Frequently Asked Questions
General Contact/Overview FAQS
Q: I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org but I haven’t heard back. How do I escalate my question?
A: Please be patient with this inbox, as all certification emails land here and sending multiple emails only slows down turnaround time. Please allow 10 days for a response. If you have not heard back within 10 days, please send a follow up email at that time. Please also ONLY email email@example.com, as cc’ing additional staff also will slow down our response time.
Q. What is the difference between the PCCE and the PACE exams?
A. The Paralegal CORE Competency Exam® establishes your education has prepared you for many types of paralegal work and helps you stand out from others whose schooling and experience are otherwise similar. Those who have passed the PCCE may proudly display the CRP® designation after their name.
The Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam® (PACE®) is for those with not only a comprehensive education in paralegal studies but also years of practical experience. Earning the RP® designation by passing the PACE Exam shows that you are one of the best in the field!
Q: I have submitted my application or renewal and I want to make sure it was received. Who do I contact?
A: Please make sure you have waited 7 days from your submission before following up. In addition, the confirmation email will come from Submittable, so please be sure to monitor your spam/junk mail folder.
Q. What happened to the Regular Certification Program?
A. In an exemplary display of nimbleness, the Board suspended the regular certification programs in the wake of COVID-19 and rolled out this temporary pilot program to respond to the emergency created by the pandemic. Nothing has been deleted or amended to the regular certification programs, they are simply on pause.
Q. Is education still important in the FastTrack Program?
A. Education continues to be a pillar of NFPA, however the emergency pilot program took into consideration the added stressors the pandemic has created that are directly impacting potential candidates; the number of schools that shut down or closed due to the virus or converted to distance-learning only models, the rise in students who are dropping out of paralegal programs, the need for many to stay home to care for or home school their children, jobs or funding sources being terminated, and access to records impacted by local stay-at-home orders; not to mention the number of individuals who find themselves without employment who are looking for ways to expand their professional paralegal careers. The required educational component of PACE has long been a contested issue among the delegate body. Embracing the unique situation of 2020 and utilizing this unique opportunity presents NFPA with more data to fully evaluate the future of our certification programs.
Q. What if I don’t like elements of the FastTrack Program?
A. While elements of the program may be controversial to some and benign to others, the pilot program is temporary and will give NFPA additional data to understand who our PACE and PCCE audience are when we re-evaluate the pilot program at the end of its run (currently slated to go through March 31, 2021).
Q. Did the Board create new eligibility pathways in the FastTrack?
A. No. Every eligibility included as part of the Pilot FastTrack Program were based upon eligibility pathways existing in the regular certification programs, taking into account the concerns and impacts of COVID-19 listed above. The Task Force then added an additional education component to each of the FastTrack Pilot pathways; the requirement to complete one ethics CLE requirement (which can be either ethics OR a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity) before applying.
Q. I am not currently a paralegal, but I would like to take one of your exams/obtain more information about becoming one. Can you help?
A. Unfortunately, without having substantive work experience as a paralegal, you would not be eligible to take either of our exams under our current criteria. (For eligibility grids, please view our application page here). For more information on choosing a paralegal education program, assistance in finding a program and how to evaluate a paralegal program, please view our pamphlet, here. NFPA will not recommend any particular education program. You will need to make your choice based on your own research and evaluation of the above information, including How to Choose and NFPA's Curriculum.
Q. I meet the education requirements, but I have a foreign degree. Can I still apply?
A. Degrees obtained outside the United States must be evaluated by a professional evaluation for their equivalence to U.S. degrees. See here for foreign degree evaluation services. Paralegal certificates obtained outside the United States must be evaluated by the Certification Standards Committee.
Q. How do I find out if my education program is ABA or AaFPE approved?
A. You should be able to contact the school you attended. IN addition, you can check the Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs, here or search the AAfPE program list here.
Q. I have 20 years of experience, do I need a paralegal certificate?
A. Please refer to the eligibility pathway grids on the application page, here. Each horizontal line on the grid is one pathway option; you are not required to have a paralegal certificate if it does not meet the pathway you are pursuing. It is the responsibility of the applicant to review and determine which pathway meets their circumstances and individual eligibility. Please note that NFPA will not comment on individual eligibility without an accompanying paid application.
