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Top 10 Legislative Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for legislative assistants, including information about requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are an important asset for a legislative assistant in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the individual has acquired specialized knowledge and skill sets that are critical for success in the field. Certification programs provide formal recognition of an individual’s expertise in particular areas, such as public policy, political science, or legislative research. Certifications indicate to employers that the applicant is knowledgeable and qualified to handle a variety of tasks related to legislative work. They also demonstrate dedication and commitment to the profession, which can be attractive qualities for employers looking for reliable and competent staff members. Having certifications can give a legislative assistant a competitive edge over other applicants in the job market.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Legislative Assistants and explain how they can benefit a career in the field.

What are Legislative Assistant Certifications?

Legislative assistant certification is an educational program that provides specialized training for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a legislative assistant. This certification gives students the necessary knowledge and skills to work effectively and efficiently in the legislative arena. The program teaches students how to analyze complex legislation, research public policy issues, draft bills, and prepare reports. It also provides instruction on relevant topics such as legal and parliamentary procedures, ethics, budgeting, leadership development, media relations, and communication strategies.

By gaining this certification, legislative assistants are better equipped to navigate the complexities of the legislative process. They have a better understanding of the roles they play within their organization or institution. In addition to providing them with essential knowledge and skills, the certification also allows them to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in their field. This can be beneficial when applying for jobs or seeking promotion within a current position. Furthermore, having this certification may give individuals an edge over their competition when competing for positions in government or other organizations that require legislative experience.

Pro Tip: When considering a certification in legislative assistant, it is important to research the different certifying organizations and find one that best meets your needs. Many certifications require specific educational backgrounds and/or experience in the field, so make sure you understand the requirements before signing up for a program. Additionally, look for certifications that are regularly updated to ensure you are receiving the most current information related to legislative assistance.

Related: What does a Legislative Assistant do?

Top 10 Legislative Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Legislative Assistants today.

1. Certified Legislative Professional (CLP)

Certified Legislative Professional (CLP) is a professional certification program for individuals who work in legislative and public policy-related fields. The CLP program was developed by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to recognize professionals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, experience, and expertise in the field of legislative affairs.

The CLP program requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and experience through an extensive application process that includes an examination and completion of required coursework. The exam covers topics such as the structure and operations of state legislatures, the roles of legislators, staff, lobbyists, and other stakeholders in the legislative process, and legal concepts related to legislation.

It typically takes two years to complete all requirements for the CLP certification. During this time, applicants must complete at least 60 hours of approved coursework related to legislative processes and procedures. Applicants must also pass a comprehensive exam covering all areas of legislative affairs.

In order to apply for the CLP certification, applicants must first become members of NCSL. Membership costs $50 per year for individuals or $100 per year for organizations. After becoming a member of NCSL, applicants can then apply for the CLP certification by submitting an application form along with supporting documentation such as transcripts from any courses taken related to legislative affairs or letters from employers attesting to their experience in this field.

The cost for taking the CLP exam is $225 plus applicable taxes. Once applicants have passed the exam, they will be awarded their Certified Legislative Professional credential which is valid for three years before it needs to be renewed.

2. Certified Legislative Administrator (CLA)

Certified Legislative Administrator (CLA) is a professional certification program offered by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The program is designed to recognize and promote excellence in legislative administration. It is open to all individuals who have at least five years of experience in legislative administration and management.

The CLA program consists of three components: an online application, a written examination, and an oral interview. The online application requires applicants to provide information about their education, experience, skills, and other relevant qualifications. Once the application is submitted, it is reviewed by the NCSL’s Certification Board which determines if the applicant meets the minimum qualifications for certification.

If approved, applicants will receive instructions on how to register for the written examination. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as legislative process, budgeting, public policy analysis, and research methods. Applicants must pass this exam with a score of 70 percent or higher in order to be eligible for certification.

Following successful completion of the written exam, applicants must complete an oral interview with members of the Certification Board. This interview assesses candidates’ knowledge and understanding of legislative processes as well as their ability to communicate effectively with legislators and staff.

The cost for the CLA program varies depending on whether you are a current NCSL member or not; non-members pay $400 while members pay $200. In addition to this fee, there may be additional costs associated with taking the written examination and attending the oral interview. It typically takes between four and six months from start to finish to complete all three components of the CLA program and receive your certification.

3. Certified Legislative Analyst (CLA)

Certified Legislative Analyst (CLA) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the analysis of legislation. The CLA certification is administered by the National Conference of State Legislatures and is designed to recognize those who possess a thorough understanding of legislative policy, processes, and procedures.

It typically takes about six months to complete the requirements for the CLA certification. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have at least three years of experience in state or local government legislative analysis and must pass an exam. Applicants must also submit an application along with transcripts from an accredited college or university showing completion of at least 24 semester hours in political science, public administration, or related fields.

