Paralegal Certificate Schools in Texas

The Texas paralegal certification process is a lengthy one, that ends with an exam administered by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS). There are six areas of study one can be tested in: civil trail law, criminal law, estate planning and probate law, personal injury trial law, and real estate law. Though the applicant must choose one of these specialties to be examined in, when the person passes the exam, the TBLS states in their Standards for Paralegal Certification that, "No paralegal shall be required to obtain board certification in a specialty area of law before working under the supervision of a duly licensed attorney in Texas. A paralegal shall have the right to work in all areas of law."

Prerequisites for Paralegals in Texas

There are several prerequisites to complete before taking the exam. The applicant for certification must have at least five years of paralegal experience. The last three years of which must be immediately preceding the application for the exam. Those three years must have been completed in Texas and be in the area of specialization the applicant wishes to be tested in. On top of that, the applicant must have completed at least one of the following: a passing score in the National Association of Legal Assistants Certification Examination, a bachelor's degree in any field (or graduate degree), completion of an American Bar Association approved education program, a paralegal program that includes 60 or more credit hours with 18 of those hours in substantive legal courses, or four extra years practicing as a paralegal under direct supervision of a licensed attorney (9 years total experience). The applicant must also have at least 30 hours of continuing legal education (CLE).

If you meet the above requirements, then you are able to apply for the examination. First, you must download and fill out the application for the exam. There is a $50 application fee. Three references must be included in the application. The references must be professional and in the area of study the applicant wishes to test for. Then, the TBLS Advisory Commission in the specialty area will review the application and vote on its approval. If the vote is positive, than the applicant is eligible to take the exam.

Taking the Paralegal Certification Exam

The fee for the exam is $100. The test takes all day. In their Standards for Paralegal Certification, TBLS explains: "A certification applicant must pass a written examination applied uniformly to all certification applicants to demonstrate sufficient knowledge, proficiency, and expertise in the specialty area to justify the representation of special competence to the legal profession and to the public." The applicant is given three tries at the exam (the exam fee applies each time). If failed three times in a row, the applicant must wait another three years before trying the exam again. If the applicant passes, they are board certified for five years before they must take the exam again for recertification (at a cost of $15).