Is there a difference between having a certificate in paralegal studies and being a Delaware Certified Paralegal? YES!
A person who has successfully completed a paralegal education and training program may receive a certificate. Receiving this certificate defines the conclusion of the educational process. It is your diploma. It does NOT mean that you are “certified” as a paralegal.A certified paralegal is a paralegal that has met specific state association requirements and/or completed a national certification exam. The requirements, in general, include: (i) graduating from a paralegal program; (ii) completion of a given amount of work experience; and/or (iii) acceptable performance on a qualifying examination or series of examinations. Specific requirements to become a Delaware Certified Paralegal can be found below.
Delaware Certified Paralegal Program (DCP)
On May 12, 2005, the Board of Directors approved the Delaware Certified Paralegal (DCP) Program in an effort to continue to promote a high level of education and professionalism, and to encourage continuing legal education for Delaware paralegals. Paralegals seeking the DCP certification must be Full members of DPA, and meet certain education and work experience requirements to submit an application. This is a voluntary certification program.
The DCP Committee will examine the qualifications of each applicant for certification and determine whether the applicant meets the necessary requirements. Approved applicants will be issued a certificate indicating certification by the DPA. The paralegal can then use the designation “Delaware Certified Paralegal” or “DCP.”
The following DPA members have been appointed by the Board of Directors to the DCP Committee:
Paralegals who are approved for DCP certification must follow DPA’s Code of Ethics and renew their certification status every two years. The renewal process consists of completing at least eight hours of continuing legal education with at least one of the eight hours covering ethics. DCP CLE credits will be offered at various monthly DPA lecture luncheons, lunch & learns and other CLE events throughout the year. In addition, there are many other avenues for DCPs to pursue to obtain applicable CLE credit. Please review Section VI of the DCP program and CLE application above for further information.