FastTrack Credentialing Program

FASTTRACK CERTIFICATION PILOT PROGRAM SNAPSHOT

Overview
•    The FastTrack credentialing program is a temporary Pilot Program that responds to the impacts of COVID‐19 & to increase individuals taking NFPA exams.
•    The FastTrack Program was created from a collaborative process of a Board Member Task Force.
•    This program was unanimously approved by the Board.
•    The Task Force will perform a review and re‐evaluation of the program in six months.
•    Staff will be tracking and reporting of issues discovered during the pilot time frame.
•    NFPA FastTrack Procedures.

Certification – FastTrack Fees
•    PACE® & PCCE® Application Fees reduced to $250
•    PACE® & PCCE® Reapplication/Retest Fees reduced to $150
•    PACE® & PCCE® Renewal Fee reduced to $50
•    60 Day Extension or Retroactive Extension fee reduced to $15
•    Suspension of the $25 processing fee
 


PACE® and PCCE® Application Information

INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED TO APPLY FOR ELIGIBILITY
•    Completed and Executed Application, which includes applicant’s agreement to each of the following:
•    Applicant Attestation
•    Confidentiality Agreement
•    Limited License to Use NFPA Credentials Agreement
•    $250 Application Fee or $150 Reapplication Fee (if reapplying within two years from original application date) *Note: no additional documentation is required with a re-application.
•    Letter from Attorney/Employer verifying Substantive Paralegal Experience (if eligibility relies on paralegal experience) – Substantive paralegal experience is defined below. Sample letter template can be found here
•    Copy of Education Transcripts (if eligibility relies on education)
•    Copy of DD214 or equivalent (if eligibility relies on military service)
•    Paralegal Certificate (from an ABA-approved paralegal or LLLT program or AAfPE member program. See below for certificate programs accepted).
•    Sufficient CLE Certificates meeting NFPA guidelines to satisfy the eligibility pathway requirement (see CLE section below for CLE guidelines).

NO REFUNDS will be provided on any application or fee except in the case of an error on the part of NFPA in accounting or administrative processing.

CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS ACCEPTED
•    ABA-approved paralegal or LLLT programs
•    AAfPE-member paralegal programs

SUBSTANTIVE PARALEGAL EXPERIENCE
“Minimum work experience” is defined as full-time employment performing the duties of a paralegal at least 80% of the time. Part-time employment is calculated on a pro-rata basis. 
“Substantive Paralegal Experience” 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/attorney. Each employer must verify the applicant’s substantive paralegal experience (as defined above) and the time during which the work was performed. The “Substantive Paralegal Employment Verification Letters” must be on the employer’s letterhead and specify dates, capacity of employment, and confirm the substantive paralegal experience with a statement from the employer that: verifies the work would have otherwise been performed by an attorney; the paralegal performed the substantive work at least 80% of the time, whether the paralegal was full time or part-time; the average number of hours worked per week and the time period of the employment. The Employment Verification Letters must match the employment history listed on the application and equate to the total experience required for the applicant’s selected eligibility pathway.

FastTrack PACE® Synthesized Pathways

Education, Military Service,
CRP credentials
Years of Substantive
Paralegal Experience
CLE
Bachelor Degree
or higher
2 years 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE,
within 2 years preceding application[1]
Associate Degree 6 years 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE,
within 2 years preceding application
Paralegal Certificate[2] 8 years 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE,
within 2 years preceding application
Military Paralegal Rank
of E6 or higher[3]
Defined by rank 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE,
within 2 years preceding application
CRP credentials renewed for at least 2 cycles Defined by PCCE 12 hours of NFPA-approved CLES,
including 1 CLE hour of ethics,
within 2 years preceding the Application
High School or GED 10 years 12 hours of NFPA-approved CLES,
including 1 CLE hour of ethics, within 2 years preceding the Application


Click here for the PACE® Exam Application.

FastTrack PCCE® Synthesized Pathways

Education, Military Service, CRP credentials Years of Substantive Paralegal Experience CLE
Bachelor Degree
or higher
6 months 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE, within 2 years preceding application
Associate Degree 1 year 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE, within 2 years preceding application
Paralegal Certificate[4] 1 years 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE, within 2 years preceding application
Military Paralegal
Rate (Job)[5]
Defined by rank 1 hour of NFPA-approved ethics CLE, within 2 years preceding application
NFPA Assurance of Learning Education Partner Students[6] N/A N/A
High School or GED 5 years 12 hours of NFPA-approved CLES, including 1 CLE hour of ethics, within 2 years preceding the Application

 

Click here for the PCCE® Exam Application.

Audit of Application Submission
Eligibility Applications will be approved, if all documentation and fees have been submitted. The applications are subject to a random audit to verify the submission documentation and information provided. Staff will assign 5% of the applications to a Reviewer to confirm the application and documentation meets NFPA guidelines. The Reviewer will review the documents and information submitted, verifying the information and documentation meet NFPA guidelines. If the application and supporting documents do not meet NFPA guidelines, the applicant will be given thirty days to cure the deficiency or the application will be denied and the eligibility to sit for the exam revoked. No extensions will be granted to cure any deficiencies identified on a completed application.
 


