How to get a paralegal certification through exams? What is the fee structure and eligibility criteria of a professional paralegal program certification? How to be a paralegal? So, let us go through the article for detailed answers. With reliable contacts across legal firms, paralegals have grown an attractive following in young students and professionals alike. There is an urge in all aspirants to quickly understand everything needed to get the certification. One can also go through our page, law school online for more information.

Therefore, we are summing up the responses to all the general queries about Certification exam. From which exams to sit for to paralegal certification if you already have a degree, you have reached the best place for all your answers.

How to get a paralegal certification
How to get a paralegal certification

How to get a paralegal certification?

The American Bar Association has set guidelines for organizations and institutions to provide paralegal certification near me to qualified aspirants. You will also get to know what qualifications do you need to be a paralegal. The certification process involves passing an examination, followed by a thorough interview and paperwork to prove specific requirements. This is the best approach for how to get paralegal certificate.

Currently, this certification process is entirely voluntary. Students can also opt-out of this and go for a degree or paralegal certification course in universities to get a practicing certificate. But constant discussions are going on between the state legislature, bar association, and paralegal organizations to standardize this certification process.

There are three main national certification exams conducted by:

  1. National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
  2. National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  3. Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)

How to get a paralegal certification? Everything you need to know

When you first arrive in paralegal school, the professors and dean might make it seem like you’d all be holding briefcases, living in a high-rise building, wearing ties, going to court, and having our own assistant to do your filing and typing once you complete your graduation. Additionally, you also get the impression that you would be making a ton of money as paralegals.

Well, we don’t want to break your hearts. But frankly, none of this is true when you first graduate from paralegal school with no work experience.

If you are connected to the person whose name is on the front door or at the top of the letterhead, you will have to pay your dues like anyone else, just as everyone else. So before you know how to get a paralegal certification, it’s important to prepare mentally.

Experience is something that cannot be purchased. Neither can it be learned in a classroom. But the silver lining is that, with time, as you gain reputation and experience, your salary will skyrocket.

Why are paralegals in demand?

Attorneys are looking for paralegals with real-world experience, who are willing to go beyond and above their limitations to complete the task. The explanation for this is that the paralegal worked hard to secure his or her fees and gain experience in the legal profession from the ground up. Remember the following things.

  • A majority of lawyers have no interest in knowing how many copies to be filed of an initial copy or what the court demands on a petition cover sheet in order to file a motion. 
  • Good attorneys know the law and how to argue it, and better attorneys know how to recruit effective, competent, and street-smart support workers, i.e. paralegals.

If you have proper knowledge of your job, you might soon get access to the promotion you have been aiming at. So how can a paralegal make ends meet, ascend the ladder of achievement, and emerge as one of the top practitioners of the twenty-first century? Let’s continue to know more about how to get a paralegal certification.

Upgrade your education constantly

Here are some tips to get started with your professional experience and knowledge gaining process:

  • Take a few lessons
  • Join forums
  • Stay up to date with legal developments 
  • Get a formal education
  • Network constantly

Formalizing your paralegal education would almost always improve your job prospects. There are various opportunities for formal paralegal education, depending on where you are with your paralegal career. You can choose any of the following paralegal education programs:

  • Associate’s degree
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree

To work as a paralegal in the United States of America, you typically need at least a two-year associate’s degree. But some companies in some states can hire people without a credential to do paralegal work. Certification often includes a two-year associate’s degree, but a credential program may be completed in a year to a year and a half.

Alternatively, you could become a paralegal in four years if you pair a bachelor’s degree with a paralegal qualification. In certain cases, you can complete a bachelor’s degree and a diploma in five years. Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in paralegal studies will broaden the career options and pay scale.

Continue reading below to know more about how to get a paralegal certification.

How much does it cost to get a Certification to be a Paralegal?

As the exams are nationally conducted, they can cost you between $150 to $300. This amount is excluding the expenses on course materials that an aspirant can choose. Let us look at the fee breakdown of taking a paralegal certification exam from one of the three reputed institutions.

  1. National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)

Core Registered Paralegal (CRP)- $215/$250 (exam fee is mentioned for the NFPA members and non-members, respectively)

Registered Paralegal (RP)- $225/$250

  1. National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

Certified Paralegal (CP)- $250/$275

Advanced Certificate Paralegal (ACP)- $250/$300

  1. Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)

Professional Paralegal (PP)- $150/$200

Specialty Certification (SC)- $150/$200

Also when discussing about how much does it cost to get a certification to be a paralegal? you should also know that additionally, you may have to pay $25-$30 for the application and re-appearing in some papers. Many paralegal organizations also provide local scholarships to meritorious students to take these exams. These national certifications surely increase your chance of getting a higher paralegal salary than your peers.

Professional Paralegal Certification

Professional Paralegal Certification

Professional Paralegal Certification – Top Organizations

Now that we know of the different levels of exams and fees for certification as well as how do you become a paralegal, let us learn about how to get a paralegal certificate if you already have a degree and the exam syllabus of the top reputed organizations. One can also check out on how to get a paralegal training.

National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

Eligibility requirements

  • A graduation degree or a paralegal qualifications approved by ABA
  • A bachelor’s degree with one year of experience as a legal assistant or 225 hours of equivalent legal course
  • High school diploma with seven years of legal experience and 20 hours of legal education credit


Paralegal Certification exam spans over two days and tests your knowledge of federal law and procedures. There are five parts of the law section: the American Legal System and four electives from the legal domain. Other subjects include Legal Research, Ethics, Communication, Human Relations, Legal Terminology, Interviewing Techniques, Analytical Abilities, and Judgement.

National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)

Eligibility requirements

  • An associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from an ABA-approved institute or six years of relevant paralegal experience
  • A bachelor’s degree with three years of experience in the paralegal field
  • A bachelor’s degree and an accredited program certificate with two years of paralegal experience
  • Four years of experience on or before December 31, 2000.


This is a two-tier examination where the first tier deals with ethics and legal issues. The second tier focuses more on state-specific issues and resolution.

The National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)

There are three main exams conducted by NALS:

  1. ALS- the basic certification
  2. PP- for practicing paralegals
  3. PLS- advanced certification

As the target category of these three examinations varies greatly, the eligibility criteria and exam pattern also differ. The exams are conducted in three or four parts and check the complete legal knowledge of the candidate. NALS also provides legal training courses to those with no experience for giving them a competitive edge. 

American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI) 

Eligibility requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in any discipline
  • An associate degree in Paralegal Studies from an ABA-approved institute
  • Certificate from ABA-accredited paralegal program


You do not need to sit for any specific examination at paralegal school near me for this certification. All the eligible candidates are provided with practicing certificates that need to be renewed every two years, by presenting detailed education and practice proofs.

This way, you can get certified and continue practicing paralegal duties, with more credibility and knowledge and higher paralegal salary. If you still have any queries on How to get a Paralegal Certification or how to become a paralegal, feel free to contact us. Also find us at online school for further information.