The Certified Paralegal (CP)

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The Certified Paralegal (CP) certification is a key to success, respect and opportunity throughout the legal profession. Here’s why:

  • Known as a national professional standard for paralegals 
  • Acknowledged by the American Bar Association as a mark of excellence 
  • More than 47 paralegal organizations acknowledge the CP as the definitive paralegal certification 
  • Responsive to the needs of paralegals and responsive to the fact that this form of self-regulation is necessary to strengthen and expand the development of this career field
  • A positive, ongoing, voluntary program to encourage the growth of the paralegal profession, attesting to and encouraging a high level of achievement


For over 45 years, NALA’s Certified Paralegal program has been recognized both nationally and internationally and has received recognition from both the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and the American Bar Association. On April 30, 2014, the NCCA granted accreditation to our program, making us the only accredited Certified Paralegal Program under its recognized organizations. Our CP credential has also been acknowledged by the American Bar Association as a mark of high professional achievement. With our acknowledgments, we pride ourselves on our professionalism while still maintaining lasting relationships with our certificants.

The Certified Paralegal Program sets paralegals a part in the workplace. Having the certification from NALA, sets you up as an industry leader capable of contributing to your company each and every day.

Successful completion of both exam sections (Knowledge and Skills) is required to obtain the CP credential. In order to apply for the CP Program, a paralegal must first be eligible. Once an applicant has been approved they will then proceed with taking the CP Exam.

To determine if you are eligible to take the CP Exam, please select the category that best applies to you:

  • Enrolled in or graduated from a paralegal program
  • Obtained a bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Seven years of experience as a paralegal

Our program consists of two exams, Knowledge and Skills, that you can read more about in this section.


Certifying Board Mission Statement

The NALA Certifying Board is committed to setting, improving, and evolving the professional certification standards by which paralegals demonstrate exceptional knowledge, skills, and integrity.

Vision Statement

The premier national certification credential for paralegals.

The NALA Certifying Board for Paralegals is responsible for the content, standards, and administration of the CP Certified Paralegal® Program. It is composed of paralegals who have received an Advanced Paralegal Certification designation, attorneys, and paralegal educators.

In the technical areas of statistical analyses, examination construction, reliability, and validity tests, the Board contracts with a professional consulting firm offering expertise in these areas as well as in occupational research. Technical and content analyses of the Certified Paralegal Examination are conducted on an ongoing basis to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the examination with job analysis studies conducted appropriately every six years.

During Certifying Board members’ Certifying Board term, Certifying Board members will not be involved in Certified Paralegal Exam review seminars and programs, or the preparation of written material designed to assist those preparing for a section of the Certified Paralegal Examination.

The Certifying Board member shall disclose to the Certifying Board chairperson immediately upon appointment any previous or current involvement in a review program and state the sections of the examination involved. Upon determination by the Certifying Board, the member may participate in exam development activities on subjects in which the Certifying Board member has expertise but no involvement in review programs.

Proctors, judges, and examiners should not have a vested interest (either clear, potential, or perceived) in the outcome of any examination. Therefore, they are considered third-party professionals who have signed confidentiality and conflict of interest agreements.

Individuals who participate in examination development activities as part of the Certifying Board and/or an exam development committee may not develop or deliver exam review seminars or programs, write or significantly contribute to examination preparation materials including books and articles for at least two years after their examination development work has been completed. Examination activities and examination development include item writing, item review, exam review, participating on a cut score study panel, and other activities during which the individual has access or participates in developing confidential examination content.

For information concerning standards of professional credentialing programs, you may want to see the article: The Certified Legal Assistant Program and the United States Supreme Court Decision in Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee of Illinois.

For Legal Professionals

The success of an office requires the right people. NALA Certified Paralegals are capable of providing superior services to firms and corporations and are highly motivated lifelong learners. By hiring NALA Certified Paralegals, employers can have peace of mind knowing their paralegals have passed a demanding examination of the knowledge and skills needed to provide excellent paralegal services. 


Upon hiring, attorneys can utilize NALA’s certification as a credible way to measure a paralegal’s skill set. If you need to verify that a potential job candidate is a CP, please check our Certified Paralegal Directory.

Please view the NALA Utilization and Compensation Report Summary of Findings to learn more about the paralegal profession.

Certified Paralegal Commitment

The Certified Paralegal credential is key to respect and opportunity throughout the legal profession. Earning this credential is a proud achievement, and maintaining the right to use it is a career-long commitment. Certification must be maintained through continuing education relevant to the demands of the paralegal career. The CP credential is valid for a period of five (5) years.

First Time Examinee Application Fees:
  • $250 – Members
  • $275 – Non-members
  • $125 – Paralegal Student Members
  • $150 – Paralegal Student Non-Members
  • $200 – Military NALA Members
  • $220 – Military Non-Members

NALA plays a significant role in helping service members and veterans apply their military training and experience to professional credentials.

The Certified Paralegal Examination Program has been approved by the Veterans Administration under the licensing and certification benefit. The VA will pay the examination fee for qualified veterans. For further information, see www.gibill.va.gov/.

NALA offers a 20% savings for the Certified Paralegal Exam application fee to (upon verification of military status) –

$200 – Members; $220 – Non-members:

  • active-duty service members;
  • veterans;
  • guardsmen;
  • reservists; and
  • their spouses

For information about how the military branch will cover the costs for the application fee, click on one of the following:

US Army Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL)
US Navy Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL)
US Coast Guard Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL)
US Marine Corps’ Credentialing Opportunites Online (COOL)

Please be sure to review the Eligibility Requirements and the Examinee Information pages to understand what is required of a Certified Paralegal examinee.