CP Program

The NALA Certified Paralegal exam format consists of two sections, Knowledge and Skills. The Knowledge Exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions and the Skills Exam is an essay. Successful completion of both exam sections is required to obtain the CP credential.

Please be aware that certification is voluntary, and not imposed by the government. It is time-limited, which means that those who choose certification must fulfill ongoing educational requirements to keep the certification.

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. 

Candidates for certification must meet one of the following requirements outlined in Categories 1, 2, or 3 at the time of filing an application form.  

1. Graduation from or completion of a paralegal program, or currently in the last semester or quarter of the program, that meets one of the criteria listed in sections (a) through (e) below.

(a) approved by the American Bar Association; or
(b) an associate degree program; or
(c) a post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies; or
(In addition to the official school transcript, a candidate must submit an original course catalog or an original letter from the school registrar or program director attesting that the program is a post-baccalaureate certificate program requiring a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite.)

(d) a bachelor's degree program in paralegal studies; or
(e) a paralegal program which consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) are substantive legal courses.
(Candidates applying under Category 1(e) may combine college hours from more than one institution. The candidate 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 of experience as a paralegal or successful completion of at least 15 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of substantive paralegal courses.
(Those applying under the provision allowing for additional course work in lieu of the one-year work experience must submit an official school transcript showing completed course work.)

3. A high school diploma or equivalent plus seven (7) years’ experience as a legal assistant/paralegal plus a minimum of twenty (20) hours of continuing legal education completed within a two-year period prior to application for the examination.
(Evidence of continuing legal education credit is documented by the attorney/employer attestation that must be signed as part of the application form or by submitting a certificate of completions of CLE taken.)


The Certified Paralegal examination is a comprehensive assessment based on federal law and procedure. Successful completion of both the Knowledge and Skills Exams are required to obtain the Certified Paralegal credential. There are two sections of the examination as described below:

    • Multiple choice questions
    • Administered on-demand, year-round
    • Must successfully pass in order to be eligible to take the Skills Exam
    • Written assignment (essay), submitted electronically
    • Administered during four testing windows: February, April, July, October


Payment will be accepted by check, money order, credit card (Master Card, VISA, Discover, or American Express).

Application Fees:

  • $250 NALA Members    
  • $275 Non-NALA Members
  • Student - $125 NALA Members     
  • Student – $150 Non-NALA Members 

Retake Candidates:
$60 (per subsequent attempt for each Knowledge and Skills exam)

Withdrawal, Incomplete, or Rejected Applications
If an applicant must withdraw the application, a $75 cancellation fee is required.  If the application is incomplete or rejected, the application will be denied and a $75 processing fee is required.

View the CP Program Candidate Handbook for a complete description of the program.