How to become an ordained secular celebrant

Updated April 17, 2017

A secular celebrant performs the regular duties of a member of a clergy, such as officiating at marriages, funerals, memorials, baby namings and other ceremonial life events. However, unlike a member of the clergy, a secular celebrant does not prescribe to a particular faith and any ceremonies he conducts will have a decidedly nonreligious stance. Anyone who wishes to serve the community and has good public and people skills can become an ordained secular celebrant.

Research state laws. Each state has different criteria and regulations for becoming an ordained celebrant and what duties that celebrant can perform. Some states automatically authorise clergy and county clerks to perform ceremonies, and in some jurisdictions friends and family members of a married couple can apply for a one-day celebrant license in order to perform the ceremony. In several states, celebrants must register with their local county to perform ceremonies.

Become certified a certified secular celebrant. Organizations that certify secular celebrants include the Council for Secular Humanism, the American Humanist Association's Humanist Society, and The Celebrant Foundation and Institute. Each organisation has different criteria for certification. The Humanist Society requires people interested in becoming certified to submit an application, provide references and be interviewed by a member of the American Humanist Association.

Undergo training. The Celebrant Foundation and Institute offers courses to celebrants in conducting various ceremonies, including marriages, funerals and baby-naming ceremonies. There are textbooks available, such as the "Rituals Resource Book," which provide education on how to design and perform ceremonies. Also, experienced secular celebrants can provide valuable information to new celebrants.

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About the Author

April Lee started writing professionally in 2009. She is the marketing writer for an independently owned cheese business. She attended the University of North Texas and majored in English.