Paralegal Certification - Paralegal CORE Competency Exam and Credentialing



NFPA Test Administrator Update

Prometric, our test administrator, has notified NFPA that they are closing their testing sites for the next 30 days.

NFPA will extend any authorization to test for any candidate impacted by the events surrounding the COVID-19 health crisis up to 60 days, as needed. Any candidate who experiences a delay in testing due to a testing facility being closed for the next 30 days will be contacted by Prometric's Candidate Care Team with instructions on how to reschedule their exam at no charge.

NFPA is also working with Prometric on remote proctor exam options and will update our membership when those come online.

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.


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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.

Please review the handbook and eligibility requirements carefully before submitting! Questions regarding eligibility should be directed to the Vice President & Director of Paralegal Certification at

Review NFPA's Paralegal Certification Procedures.

Apply for the PCCE

Apply online to take the PCCE by clicking the button below. Please have all application materials ready before starting the two-step application process. After submitting payment you will be directed to an external website, Submittable, to send your documentation. 


The exam fee is $300 for members/$325 for non-members.

Before applying, applicants should confirm their ability to document their eligibility and be prepared to take the exam within 90 days, pending approval.

The online PCCE application process has two steps:

  1. Payment of application & exam fee (through this site)
  2. Submission of supporting documentation (through an external site, Submittable)
  • Download the Work Affidavit - you'll need to submit this completed form with your application so please have it signed before you submit. 
    • Before completing the Affidavit of Work Experience, the applicant should confirm their work experience meets the criteria listed below.
      • Minimum work experience is defined as full-time employment performing the duties of a paralegal at least 80% of the time. “Duties of a paralegal” is defined as the performance of substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer. The paralegal may be contracted with or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency, or other entity, or may be authorized by administrative, statutory, or court authority to perform this work.  
      • Substantive paralegal work experience must be verified by each employer (or previous employers, if necessary) by letter from the employer. Each employer must verify the applicant’s substantive paralegal experience (as defined above) and the time during which the work was performed. The “experience confirmation letters” must be on the employer’s letterhead and specify dates, capacity of employment, and confirm the substantive paralegal experience. The individual or combined experience confirmation letters must equal the total experience required for the applicant’s selected eligibility pathway. 

Each payment receipt contains a link to NFPA’s Submittable site. If this email is not received, please contact within 24 hours of payment. Applicants have three (3) days from date of payment to upload and submit exam documentation.

*NOTE pursuant to NFPA Policies and Procedures Section 11.16 and as outlined in the Candidate Handbook, Application Fees are non-refundable.

Applications received after three days of payment will require an additional $25 application fee prior to review. If they don’t have one already, applicants will need to create a free Submittable account to upload their materials. This is a separate account from your NFPA website log-in!

Applicants may save their work as a draft while gathering materials. Submitted applications will be processed AS IS and those found to have incomplete or unacceptable documentation will be subject to delays and/or additional fees.

Please have all application materials ready before starting the two-step application process. After submitting payment you will be directed to an external website, Submittable, to upload your documentation.

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. Submit a completed ADA Test Accommodation Request Form with your exam application.

Evaluate Your Paralegal Program against NFPA guidelines


Retaking the PCCE Exam

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. If a candidate does not pass PCCE, there is a thirty (30) day waiting period, from the date PCCE is taken, before the paralegal becomes eligible to re-take PCCE.
To submit your exam retake request form after the thirty (30) day waiting period, click here.

Applicants reapplying within two years of their original exam date do not need to resubmit their application materials in Submittable (Step 2). Upon approval of the above retake request form, they only need to repay the exam fee ($300 NFPA member fee or $325 non-member fee) and indicate "Yes" to retaking the exam. Retake instructions are provided upon approval of the retake request form.

Exam candidates are limited to three (3) exam attempts in two years - one original attempt and two retakes. NFPA Exam Fees are non-refundable.

PCCE Study Manual

The PCCE Study Manual 1st Edition can be ordered from our online form for addresses in the United States.  Call NFPA headquarters for other destinations. PACE and PCCE study manuals are non-refundable. Please note that PCCE study manuals take 5-7 business days to process once ordered. PCCE study manuals are shipped via USPS as media mail which can take 2-8 business days or longer depending on your location. Please plan accordingly. 

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.

PCCE History

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.

CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP) Forms

Additional questions may be directed to

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