RECERTIFICATION/MAINTAINING THE CREDENTIALS

The Renewal Candidate shall:

Submit the Renewal Application between sixty (60) and one hundred and eighty (180 days) of the renewal deadline. Renewal candidate must complete and agree with the Renewal Application. Any application that is late or found not to be in compliance will be denied. Applications that are less than sixty days past the renewal date are eligible to submit a retroactive extension application and pay the associated late fee. Applications exceeding sixty days past their renewal date are not eligible for renewal.

Verify you continue to meet the Character and Fitness Requirements.

Verify you agree to the Confidentiality Agreement.

Verify you agree to the Credential Limited Licensing Agreement. 

Attest that you have reviewed all of the Renewal Guidelines contained within the FastTrack procedures and attest that the information and documentation provided meets these requirements under penalty of perjury.

Provide all supporting documentation at the same time as the Renewal Application including the NFPA-approved CLE certificates and copies of any approved extensions. CLES are discussed in more detail below.

Complete the Renewal Application process in advance of the deadline to renew. 

Pay the renewal fee of $50 at the time the Renewal Application is submitted.

Pay an Extension Request fee of $15 and submit the Extension Request Form IN ADVANCE of the deadline to renew, if the application will not meet the renewal deadline. If the renewal application is not received or approved prior to the deadline to renew, a $15 fee will be assessed as a late fee. Additionally, the applicant will be required to submit a Retroactive Extension Request to bring the expired credentials into compliance before any application to renew may be considered.

Respond to any requests by the Renewal Coordinator, Certifications Manager, the Vice President and Director of Paralegal Certification within thirty (30) days of the request. Failure to respond to the Reviewer or failure to provide the requested information or documentation within thirty (30) days of the request, will result in the application being denied. An exception may be awarded, if the applicant notifies NFPA that there were extenuating circumstances; such as hospitalization, active duty service, or a death in the immediate family, by providing additional verifying documentation. 

A “completed application” means all of the required documentation has been submitted, including the application, attestation, qualifying CLE certificates, paying the application/renewal fee, any approved extensions, and responding to any questions, outstanding issues or requests for additional documents by the Renewal Coordinators that may impact impacting the audit of the application.
 
Questions about renewing the credentials should be directed to the certifications@paralegals.org 

Click here to view the RP® Credential Renewal application
Click here to view the CRP™ Credential Renewal application.

Audit of Renewal Submissions

Renewal Applications will be approved if they are not out of compliance/expired. The applications are subject to a random audit to verify the submission documentation and information provided. Staff will assign 5% of the applications to a Reviewer to confirm the application and documentation meets NFPA guidelines. The Reviewer will review the documents and information submitted as part of the completed application verifying the information and documentation meet NFPA guidelines. If the application and supporting documents do not meet NFPA guidelines, the applicant will be given thirty days to cure the deficiency or the application will be denied and the credentials will be revoked. No extensions will be granted to cure any deficiencies identified on a completed application.  

Renewal reminders

As a courtesy, NFPA sends renewal reminders to the email address on file. Some email servers may block reminder emails from NFPA’s reminder system. However, obtaining the required CLE credits and completing the Renewal Application process before the renewal deadline is the responsibility of the individual. 

Failure to receive a reminder from NFPA is not a valid reason for an individual to miss their renewal deadline. Missing a renewal deadline by more than sixty (60) days will result in Revocation of the Credentials. 

It is the obligation of each credentialed paralegal to notify NFPA of any address changes or changes in contact information within thirty (30) days of such change.  
 


CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION (CLES)

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING PROOF OF REQUIRED CLE CREDITS IS EVERY TWO (2) YEARS ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE DATE ON WHICH THE EXAM WAS SUCCESSFULLY PASSED.  

Certificates of Attendance or Certificates Awarding CLEs credit are required to be submitted with the application to verify the CLE meets NFPA’s guidelines as outlined below.

CLE Approval under FastTrack

Under the new FastTrack credentialing program, all CLEs must come from one of the providers on the Approved CLEs list (below). You will no longer be able to submit 3rd party CLEs to NFPA for review and approval, in order to include with your application or renewal. 

