There are no prerequisites to take this course. However, you will need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to start a career as a paralegal. It is also recommended that you have basic computer skills, including proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite and fundamental keyboarding skills. A strong grasp of English grammar conventions, such as spelling, punctuation, and composition, is also recommended.
To meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the NALA Certified Paralegal exam, you must meet one of the following requirements: You must have 60 semester hours, of which at least 15 hours* (225 clock hours) are from paralegal studies or hold an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in any field, or have seven years of experience as a legal assistant under the supervision of a member of the Bar. Please review the exam requirements before enrolling in this course.
*Note: (15 semester hours = 225 clock hours) - This course is 225 hours and can be combined with 45 semester hours to meet the 60 semester hours required in option 1(e). If you do not have 45 semester hours, you will need to meet eligibility with category 2 or 3)
If you plan to pursue the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certified Paralegal (CP) credential, you must meet one of the NALA Certification Eligibility Requirements. We recommend determining eligibility before enrolling in this course. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements, this Legal Secretary course will prepare you for an entry-level legal career that can build up to the paralegal role.
NALA Certification Eligibility Requirements
You must meet one of the following requirements outlined in Categories 1, 2, or 3 at the time of filing an application form to be eligible for the CP certification exam through NALA.
1. Graduation from or completion of a paralegal program:
- (a) approved by the American Bar Association; or
- (b) an associate degree program in paralegal studies; or
- (c) a post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies; or
- (In addition to the official school transcript, a candidate must submit an original course catalog or an original letter from the school registrar or program director attesting that the program is a post-baccalaureate certificate program requiring a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite.)
- (d) a bachelor's degree program in paralegal studies; or
- (e) a paralegal program that consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) are substantive legal courses.
(Candidates applying under Category 1(e) may combine college hours from more than one institution. The candidate must have graduated from a paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 15 semester hours (or 225 clock hours or 22.5 quarter hours.) Evidence of the minimum hours required under Category 1(e) must be provided with the application form.)
2. A bachelor's degree in any field plus one year of experience as a paralegal or successful completion of at least 15 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of substantive paralegal courses.
(Those applying under the provision allowing for additional course work in lieu of the one-year work experience must submit an official school transcript showing completed course work.)
3. A high school diploma or equivalent plus seven (7) years' experience as a legal assistant/paralegal plus a minimum of twenty (20) hours of continuing legal education completed within a two-year period prior to application for the examination.
(Evidence of continuing legal education credit is documented by the attorney/employer attestation that must be signed as part of the application form or by submitting a certificate of completion of CLE taken.)