Graduation diploma scrollSome think that a certificated paralegal is the same as a certified paralegal, and often confuse this when applying for a position in a firm or corporation. What does it mean to have certification or be certificated, and earn a certificate and be certified?

Paralegal Certificate

The American Bar Association aims to distinguish a paralegal certificate and certification, as these have separate meanings and are not interchangeable. A certificate verifies that a student has successfully completed a paralegal educational program.

Paralegal programs are generally offered in universities and colleges approved by the ABA. These are also conveniently available online. Usually, these programs require a student to be a graduate of an associate or bachelor’s degree in another field of study before enrolling.

At The Center for Legal Studies, however, some courses only require a high school diploma or GED. After completing the program, the student becomes certificated in paralegal studies and issued Certificates of Completion.


Certification is the process where an organization grants formal recognition to someone who meets the criteria. There really is no need to acquire a license or registration for paralegals since they are working under the supervision of a licensed attorney who assumes full responsibility for the work output. A paralegal certification has become almost mandatory these days in many states.

There are two nationally recognized certification programs that administer examinations for paralegal certification. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) administers exams for Certified Legal Assistant (CLA). The National Federal of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) provides an exam called for paralegal Advanced Competency Exam that leads to PACE – Registered Paralegal or RP.

Talk to us for more information about paralegal studies and our wide range of paralegal courses. You can also browse the website for more resources regarding paralegal courses and career options.