A previous post mentioned some metrics about certified and not-certified paralegals (See my post of March 19, 2006 and the good comment to it.) The US Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics explains some of the levels of legal assistant certification.
“An estimated 1,000 colleges and universities, law schools, and proprietary schools offer formal paralegal training programs. Approximately 260 paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).” Moreover, “Paralegal programs include 2-year associate degree’s programs, 4-year bachelor’s degree programs, and certificate programs that can take only a few months to complete.”
The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) has set standards for certification requiring various combinations of education and experience. “Paralegals who meet these standards are eligible to take a 2-day examination, given three times each year at several regional testing centers. Those who pass this examination may use the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) designation.”
“NALA also offers an advanced paralegal certification for those who want to specialize in other areas of the law. In addition, the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam, administered through the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, offers professional recognition to paralegals with a bachelor’s degree and at least 2 years of experience. Those who pass this examination may use the Registered Paralegal (RP) designation.”