OFFICE HOLIDAY CLOSURE
The NFPA office will be closed Dec. 23 – Jan. 5. Submission review will continue when normal office hours resume on Jan. 6. Expect review delays up to 15 days past typical review estimates. Thank you for your patience!
Requirements to Sit for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam® (PACE®)
Requirements for a paralegal to take PACE include work experience and education. The paralegal cannot have been convicted of a felony nor be under suspension, termination, or revocation of a certificate, registration, or license by any entity. Additionally, the candidate's experience must meet one of the following options:
Cost to take the exam:
NFPA Exam Fees are non-refundable. Before applying, applicants should confirm their ability to document their eligibility and be prepared to take the exam within 90 days, pending approval.
Candidates may sit for the exam at over 200 Prometric testing sites across the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The PACE Candidate Handbook (PDF) is available as a free download.
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.
The online PACE application process has two steps:
The online PACE application process has two steps:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each payment receipt contains a link to NFPA’s Submittable site. If this email is not received, please contact email@example.com 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.
Prometric testing site locator (Under "Select a Test Sponsor" choose "National Federation of Paralegal Association" from the drop-down list)
Once the eligibility statement is sent, the candidate has 90 days to take the exam. Upon completion, the preliminary score will be shown immediately. It is important to note that, preliminary results notwithstanding, the RP designation is not awarded until the results of the entire scoring run have been reviewed.
NFPA receives the scoring runs quarterly and, pursuant to the procedures established by the Certification Standards Committee, audits 7% of the exam applications prior to mailing the RP® certificates and credential maintenance instructions to the new Registered Paralegals. This stage of the process may take up to a month. NFPA maintains a list of active Registered Paralegals on the website.
Retaking the PACE Exam
If a candidate does not pass PACE, there is a thirty (30) day waiting period, from the date PACE is taken, before the paralegal becomes eligible to re-take PACE. To submit your exam retake request form after the 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 ($325 NFPA member fee or $350 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.
PACE Study Manual
You can order the Study Manual (7th edition) via this online form. Note the study manual purchase is separate from the exam application submission fee. PACE and PCCE study manuals are non-refundable. Shipping options are outlined on the order form; please plan accordingly based on your test date, review course, and study schedule.
If you already have an older edition, be assured that it will still assist you in preparing for the exam. As always, we encourage PACE Candidates to consult other source materials as well as the Study Manual in preparing for the exam, regardless of which edition of the Study Manual they use.
PACE Review Courses
Advanced Paralegal Institute (API) and the Paralegal Education Group (PEG) each have an NFPA-approved online PACE 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.
To maintain the PACE RP® credential, paralegals are required to obtain 12 hours of continuing legal education, including at least one hour in ethics, every two years. For more information see Maintaining Your Credentials.
Registered Paralegal (RP) Forms
The Certification Standards Committee may grant inactive status to an RP in good standing for a period of up to four (4) years upon application showing good cause.
NFPA will provide written notice (via e-mail) to the RP of the following:
The Certification Standards Committee will reactivate the RP status of an inactive RP upon application to Renew the credentials, to include documentation of the approved request for inactive status, CLE compliance requirements and payment of the appropriate renewal fee(s), received at least sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the inactive time period. RPs on inactive status are required to obtain ½ of the regular CLE requirements.
The Certification Standards Committee shall suspend the RP credential for a period of sixty (60) days based upon any of the following:
The Certification Standards Committee will provide written notice (via e-mail) to the RP of the action taken, effective date and time period of action, termination of rights to RP credential, requirements for reinstatement, consequence of failure to meet requirements, and appeal procedure.
The Certification Standards Committee shall revoke the RP credential based upon any of the following:
The Certification Standards Committee will provide written notice to the RP (via e-mail) of the pending action, grounds for pending action, effective date of action, right to respond to allegations (60 days, in writing, with supporting documents), and deliberation schedule.
The Certification Standards Committee shall consider all responses to notice of intention to revoke the RP credential within sixty (60) days of receipt of response to allegations. After such consideration, the Certification Standards Committee will again provide written notice to the RP (via e-mail). The RP credential will not be revoked and removed from all RP public lists until such time as the RP has been afforded every opportunity to appeal.
PACE - Development and History
About the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam® (PACE®)
At the 1994 mid-year meeting the NFPA membership voted overwhelmingly to develop an exam which could become a standard used by state legislative bodies to gauge the competency level of experienced paralegals. The PACE program launched in 1996.
The exam was developed by a professional testing firm in conjunction with an independent task force including paralegals, lawyers, paralegal educators and content specialists from the general public who are legal advocates. It is administered by computer in a proctored testing facility, consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in four hours, although many candidates complete it in two.
The questions are not practice-area specific, but are hypothetical issues testing advanced application of general knowledge, paralegal experience, and critical analysis ability to identify the correct answer. The exam covers tasks that experienced paralegals routinely perform, regardless of the practice area or geographic region in which they live. These tasks were organized into 4 domains: Administration of Client Legal Matters (26 statements); Development of Client Legal Matters (29 statements); Factual Legal Research and Writing (32 statements), and Office Administration (18 statements). Ethics are included in all of the above domains, as are technology and terminology.
As the utilization of paralegals increases and the roles they play become more varied, the legal profession has come to recognize the Registered Paralegal (RP®) credential as a signal of excellence. Review NFPA's Paralegal Certification Procedures.