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. 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 in six months.
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 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.