Among the exhibitors at the recent AAfPE Conference was Tracy Young, President of NFPA. NFPA has long been a leader in paralegal certification programs focusing primarily on the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) and RP certification. It now offers an exam to certify the competency of entry-level paralegals in core competencies. Not surprisingly the exam is entitled the Paralegal Core Competency Exam (PCC Exam).

NFPA materials state:

The PCC Exam is designed to test the core competencies in early-career and entry-lebel paralegals and takes into account coursework in paralegal programs as well as actual skills considered essential to basic competency in the profession. [I like to think that those two categories are not mutually exclusive – indeed, that they go together.] The exam also covers law office technology and ethics.

This credential would presumably look very good on a resume for someone trying to break into the first-job market dominated by ads citing “at least two years of experience” requirements, since he two years of experience requirement is often inserted to ensure that the applicants have certain core competencies. For more information check out the PCC Exam Candidate Handbook.

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One Comment

  • Ellen Wright says:

    Having taken-and passed-the PCC exam, I can tell one and all that it is comprehensive and, well, satisfying. I read all the criticisms of the pre-test study materials. Frankly, I didn’t think much of them at the time and still don’t. There is not a feasible way for any examining body to “tell” you the areas that the exam will cover with the kind of precision that will enable the taker to “ace” the test. Let’s face facts-that should have gone by the boards in high school. We’re grown ups-or should be. We should know how to study and how to “cover the ground”. To my way of thinking, that criticism was unjustified and completely uncalled for.

    NFPA DOES tell you all the areas that will be covered in the PCC handbook. They are not kidding. It is a lot of material. If you didn’t keep your textbooks, PP slides, classwork, and notes-well, sugarpie, you are going to be up that proverbial creek without so much as a canoe-never mind the paddle. That is just the way it is. Welcome to the grown-up world. Time to pull up your big girl/boy britches and stop whining.

    Why am I taking this attitude? Excellent question and one that deserves an answer. I am a career changer. I come from a field that requires professionals to be board certified and to maintain continuing education or you could not continue to stay in the working field. Staying abreast of the continuing changes in a field that moved rapidly is something that I learned early was something I had to do. It wasn’t a choice-it was a requirement. Now I am an advocate of the method. It keeps people from becoming stagnant.

    I am a CRP paralegal-and I’m proud of it.

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