August 10, 2018



Updated February 2022

The following information pertains to certification and recertification for NALS, the association for legal professionals.

ALP (Accredited Legal Professional)
PLS/CLP (Professional Legal Secretary/Certified Legal Secretary)
PP (Professional Paralegal)

Accredited Legal Professional
The ALP® is a four-hour, three-part exam, designed for students and entry-level professionals looking to get their foot in the door of the legal profession. It is often used as an exit exam for legal studies programs and serves as a great way to complement what has been learned in the classroom. Attaining this goal demonstrates commitment and aptitude for succeeding in the ever-changing legal environment and provides an opportunity to begin your career a rung above the competition.

Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) and/or Certified Legal Professional (CLP) 
The PLS® and/or CLP® is a one-day, four-part exam, designed for individuals with a minimum of 3 years of legal work experience who are looking to establish their credentials nationwide as a Professional Legal Secretary or Certified Legal Professional. Attaining this goal demonstrates a mastery of office skills, the discipline to assume responsibility and exercise initiative and judgment, dedication to professionalism, and acceptance of the challenge to be exceptional.

Professional Paralegal (PP) 
The PP® is a one-day, four-part exam, designed for students graduating from an ABA-approved legal studies or paralegal studies program OR individuals with a minimum of 5 years of paralegal/legal assistant experience who are looking to establish their credentials nationwide as a Professional Paralegal. Established in 2004 at our members’ request, the PP® designation is an attainable goal for paralegals who wish to be identified as exceptional in all areas of the law. Attaining this goal demonstrates knowledge and understanding of legal terminology and procedures, as well as procedural and substantive law.

Exam fees are as follows:

Examination Fees (due by the 15th of the preceding month)

Fees Retake –
1 Part Retake –
2 Parts Retake –
3 Parts
NALS Member $170 $85 $120 $155
Non-Member $195 $95 $140 $180
Military $135 $75 $105 $125
Full-time Student $135 $75 $105 $125

Examination Fees (due by the 15th of the preceding month)

Fees Retake –
1 Part Retake –
2 Parts Retake –
3 Parts Retake –
4 Parts
NALS Member $220 $90 $130 $165 $200
Non-Member $245 $95 $140 $180 $215
Military $195 $85 $120 $155 $180
Full-time Student $195 $85 $120 $155 $180

Examination Fees (due by the 15th of the preceding month)

Fees Retake –
1 Part Retake –
2 Parts Retake –
3 Parts Retake –
4 Parts
NALS Member $270 $100 $150 $190 $235
Non-Member $295 $110 $170 $215 $265
Military $245 $95 $140 $180 $215
Full-time Student $245 $95 $140 $180 $215
Current CLP/PLS $165
*All prices are inclusive of a $45 proctoring fee

You can register for any of the above-referenced exams by visiting

Currently, exams are online only.

Certification and Education Manager

This information above pertains to members seeking initial certification.

Recertification requirements include 50 hours of continuing CLE over a five-year period on the anniversary of passing your exam.

For those recertifying, make sure you keep track of all CLEs and time spent volunteering. Volunteer time counts and can be submitted along with CLEs. This is helpful because it can be difficult to accumulate the required CLEs. They also allow time for self-study.

The recertification application is online. It is straightforward and easy to navigate.

January 2022 update below from NALS:

The NALS Certifying Board recognizes the importance of staying competitive and relevant in the field, which is why in 2016 the alternative designation of Certified Legal Professional (CLP) was introduced for the same exam. Candidates and credential holders could choose which designation best represented their current role and/or career goals. Over the past two years, exam candidates and new credential holders have shown a strong preference for the CLP designation, leading the Certifying Board to only offer the CLP designation for new credential holders effective January 2022.
This change aligns with NALS’s strategic plan which inspired the NALS name update in July 2021. By implementing language that includes the wide variety of roles within the legal support industry, NALS demonstrates an understanding of professionals’ needs and employer demands, while positioning itself as the leading certifying body for all legal support professionals.
Current CLP/PLS credential holders may continue using the designation of their choice. Those using the PLS designation who wish to change to the CLP will be able to indicate this during their next recertification to receive a CLP certificate, or purchase a new certificate from the NALS store. The NALS Certified Professionals webpage will explain the connection between the two credentials for those wishing to verify PLS certification status.
NALS Certifying Board

NALS also offers free webinars and podcasts on their website. If you are a member, please consider establishing an online presence. It works much like LinkedIn and offers great networking opportunities. They also have an online law library.

For more details regarding certification, recertification, education, and networking, please visit

NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Association)

NFPA offers two credentialing exams:
The Paralegal CORE Competency Exam® establishes your education has prepared you for many types of paralegal work, Those who have passed the PCCE may proudly display the CRP® designation after their name.
The Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam® (PACE®) is for those with not only a comprehensive education in paralegal studies but also years of practical experience.  Those who have passed the PACE Exam may proudly display the PACE® designation after their name.

Certification Fees:

PACE® Application Fees – Members $325; Nonmembers $350
PCCE® Application Fees – Members $300; Nonmembers $325
PACE® Reapplication/Retest Fees – Members $325; Nonmembers $350
PCCE® Reapplication/Retest Fees – Members $300; Nonmembers $325
PACE® Renewal Fee – Members $100; Nonmembers $125
PCCE® Renewal Fee – Members $65; Nonmembers $100
60 Day Extension or Retroactive Extension fee – Members $50

All CLEs must be NFPA-approved. If you submit your CLE approval application at the same time as your renewal, your renewal will be returned. Please get prior approval.

Renew credentialing can be done online. For more information and details, please visit


Updated February 2022