then you must have a high school diploma, seven years paralegal experience, and 20 hours of continued education completed within two years of taking this certification examination. Other minute variations and requirements exist within each state, so be certain to check with each provider about their exact requirements prior to applying.
The ABA and NALS Certifications
If previous two certifications do not appeal to you while you contemplate how to get a paralegal certification, consider the American Bar Association (ABA) certification and the National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS). Not all states have ABA paralegal certification offerings. Some states offer paralegal specializations in their certifications. If your state does not offer an ABA certification, they provide a list of approved ABA educational institutions that you attend for distance or traditional classroom learning. You should prepare to take the other paralegal certifications, such as the NALA.
The NALS certification is another way to enhance your credentials. If you are a holding a non-paralegal degree, you will be required to have completed five years of paralegal experience. If you have a degree in paralegal studies, other paralegal certifications, or a paralegal certificate, you will be required to have four years paralegal experience. If you have a paralegal degree, you are only required to have three years of experience.
When deciding how to get a paralegal certification, consider which certification will be most advantageous to your career. Phone the prospective employers and someone in human resources to declare which certificate the company prefers.