Paralegal Certifications: What Are The CLA/CP & ALP Exams?

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The legal field is both challenging and rewarding, offering numerous opportunities for those who are well-prepared. A key step in this preparation is obtaining paralegal certification, which can significantly enhance your career prospects. Washington Technical Institute (WTI) offers comprehensive online Paralegal Certificate Programs designed to prepare aspiring paralegals not only to excel in their roles but also to successfully sit for various paralegal certification exams.

Certificate Program vs. Certification: What's The Difference?

So, what's the difference between a certificate program and certification? These two terms, often used interchangeably, are actually significantly different. A certificate program refers to a course of study leading to a formal credential, while certification is an official recognition of specialized skills by a professional body.

Certificate Program

A certificate program, such as those offered by Washington Technical Institute (WTI), is an educational course or series of courses that provide instruction in a specific field or skill set. On completion, participants receive a certificate indicating they have gained knowledge and training in that particular area. Here are some key aspects:


Certification, on the other hand, is a designation given by a professional organization to signify that someone has met certain competency standards in a profession. To obtain a certification, individuals usually need to pass an exam and may need to meet other criteria such as work experience or continuing education. Important points include:

Management responsible for quality control, ISO certification. Product quality guarantee, service and efficiency.Checked garantee of standard of company product

What’s The Difference Between A Certificate & Certification?

The terms 'certificate' and 'certification' are often tossed around interchangeably, yet they refer to two different processes. In this blog post, we look at the differences between these options and how they impact your career journey.

In the context of a paralegal career, completing a certificate program provides the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to perform effectively in the role. Certification, like the CLA/CP or ALP, is a further step that validates your expertise and dedication to the field to employers and peers.

By integrating both educational and professional milestones, WTI's Paralegal Certificate Programs not only equip you with essential knowledge but also position you strongly for successful certification, enhancing your career prospects and professional standing in the legal community.

Understanding the CLA/CP & ALP Exams and Certifications

Navigating the world of paralegal certifications can be daunting. Two of the most significant certifications in this field are the Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP) and the Accredited Legal Professional (ALP). Let's break down what each of these certifications entails.

Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP)

The CLA/CP certification is offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It is a nationally recognized credential that demonstrates a high level of professional achievement and signifies proficiency in paralegal studies.

  • Comprehensive Coverage

    The exam covers various areas of law, legal ethics, and substantive and procedural law.

  • Eligibility Requirements

    Candidates typically need to have completed a paralegal education program or have a combination of education and work experience.

  • Recognition

    Earning the CLA/CP designation indicates a commitment to the paralegal profession and is respected by employers and peers alike.

Accredited Legal Professionals (ALP)

ALP certification is offered by NALS, the association for legal professionals. It is designed for those starting their legal careers and serves as a foundational certification for legal support professionals.

  • Focus Area

    The exam tests knowledge in written communications, office procedures, ethics, technology, and legal knowledge.

  • Pathway for Advancement

    The ALP certification is often seen as the first step in a series of certifications offered by NALS, leading to further professional development and specialization.

  • Professional Development

    This certification is ideal for those seeking to establish a strong foundation in the legal support field.


Preparing For Certification

Washington Technical Institute’s Paralegal Certificate Programs are specifically designed to prepare students for these prestigious exams. The curriculum is closely aligned with the knowledge areas tested in both the CLA/CP and ALP exams, ensuring that students not only receive a comprehensive education in paralegal studies but are also well-prepared to earn these valuable certifications.

Washington Technical Institute

The journey to a successful paralegal career is enriched through both educational achievement and professional certification. WTI's Paralegal Certificate Programs provide the necessary knowledge and skills, while also meticulously preparing you for crucial certification exams like the CLA/CP and ALP. Enrolling in WTI means more than just earning a certificate; it's a significant step towards a rewarding career in the legal field.

WTI is committed to offering affordable education with the option of monthly payments, aiding our students to graduate with minimal or no debt. For those who may need additional financial support, we have partnerships with Climb Credit and Ascent, focused on financing career-oriented educational programs.

Ready to embark on your paralegal training journey? Enroll easily through our website. For any queries or further information about our programs, please call us at 800-371-5581 or text us at 952-465-3702. Our admissions specialists are eager to assist you with any questions you might have, ensuring a smooth start to your professional development

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Advance your education with an accredited certificate program from Washington Technical Institute (WTI). WTI is Regionally accredited by the Middle States Association CESS, and licensed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as an institution of higher learning.


Washington Technical Institute is Regionally accredited by the Middle States Association CESS, and licensed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as an institution of higher learning.