Q. Are there study materials, practice exams or other exam prep that you provide?
A. NFPA does not provide anything automatically. We do have a study manual for each book available for purchase, here. We do not currently offer any practice exams. If you are interested in review courses, we partner with API and their review course information can be found here.
Q. How many questions are on the exam?
A. PCCE is 125 multiple choice questions, lasting around 2.5 hours. PACE is 200 multiple choice questions, lasting around 4 hours.
Q. When is the exam?
A. Exams are held all throughout the year/ each month/ each week, at many different times as they are offered on a rolling basis. Once you have applied and been approved, you will receive your Authorization to Test email, which provides all of your eligibility information, along with instructions on how to schedule the exam with our testing vendor, Prometric. You will also have the option of testing on-site, or remotely. We cannot provide this information without an approved application.
Q. How will I be notified if I passed/failed the exam?
A. Scoring runs are processed monthly on the last Thursday of the month for the previous month’s exams. (IE A scoring run on February 25, 2021 will include scores from the last scoring run on January 28, 2021 through February 24, 2021). As such, you should receive your official score via email by the 1st of the month following the scoring run your exam falls into, or in this example, by March 1, 2021. Please note that we are unable to access your score without performing the full scoring run as a batch, and therefore cannot provide your pass/fail, even “unofficially” without this process being completed. Requests for exam scores for scoring runs not yet completed will be deleted.
Q. Where do I find information on renewal requirements/and or the link to renew?
A. Please visit our “Renew your Credential Page” here.
Q. I am retiring/now retired but I’d like to keep my credential; do you have options for this?
A. You can apply for Emeritus status in this case. The link can be found on our renewal page, or here.
Q. I will not have enough CLEs in order to renew on time. What are my options?
A. You can submit a credential renewal extension request, here. Depending upon the circumstances, it will give you between 30 and 60 days to complete additional CLEs and submit your renewal without penalty.
Q. If I am already past my expiration date, can I submit an extension?
A. You can submit a credential renewal extension request as mentioned above, and it will be applied retroactively. As such, you can not be more than 60 days out from your expiration date in order to be approved for the retroactive extension. Once you are more than 60 days past expiration, you have been revoked. At that time, you would need to submit a Revocation Appeal, which can be found here.
Q: I have third party CLEs to approve. How should I submit those?
A: Please review the Continuing Legal Education page here. While NFPA will no longer approve 3rd party CLEs, there are many pre-approved options available to you, in addition to alternatives for 3rd party CLEs receiving approval.
Q. My CLEs are from third party vendors and are not pre-approved by one of the listed organizations. Now what do I do?
A. 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)
- 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
CLE Certificates must be submitted that comply with the following:
- Completion of the required number and type of CLEs
- Approval from one of the organizations listed above
- The date of attendance or date of completion of the CLE (if a webinar)
- The name of the individual being awarded the CLE
- The number and type of CLEs being awarded (whether general, ethics or DIE)
- CLES must be completed within the 2 year renewal cycle
If your CLE Certificates do not meet these requirements, or are from a third party vendor, NFPA recommends submitting your CLES to your local Bar Association or your local NFPA-Member Association for approval. That approval can accompany your renewal application. Alternatively, NFPA offers a number of recorded webinars that meet NFPA’s requirements at low cost which can be found here.
Q. I am a CLE provider and I want to submit our course for NFPA approval. How do I do that?
A. NFPA Member Associations who wish to have their events advertised for NFPA CLE credit, please apply here.
All other CLE providers who wish to have their events advertised for NFPA CLE credit, please apply here.
Q. I didn’t pass the exam the last time and I took it and I’d like to apply again? How do I do so and what is the process?
A. If you do not pass the PCCE/PACE exam and it has been 30 days since your last attempt, you can apply for an exam retake request here.
Please note this is not the application itself, but it confirms you are eligible to retest. Upon approval, you will receive instructions on how to submit your retake application properly.
Q. I have passed the PACE/PCCE Exam! Now what?