Paralegal Certification - Paralegal CORE Competency Exam and Credentialing

PCC Exam logo

The Paralegal CORE Competency Exam™ (PCCE™) was developed to assess the knowledge, skills and ability of early-career and entry-level paralegals. It became available in November of 2011. The handbook is available as a PDF download. The exam is administered by computer at Prometric Test Centers throughout the United States and Canada. For full details, please refer to the brochure. (PDF)

The PCCE Study Guide 1st Edition can be ordered from our online form for addresses in the United States.  Call NFPA headquarters for other destinations. 

The application fee is $215, payable by credit card (only) through the application website. You have 90 days to take the test from the date your application is accepted. To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, special testing accommodations will be considered for individuals with disabilities recognized by the ADA. Appendix D of the handbook contains a form for these requests.

  • Competent
  • Organized
  • Responsible
  • Ethical

Scoring runs for the exam are processed quarterly, with individuals receiving their certificates and score reports approximately six to eight weeks after the scoring run is processed.

On June 11, 2011, 188 paralegals took the PCCE pilot test at 12 test sites across the country. Of the paralegals who completed the test, 146 achieved a passing score of 550 or better. Those paralegals were the very first CORE Registered Paralegals™ and have earned the right to use the CRP™ credential. Since then, many more paralegals have joined their ranks.

PCCE Review Courses

Advanced Paralegal Institute (API) and the Paralegal Education Group (PEG) each have an NFPA-approved online PCCE Review Course.  For more information, and/or to register, click here for details of API’s course or click here for details of PEG’s course.

Eligibility Criteria

To sit for the PCCE, you must meet one of the options below:

A bachelor’s degree in any subject, a paralegal certificate, no experience or continuing legal education (CLE);

OR

A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, no experience or CLE;

OR

A bachelor’s degree in any subject, no paralegal certificate, 6 months of experience and 1 hour of ethics taken in the year preceding the exam application date;

OR

An associate’s degree in paralegal studies, no experience or CLE;

OR

An associate’s degree in any subject, a paralegal certificate, no experience or CLE;

OR

An associate’s degree in any subject, no paralegal certificate, 1 year of experience and 6 hours of CLE, including 1 hour of ethics taken in the year preceding the exam application date;

OR

Active duty, retired or former military personnel qualified in a military operation specialty as a paralegal and 1.0 hour of Ethics CLE within the year preceding the exam application;

OR

Candidates who are within two months of graduating and registered for the PCC Exam by a Director of a paralegal studies program participating in the PCCE Assurance of Learning (AoL) Program at the Partner level; 

OR

A paralegal certificate from a program that meets or exceeds the requirements set forth in NFPA’s Short Term Paralegal Program Position Statement , 1 year of experience and 6 hours of CLE, including 1 hour of ethics taken in the year preceding the exam application date; 

OR

A high school diploma or GED, 5 years of experience and 12 hours of CLE, including 1 hour of ethics taken in the 2 years preceding the exam application date.


Additional questions may be directed to pcce@paralegals.org.

modified 8/17/2015

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