Due to the vision and hard work of program graduate Margaret Wojkowski, our Testing Center is applying to be qualified as a National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Testing Center to enable our students and graduates to earn their “Certified Paralegal” (CP) designation. To read about the benefits of certification see the following link: http://www.nala.org/certification.aspx
The test will be offered over a two-day period on either Sept 14-15 or Sept 21-22. The test will begin about 1 pm and last until about 5:30 pm. Up until now, our students or graduates desiring to become NALA -certified had to drive over an hour to the closest testing center, and pay a $250 fee. The COD testing fee for the NALA test has not been set, but it will be between $100-$200. The cost of the test will be reduced depending upon the number of students taking the test, because the primary cost is the proctors’ fee. If there are many test-takers, the proctors’ fee can be spread among the entire group, resulting in lower fees for everyone.
Here what Margaret wrote about why earning the “CP” designation is important to her:
As a recent COD graduate without much paralegal experience, I am striving to build my resume and distinguish myself from the rest of the field. Continuing legal education and addtional certifications are great ways to demonstrate a high level of aptitude in varying areas of law. Because Illinois does not require licensing for paralegals, qualifying as a Certified Paralegal through NALA demonstrates to potential employers that a standardized level of competency has been achieved.
Paralegals who have graduated from a program are certificated, not certified. (Read the explanation of the difference between the two designations on the ABA website, What Is the Difference Between a Paralegal Certificate and Certification?, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals.html .) Certified is the designation earned by paralegals who pass the CP exam given by NALA. Although the paralegal program at COD is well-known in this area, being a Certified Paralegal is a standard that is more widely recognized. Also, CP qualification is a great option for newly-graduated paralegals, because no paralegal experience is required to take the exam. Because of the benefits of earning the “CP” designation, I plan on taking the CP exam when it is offered at COD’s Testing Center.
If you are considering taking the CP exam when it is offered at COD’s Testing Center in September, please email Sherry Machacek at firstname.lastname@example.org. This gives us an idea of how many test-takers here will be and can help determine the testing fee.
I am grateful to Margaret to looking into this option so our students and graduates can further their careers by obtaining the prestigious “CP” designation.
Sally N. Fairbank
Paralegal Studies Program Coordinator