Approved CLE providers for individuals (applications and renewals)
•    NFPA 
•    An NFPA‐member association
•    Bar associations (ABA, ATLA, local bar associations)
•    Any court within the US
•    Inns of Court
•    A military JAG School or military paralegal program
•    NALA
 
CLE Certificates must be submitted that comply with the following:
      o    Completion of the required number and type of CLEs 
      o    Approval from one of the organizations listed above
      o    The date of attendance or date of completion of the CLE (if a webinar)
      o    The name of the individual being awarded the CLE
      o    The number and type of CLEs being awarded (whether general, ethics or DIE)
      o    CLES must be completed within the 2 year renewal cycle

Renewals for PACE® require 12 CLES every two years, with one being either an ethics CLE or a Diversity, Inclusion or Equity CLE
Renewals for PCCE® require 8 CLES every two years, with one being either an ethics CLE or a Diversity, Inclusion or Equity CLE

DO:

  1. Submit 12 hours of CLE Certificates to renew the RP® Credential, with one hour being an Ethics OR DIE Course.
  2. Submit 8 hours of CLE Certificates to renew the CRP™ Credential, with one hour being an Ethics OR DIE Course.
  3. Submit CLE Certificates that were attended, or completed in the case of a webinar, within the two years since the last renewal. Example: If the renewal date is 06/01/2020, then all CLEs must have been completed between 06/01/2018 and 06/01/2020
  4. Submit CLE Certificates that are NFPA-approved courses. Courses are approved if the certificates include verification ON THE CERTIFICATE that they are approved by one of the above listed approved providers. An email from one of these organizations verifying the CLE approval may also accompany the CLE Certificate as an alternative form of verification. 
  5. Submit CLE Certificates that include the name of the Renewal Applicant as the attendee or participant; handwritten or printed on the document is acceptable.
  6. Submit CLE Certificates that include the number and type of CLE awarded by one of the NFPA-approved organizations. Example: General CLE 1.0 hours or Ethics CLE 2.0 hours
  7. Submit CLE Certificates

DON’T

  1. Submit CLE Certificates that do not total 12 CLEs required for the RP® Credential Renewal. 
  2. Submit CLE Certificates that do not total the 8 CLEs required for the CRP™ Credential Renewal.
  3. Submit CLE Certificates that were completed more than two (2) years from the renewal date.
  4. Submit CLE Certificates that don’t include the number and type of CLEs awarded.
  5. Submit CLE Certificates that don’t identify the attendee or participant.
  6. Submit CLE Certificates that do not include approval by one of the NFPA-approved organizations identified previously.
  7. Submit CLEs. receipts, print screens of other organizations CLE databases or copies of CLE course descriptions instead of the CLE Certificates. 
  8. Submit third-party CLE Certificates NOT approved by one of the NFPA-approved organizations listed previously. They must state the organizations approval on the Certificate in order to qualify.


Dual Credential Renewals

Those paralegals in good standing holding both the CRP™ and the RP® credentials may use the same CLE hours required in the renewal process, as long as they were obtained within the two year time period preceding their renewal date. Evidence of meeting the continuing legal education requirements for each credential must be submitted with the correct online Renewal Forms and can be located under Paralegal Certification and then Renewing your Credential. Certificates of Attendance are the required proof to verify attendance at a seminar. 

The same requirements for the CLE Certificates noted previously apply.

PACE and PCCE Review Course Information.
 


Additional Enhancements to the FastTrack Process


Prometric Begins Offering Proproctor® Option to NFPA Certification Candidates
•    Two ways to take the exam
      o    In a Prometric Testing Center
      o    Through a remotely‐proctored, internet‐enabled location of your choice using your computer’s camera, microphone
•    24/7 testing capability anywhere in the world, including your own home
•    Link to video Demo of the ProProctor® experience
•    Click here to check if your computer meets the requirements to use ProProctor® before scheduling
•    No additional fees to choose the remote proctoring option

PEG and NFPA partner to offer Free Review Courses for PACE® and PCCE®
•    Exclusive to NFPA and PEG
•    Six-month program
•    Go Live Date scheduled for June 1
•    Member-only, no-cost benefit
•    Offering PACE® and PCCE® On-Demand Review Courses
•    Access through NFPA Website Member Only Content (NFPA login required) 



Certification FastTrack Effects on the NFPA Credentialing Program (“FastTrack”)
•    Reduction in certification fees
•    Streamlined application process
•    Reduction of document requirements
•    Attestation of candidates to NFPA requirements
•    Audit 5% of applications and renewals
•    Streamlined Appeal Process

FastTrack Board Task Force Members
•    VPDM, Tom Stephenson, ILAP
•    VPDPC, Linda Odermott, RP®, OCP
•    Region I Director, Brenda Cothary
•    Region II Director, Lisa Lynch, CRP ™, CEDS
•    Region III Director, Tracey Woosley, RP ®
•    Region IV Director, Cathy Allard, CP
•    Region V Director, Becky Reedy
•    Consultant, Michael Reed, Founding Partner, Block|Reed
•    With additional input and guidance from
      o    Interim Executive Director, Dara Rudick, CEO, MHQ LLC
      o    Certifications Manager, Leslie Johnson
      o    President, Nita Serrano, RP ®, AACP
      o    Treasurer, Lori Wagner, RP ®, IRP
      o    VPDPD, Theda Yandell, RP ®

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