Paraprofessional certification is available to persons who do not have an undergraduate degree and are interested working in areas of specialized ministry. This certification does not carry academic credit and is designed for persons seeking training in a specialized ministry as a worker or volunteer.
If you’re considering this path, GBHEM recommends that you first discuss it with your pastor and reach out to your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry to learn more about the options and needs in your region.
Paraprofessional certification is available in a variety of areas, including children’s ministry, Christian education, youth ministry and music ministry.
Training Options and School Locations
- Children’s Ministry
- Christian Education
- Youth Ministry
- Spiritual Formation
- 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.
Steps to Complete the Certification Process
- Formally enroll in the United Methodist ministry certification process. Once you’re accepted into the program of your choice, you must complete this enrollment form and submit it to your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry and to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Certification Office.
- Begin your program coursework.
- Obtain two years of supervised experience.
- Apply for approval for paraprofessional certification. Once you have completed the required coursework and work experience, you must apply for certification approval by submitting this form 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.
- Fulfill the review requirements with your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry. Upon receipt of your application, your conference will:
- Contact three references that you provide.
- Administer a psychological assessment and background check.
- Schedule an interview with you.
- Verify your local church membership, abilities, skills experience and leadership position in the chosen field.
- Obtain your certificate. 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 annual conference 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 a Request for Biennial Review and Renewal, 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.