The cost for the CLA certification varies depending on where you live. In most cases, it costs between $500-$700 to apply for the program and take the exam. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with obtaining transcripts and other necessary documents required for application.

4. Certified Public Policy Professional (CPPP)

Certified Public Policy Professional (CPPP) is a professional certification program offered by the National Association of Public Policy Professionals (NAPPP). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in public policy and its related disciplines. The CPPP credential is highly valued by employers and demonstrates that an individual has the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to effectively manage public policy initiatives.

The CPPP program consists of a series of courses and exams that must be completed in order to receive the certification. The program typically takes between six months and one year to complete, depending on the individual’s level of experience. To become certified, applicants must have at least three years of experience working in public policy or a related field.

In order to apply for the CPPP certification, applicants must submit an application form along with their resume and cover letter. Applicants must also provide proof of their work experience as well as transcripts from any higher education institutions they attended. Once accepted into the program, applicants will be required to complete all coursework within a specified timeframe.

The cost of the CPPP program varies depending on several factors including location, number of courses taken, and type of institution offering the courses. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 - $4,000 USD per course. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking exams or receiving certifications upon completion of the program.

5. Registered Parliamentary Procedure Consultant (RPPC)

Registered Parliamentary Procedure Consultant (RPPC) is a professional designation given to individuals who have achieved a level of expertise in the field of parliamentary procedure. This designation is awarded by the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP).

To become an RPPC, one must have a minimum of five years experience in teaching or practicing parliamentary procedure and pass an exam administered by the NAP. The exam consists of two parts: a written test and an oral test. The written test covers topics such as Robert's Rules of Order, meeting management, and ethical considerations. The oral test includes questions on parliamentary procedure and other related topics.

The process to become an RPPC typically takes about six months from start to finish. To begin, applicants must register with the NAP and pay the registration fee. After registration, applicants must complete an online application form and submit it along with supporting documentation such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and proof of experience in teaching or practicing parliamentary procedure. Once all documents are submitted, applicants are eligible to take the exam.

The cost for becoming an RPPC varies depending on whether you are a member or non-member of the NAP. For members, the cost is $175; for non-members it is $225. In addition to these fees, there may be additional costs associated with taking the exam such as travel expenses if you need to take it at a location outside your home state.

6. Certified Government Affairs Professional (CGAP)

Certified Government Affairs Professional (CGAP) is a professional certification offered by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in government affairs and public policy. The CGAP program provides an opportunity for association professionals, lobbyists, and other government affairs practitioners to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in this field.

The CGAP program consists of two parts: a written exam and a portfolio review. The written exam covers topics such as government relations strategy, advocacy tactics, legislative processes, public policy analysis, coalition building, and communications. The portfolio review assesses the applicant's experience in government affairs and public policy through the submission of documents such as resumes, letters of recommendation, and sample projects.

The CGAP program typically takes 6-12 months to complete depending on the individual's availability for study and preparation for the exam. To get started with the CGAP program applicants must first submit an application form along with a $250 application fee. Once accepted into the program applicants will receive access to online course materials which they can use to prepare for the written exam. Upon successful completion of both parts of the program applicants will be awarded their CGAP certification.

The total cost of obtaining CGAP certification is approximately $1,000 including application fees ($250), exam fees ($500), course materials ($150) and portfolio review ($200).

7. Advanced Legislative Process Management Certification (ALPMC)

Advanced Legislative Process Management Certification (ALPMC) is a professional certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage legislative processes. The certification is offered by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The ALPMC program consists of four courses: Introduction to Legislative Process Management, Advanced Legislative Process Management, Leadership in Legislative Process Management, and Strategic Planning for Legislative Processes. Each course requires approximately 20-25 hours to complete.

To obtain the ALPMC certification, an individual must successfully complete all four courses and pass the final exam with a score of 80% or higher. Upon successful completion of the coursework and passing the final exam, the individual will receive their ALPMC certificate.

The cost for obtaining the ALPMC certification depends on whether you are an NCSL member or non-member. For NCSL members, each course costs $200 USD; for non-members, each course costs $250 USD. Therefore, the total cost for obtaining the ALPMC certification is $800 USD for NCSL members and $1000 USD for non-members.

8. Certified Lobbyist Professional (CLP)

Certified Lobbyist Professional (CLP) is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skill and experience in the practice of lobbying. It is administered by the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics (NILE) and is designed to promote ethical and professional standards among lobbyists.

To become a Certified Lobbyist Professional, an individual must meet certain educational requirements, pass an exam, and demonstrate at least three years of experience in lobbying or related activities. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as lobbying regulations, ethics, and public policy.

