How to Earn Paraprofessional Certification
Paraprofessional certification is available to those who do not have a bachelor's degree and are working or volunteering in an area of specialized ministry.
1. Contact the certification registrar of your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry. Your pastor can help you contact your annual conference office, who can provide you contact information to your Board of Ordained Ministry.
2. Identify the paraprofessional certification area that interests you and contact the school or training organization. (See below for programs and email links.)
3. Once accepted into the program of your interest, enroll in the United Methodist ministry certification process by completing and submitting this form(Enrollment in Paraprofessional Certification) to your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry and to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Certification Office.
4. Start taking classes. In most cases, you will enroll in classes for non-credit.
5. Be sure to obtain two years of supervised experience in your area of specialized ministry before you apply for certification approval.
6. When you have completed the coursework and work experience, apply for approval for paraprofessional certification by completing this form (HE 4066, Application for Paraprofessional Certification). Send it to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry as well as your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry registrar. Upon receipt of the application for approval form, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry will verify that you have met the educational requirements.
7. Upon receipt of your application, your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry will contact three references that you provide; administer a psychological assessment and background check; schedule an interview with you; and verify your local church membership, abilities, skills experience, and leadership position in the chosen field.
8. If the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry confirms that you have met the education requirements and your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry approves you for certification, the Board of Ordained Ministry will ask the General Board of Ordained Ministry to prepare a printed certificate for presentation during the next annual conference session. The annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry will keep a record of all certified paraprofessionals, their areas of certification, and publish names annually in the conference journal.
To maintain certification status, you must complete and submit it every other year (even years, regardless of the year of entrance) to your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry. The Board of Ordained Ministry will make renewal status recommendations to the annual conference and inform GBHEM. If the certified paraprofessional fails to complete a renewal form, he or she must meet the current standards in force to be recertified.
When a certified ministry paraprofessional moves to another annual conference, that person should write to the annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry of the receiving conference requesting a transfer of his/her paraprofessional certification status (sending a copy to the originating annual conference). The receiving conference Board of Ordained Ministry shall review the request and upon approval, notify the former conference board that will send the paraprofessional certified person’s accumulated file to the new conference.
Approved Paraprofessional Programs
- Perkins School of Theology accommodates those who seek paraprofessional certification in Christian education, children's ministry, music ministry, ministry with older adults, and ministry with youth.