Certified Or Registered?

If you want to start a career in the paralegal field, then it is important to know the differences between having a certificate and being certified.

Paralegal Certificate

An individual who has successfully finished a paralegal training and education program might get a certificate. Getting this certification will show that the educational process was completed. However, this will not suggest that this individual is a certified paralegal. When this certification is received at certain institutions students would have obtained a Bachelor’s Degree before getting into the program. The undergraduates will receive their Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies after completing their education as opposed to a certificate. If you need additional information about the different paralegal programs, you can check with the advisors responsible for admissions.

Certified Paralegal

Certified paralegals are persons who completed the certification examination and have fulfilled specified prerequisites. In general, these requirements include:

  • Graduating from an accredited paralegal program
  • Satisfactory performance on qualifying examinations or perhaps a compilation of exams and/or completing a recommended amount of working experience

At this time, there are a number of organizations offering certification examinations:

  • NALA or The National Association of Paralegals awards the status of Certified Legal Assistant or Certified Paralegal to individuals who have satisfied the requirements, including passing a proficiency examination. Advanced specialized certification or CLAS exams will also be given by NALA, similar to several state specific examinations for advanced competency.
  • NFPA or The National Federation of Paralegal Associations awards the status of Registered Paralegal to individuals who have satisfied the requirements for working experience and education and also have successfully passed the exam for Paralegal Advanced Competency.
  • The Texas Board for Legal Specialization provides a voluntary specialized certification program within six sections of Texas law. Some other states offer state-specific exams.
  • NALS, which is the Association for Legal Professionals, provides three different paralegal certifications of distinct levels .

The American Bar Association will not certify paralegals or legal assistants. Paralegals cannot present themselves as ABA certified, since the ABA’s endorsement is applicable to the paralegal education program as opposed to the individual legal assistant. Center for Advanced Legal Studies provides the Certificate Program designed for College Graduates as well as the AAS Degree meant for Undergraduates. These programs are approved by the ABA.

Why it is important

Lawyers are urged by the State Bar Associations to encourage continuing education as well as excellence amongst their paralegals or legal assistants. When a Paralegal successfully finishes a professional Certification Examination this will help to assure clients and employers that they have a specific level of competence and understanding.

Becoming Certified Is The Answer To Higher Paychecks

Find out more about the differences in certified paralegal and registered so you don’t make any mistakes. The benefits of paralegal certification are huge and not just because you will earn more money.