Frequently Asked Questions about Certification
Certification is a credential you earn by demonstrating compliance with standards for professional competence. To “be certified” is a professional acknowledgement that you have met nationally recognized standards for competence, are able to demonstrate competency in ministry, and be recognized by the local church as being a competent, qualified minister.
Certification is currently for Parish Catechetical Leaders (CRE’s, DRE’s, Directors of Faith Formation, etc.) and Youth Ministry Leaders.
Certification will provide distinct benefits for lay ministers and the communities they serve. Certification will benefit the Church at large by utilizing nationally approved certification standards for lay ecclesial ministers in a process that provides diocesan certification. It will provide clear and uniform standards for ministry formation and allow dioceses to respond to the continuing educational needs of critical parish ministers. Certification helps us ensure a high quality of ministry in parishes and demonstrate that ministers are trained and professionally recognized as competent.
Certification standards give evidence of a profession’s focus and activities and the values to which it is committed; designate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes it deems desirable or necessary for effective functioning as a practitioner of the profession; and may be used as educational criteria in a process of formation and assessment criteria in a process of certification. The national standards are a result of a collaboration between several national organizations: the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL), the National Association of Parish Musicians (NPM), Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC), and the National Association of Lay Ministers (NALM).
Acknowledging that Lay Ecclesial Ministers (LEMs) have completed various types of ministry education and formation, three categories related to the type of education received in preparing for ministry have been created in the Diocese of Saint Cloud. Each category of certification represents compliance with the national standards and their competencies. However, the category denotes the type and level of education received by the LEM. The three categories of certification and their explanations follow.
Category I: Practitioner Certification: The lay ecclesial minister has demonstrated competence in all of the core standards and common competencies and in the corresponding specialized competencies for the specialization for either youth ministry leader or catechetical leader through participation in a ministry formation program sponsored by a diocese, independent organization, or institution of higher education.
Category II: Professional Certification: The lay ecclesial minister has demonstrated competence in all of the core standards and common competencies and in the corresponding specialized competencies for the specialization for youth ministry leader or catechetical leader, through the attainment of a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree from an accredited college or university in a related field or the equivalency.
Category III: Master Certification: The lay ecclesial minister has demonstrated competence in all of the core standards and common competencies for and in the corresponding specialized competencies for the specialization for youth ministry leader or catechetical leader, through the attainment of an advanced degree (Masters level or higher), from an accredited college or university in a related field or the equivalency.
For the most part, you’ll know which category of certification to apply for based on your educational experience. For instance, someone that has participated in the Ministry Formation Program of the Diocese but does not have other training in ministry would probably fit in Category I. Someone with a BA would fit in Category II, and someone with a MA would fit in Category III.
The situation may arise though, where someone has educational experience more equivalent to a category he or she does not have a degree for. For instance, some people that have been involved in ministry for a number of years taking advantage of many educational opportunities may better fit in Category II than Category I. In these cases, the applicant may well choose to pursue certification in Category II.
A candidate may submit a completed portfolio anytime during the year.
Here is an outline of the steps to becoming certified:
Kristi Bivens is the diocesan representative for certification in the Diocese of Saint Cloud and can be reached at (320) 251-0111.
Apply for certification.
Complete a certification portfolio based on the national standards.
Submit your portfolio for review.
Meet with Diocesan Review Committee about your portfolio.
Contact your diocesan education office. The certification process in the Diocese of Saint Cloud was designed by the statewide process sponsored by the MCEA Leadership Forum. Other Dioceses in the state of Minnesota are using a similar process.
Contact your diocesan certification representative. To help you determine if now is the time for you to pursue Certification.
There are two available processes of certification in the Diocese of Saint Cloud. The national process is sponsored by the Alliance for the Certification of Lay Ministers. The process described on this webpage refers to the process sponsored by Diocese of Saint Cloud.
Contact Kristi Bivens
Certification Representative for the Diocese of Saint Cloud