The national Guild offers four levels of certification for organists that test the organist's ability to play repertoire from various periods, accompany congregational singing, sight read, reduce music from another medium to organ, and demonstrate basic skills such as harmonization and transposition.
The two lowest certification levels--Service Playing and Colleague--are offered at various times during the calendar year, and they involve recording the organist's performance for adjudication by competent judges appointed by the Guild.
The Guild's Professional Examinations
The two highest levels--Associateship and Fellowship--are offered only once per year, and these require one day of written work and one of playing. For these last two levels, persons who have previously achieved that level are asked to judge the candidate's live performance (without knowledge of who the candidate is).
The Guild also offers Choirmaster certification, which is conducted in a manner similar to that of the Associateship and Fellowship, but in this case, a small choral ensemble participates and is led through a short rehearsal by the candidate.
Certification means different things to different musicians, but it certainly serves as affirmation of one's professional skills and as motivation to become a more competent musician. It can also prove useful as a means of identifying an organist and/or choral director's level of competency for future employers.
Please visit the Professional Certification page at the national web site or contact Stephen Self for further information