The CLP program typically takes between six to nine months to complete. After completing the educational requirements, applicants must register for the exam with NILE and pay a fee of $350. Once registered, applicants can begin studying for the exam using materials provided by NILE.

Once an applicant passes the exam, they will receive their CLP designation from NILE and be recognized as a Certified Lobbyist Professional. This designation is valid for three years after which time it must be renewed by retaking the exam or completing continuing education credits.

9. National Association of Parliamentarians Accredited Parliamentarian (NAPAP)

The National Association of Parliamentarians Accredited Parliamentarian (NAPAP) is a professional designation for those who have demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of parliamentary procedure. This designation is awarded by the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP), an international organization dedicated to promoting the use of parliamentary procedure.

To become a NAPAP, one must complete a rigorous course of study and pass a comprehensive exam. The NAP offers online courses and in-person seminars to help students prepare for the exam. Generally, it takes approximately two years to complete the necessary coursework and pass the exam.

In order to be eligible to take the NAPAP exam, applicants must be members of the NAP in good standing and have completed at least four levels of education through the NAP’s educational program. The cost for membership ranges from $75-$150 depending on your level of experience.

The cost for taking the NAPAP exam is $275, which includes all materials needed to take the test as well as access to additional resources such as practice tests and study guides. Once you have successfully passed the exam, you will receive your official certificate as an Accredited Parliamentarian from the NAP.

10. American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries Certified Clerk/Secretary Program (ASLCSCCS)

The American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries Certified Clerk/Secretary Program (ASLCSCCS) is a certification program that recognizes the knowledge, skills, and abilities of professional legislative clerks and secretaries. The program is designed to provide recognition for legislative clerks and secretaries who have demonstrated a level of proficiency in their profession.

The ASLCSCCS certification process involves three steps: an application, an examination, and a practical assessment. Applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as educational transcripts and experience records. Once the application is approved, applicants can take the examination, which consists of multiple-choice questions related to legislative processes and procedures. After passing the exam, applicants must complete a practical assessment in which they demonstrate their knowledge by performing tasks related to legislative operations.

The entire certification process typically takes between six months and one year to complete. The cost of the program varies depending on the state or jurisdiction in which it is offered; however, most programs charge a fee ranging from $125 to $250.

Do You Really Need a Legislative Assistant Certificate?

The answer to whether or not you really need a Legislative Assistant Certificate is ultimately up to you. It all depends on your career goals and the level of commitment you are willing to make.

A Legislative Assistant Certificate can be an excellent way to gain knowledge and skills related to legislative activities, as well as demonstrate your dedication and commitment to the field. With this certificate, you will have the opportunity to learn about current legislative trends, how laws are made, and how different branches of government interact with each other. Additionally, this certification may give you an edge in job interviews for positions that require specialized knowledge of the legislative process.

On the other hand, it is possible to gain sufficient knowledge and skills without obtaining a Legislative Assistant Certificate. You can develop your understanding of legislative processes through research and self-study. You may also be able to find internships or volunteer opportunities that will allow you to gain hands-on experience in the field. However, if your goal is to become a professional in this field and be taken seriously by employers, then having a certificate could make a difference in helping you achieve that goal.

Ultimately, it’s important for you to assess your individual needs and decide what works best for you when it comes to obtaining a Legislative Assistant Certificate.

Related: Legislative Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Legislative Assistant Certifications

1. What is a Legislative Assistant Certification?

Answer: A Legislative Assistant Certification is an official recognition of expertise in the field of legislative affairs. It signifies that the holder has proven knowledge and experience in matters such as research, drafting bills and resolutions, working with government officials and agencies, and providing support to legislators.

2. How do I become certified as a Legislative Assistant?

Answer: To become certified as a Legislative Assistant, you must complete a program approved by the National Association of Legislative Assistants (NALA). This usually involves completing coursework in core areas related to legislative affairs, such as research methods, public policy analysis, and government organization.

3. What are the benefits of becoming certified?

Answer: Being certified as a Legislative Assistant can open up new opportunities for career advancement and higher pay. It also gives you a competitive edge over other applicants when applying for jobs or promotions in the field of legislative affairs. Additionally, certification demonstrates your commitment to professional excellence and can be used to validate your skillset to employers.

4. Is certification mandatory for all Legislative Assistants?

Answer: No, certification is not mandatory for all Legislative Assistants; however, it is strongly recommended if you want to demonstrate your expertise in the field and gain an edge over other applicants when seeking employment or promotions.

5. How long does it take to become certified?

Answer: The time frame for obtaining certification will vary depending on individual circumstances; however, most individuals should expect it to take several months or longer due to coursework requirements and other factors such as availability of testing dates or exam results processing times.