According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam was introduced in 2011 to test the knowledge, skills and abilities of new paralegals. The federation provides a free downloadable study guide for the test and information about fees, applications and more. Taking and passing the test comes with several benefits.
1. More Job Opportunities
Passing the PCCE gives new paralegals a wider range of job opportunities. Many employers require new hires to take and pass the exam. Since many paralegal jobs require experience in a specific field or a certain number of years of general experience, new paralegals already face enough hurdles in finding jobs. It is important to have as many credentials and skills as possible. Passing the PCCE will look good on a resume even if it is not required for a specific job.
2. Improves Freelance Profile
For new paralegals who plan to work on their own as freelancers, taking and passing the PCCE is a must. It shows professional clients that the paralegal measures up in knowledge, abilities and skills. Since it is difficult to gauge a freelance paralegal’s skills based on a resume alone, hiring professionals often look to certifications and credentials that they know are measured using meticulous criteria. Adding PCCE pass status to a profile will usually help a freelance paralegal gain more connections and clients.
3. Improves Employer’s Profile
If a legal assistant who is working for a small private firm completes a paralegal degree while working at the firm, it is beneficial to the new paralegal and the employer to have the paralegal take and pass the PCCE. In addition to adding that they have a paralegal on staff, they can also add that their new paralegal has PCCE credentials. The good part about taking the exam while working for a firm is that the employer often pays for the exam fee and application fee.
4. Builds Knowledge And Skills
Another benefit of taking the PCCE is gaining more skills and knowledge. In preparing to take the PCCE, paralegals must put in plenty of hours of studying. By reviewing what was learned in school, going over vital points and practicing skills again, paralegals only make themselves stronger professionals. Preparing for a test and reviewing information several times helps it stay in a person’s memory and makes it easier to recall. In some cases, paralegals who struggled in certain areas in school may find those areas easier to confront when they study hard for the PCCE.
5. Boosts Confidence
Nothing feels better than making a major accomplishment. Passing a unit quiz or a final exam for a class feels like a small accomplishment. However, the major accomplishment of passing a test that comes with a large amount of studying and encompasses everything that was learned in every paralegal class is a feeling that no paralegal will ever forget. Passing the test gives paralegals the assurance that they have mastered important skills, have learned important information and now have what it takes to be successful, valuable and effective legal professionals.
These are just a few of the top reasons to take the PCCE. As their careers progress, paralegals will discover even more benefits of taking the exam and will thank themselves for investing the time to take it. Since the exam is open to new paralegals, it is important for students who are enrolled in a paralegal degree program to start studying and preparing for the PCCE as early as possible.
You might also like: What Kinds of Credentials do Paralegals Have?