The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) was founded in 1974. Since then, it’s become one of the most well-respected non-profit professional organizations for the paralegal industry. In fact, the NFPA is a compilation of over 50 member associations, which represents over 9,000 individual paralegals spanning all industries and specialties. Due to its wide scope of members, this dynamic professional organization offers above-average training opportunities as well as industry-leading certification examinations.
If you’re a professional paralegal wishing to enhance your standing in this dynamic field, then obtaining a membership and/or certification by the NFPA greatly enhances your career options. Since its beginnings, the NFPA has a strong placement within the various arms of the legal system; specifically within the realm of the paralegal profession. With its guidance, you’ll be on the cutting edge regarding legislation and changes to the paralegal industry.
Perhaps one of the most common reasons why a paralegal is interested in the National Federation of Paralegal Associations is to become certified. Because every state features unique regulations regarding employment and scope of practice for paralegals, standing out amongst the crowd can be a difficult task. One of the most effective ways to differentiate yourself from other paralegals is to become certified by the NFPA.
There are two primary credentials a paralegal may obtain through this professional organization. Each of these certifications are designed based upon your work and education history. If you’re first starting out within this profession, then you’ll likely be interested in the NFPA Paralegal CORE Competency Examination. This unique exam tests your working knowledge gained from your training. Upon graduation, taking and passing this examination earns you the CRP designation, which greatly enhances your marketability to employers. If you have little work experience, this certification is ideal to get your feet in the door with prospective employers.
Those who have not only completed a thorough training program in paralegal studies, but also have several years of work experience within this field will want a higher-level certification. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam; also referred to as PACE. This unique advanced-level examination demonstrates your above-average understanding of the United States legal system and the roles/responsibilities a paralegal has within this field. Upon passing this advanced certification examination, you’ll feature the coveted RP designation. This credential clearly demonstrates you’re a top performer within the industry. Generally, those seeking promotion or advancement within their career go after this challenging certification.
In addition to the NFPA certification, there are many options for obtaining paralegal certification online through university programs across the nation. These online education options offer flexibility, convenience, and a pace of study at which most schedules and obligations can accommodate. The options range from online paralegal certificate programs to Associates in paralegal studies, to even a Bachelors in paralegal studies. Regardless of your situation there is often an educational option available to help meet your goals of becoming a paralegal and beginning your legal career.