Paralegal Certification - Paralegal CORE Competency Exam and Credentialing

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. PACE and PCCE study manuals are non-refundable. Manuals are typically mailed within a week or order and take 3-5 days to be received. Please plan accordingly based on your test date, review course, and study schedule.

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. 


Effective March 1, 2016, the exam fee is $215 for members/$250 for non-members.  In addition, all candidates must pay a $25 application processing fee.  Before applying, applicants should confirm their ability to document their eligibility and be prepared to take the exam within 90 days, pending approval.

Once the completed application and supporting documentation have been received by NFPA headquarters, the payment is processed, qualifications checked and the candidate information is entered in Prometric's system.  After NFPA headquarters receives notice that the candidate information has been accepted by Prometric, an eligibility statement is sent to the candidate by e-mail informing them that they may schedule their appointment with a testing center near them.  This series of events generally takes one to two weeks. 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. Submit a completed ADA Test Accommodation Request Form with your exam application.


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 six (6) month waiting period, from the date PCCE is taken, before the paralegal becomes eligible to re-take PCCE. Candidates must submit a completed application,  $215 NFPA member fee (or $250 Non-member fee), and the $25 application fee to re-take PCCE. It is now possible to waive this waiting period at your own risk using this form but no sooner than four weeks from their most recent exam attempt. Effective October 2018, exam candidates are limited to three (3) exam attempts in two years - one original attempt and two retakes. NFPA Exam Fees are non-refundable.

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. Review NFPA's Paralegal Certification Procedures.

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);
A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, no experience or CLE;
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;
An associate’s degree in paralegal studies, no experience or CLE;
An associate’s degree in any subject, a paralegal certificate, no experience or CLE;
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;
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;
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; 
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; 
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.

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CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP) Forms

Additional questions may be directed to

Evaluate Your Paralegal Program against NFPA guidelines



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