Becoming a Humanist Celebrant
The BHA’s Humanist Ceremonies™ network consists of trained and accredited celebrants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Our celebrants are men and women from all walks of life. Some conduct our full range of ceremonies – funerals, memorials, weddings, partnerships and namings. Others choose to conduct just one kind of ceremony. Some manage to combine being a Humanist celebrant with full-time work. Many are people who find themselves busier than ever in ‘semi-retirement’. Others combine their work as celebrants with their work as parents or carers, or as part of their freelancing ’portfolio’. All of them find being a celebrant deeply rewarding.
Our priority is to develop our network of celebrants in areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland where we are currently underrepresented and preference will be given to applicants from those areas. We will normally not recruit into areas where we are adequately represented.
Who are we looking for?
When we consider applications to become a BHA Celebrant, we select people who have
A commitment to Humanism. You need to have a clear understanding and a strong commitment to the underlying principles of Humanism. If you are not already a member of the BHA, you’ll be expected to join.
Finely-tuned, highly developed interpersonal skills. You need to be open-minded, able to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds with an ability to inspire confidence and a sense of ease. If you apply to for funeral training, you’ll need to be prepared to work compassionately with recently bereaved families experiencing shock and grief. You’ll also need to liaise well with other people and professionals connected with the ceremony you are conducting – other family members, funeral directors, crematoria staff, hoteliers.
Good interviewing and writing skills. You need to be an excellent questioner and listener, drawing out from people salient facts which you can then turn into an accurate, memorable, even inspirational ceremony script. Your use of English needs to be immaculate. It helps to have a love of poetry, prose and music.
Good organisational skills. You need to be punctual, well-organised and to manage your time and diary well. You must be able to work to tight deadlines. You must be IT literate to the extent that you can produce ceremony scripts on your own computer and use e-mail effectively.
Excellent presentational skills. You must be prepared to look smart and to assume the presence and authority to take charge of proceedings. You’ll need to be able to deal calmly with the unexpected and to put people who are nervous or anxious at ease. You need to be an assured and confident public speaker.
High standards. Each ceremony you conduct will be unique. Each ceremony will be one of the most important events in the lives of the people concerned. You will often be dealing with people who are highly emotionally charged. You will be expected to deliver something exceptional. So, it follows that you will need to be an exceptional person, always determined to give of your best.
Basic equipment. You’ll need your own computer, phone and answering machine and your own means of transport.
What does the training and accreditation involve?
Humanist Ceremonies™ makes no apology for setting the highest standards for our accredited celebrants. Bereaved people are vulnerable; the expectations of couples making their commitment public are high; the significance of a new arrival in a family is great. We cannot provide anything that is even in the slightest inadequate.
To become a celebrant you will need to:
- Read the training information guidelines (PDF)
- Complete and return an electronic application form, if you reside in an underrepresented location, which is only available when recruiting and a link will be provided.
- Be interviewed either face to face by two accredited celebrants or by our Ceremonies Training Coordinator by telephone or Skype. This would only occur if you are successful at the application stage.
- Be prepared to pay the course fees. There is a non refundable deposit of £500 required 12 weeks prior to Induction, the remaining balance is made in one lump sum or 3 equal instalments. These will be required before the start of each stage.
- 2013 fees – Wedding training £1680 inclusive of VAT and Funeral training £1920 inclusive of VAT.
Once you are accepted for training and have signed up for your course you will be expected to attend three sessions over a period of approximately three months. For wedding trainees, these comprise:
- Induction – one day.
- General Skills – one day.
- Technical Training – two days and one overnight residential.
For funeral trainees, the course consists of:
- Stage 1 – Induction – one day.
- Stage 2 – General Skills – two days and one overnight residential.
- Stage 3 – Technical Training – two days and one overnight residential.
What’s in it for you?
An occupation which is challenging, rewarding, inspiring and fulfils with your values. The ceremonies you conduct will make a real, memorable difference for your clients.
An income – not a large one by any means, but as soon as you are accredited you can charge a fee, plus your expenses, for each ceremony you conduct. Humanist Ceremonies™ fee bands are agreed annually by an elected body of experienced accredited celebrants. Specific fees within these bands are then decided at local level.
A sense of belonging and participation. To remain an accredited celebrant within the BHA’s Humanist Ceremonies™ network you will be expected to pay an annual accreditation fee and a quarterly levy on the fees you receive. You will also be expected to maintain a high standard in the ceremonies you provide.
The levies cover your insurance, branded business cards and personal stationery and are re-invested to help fund the organisation, promotion and growth of Humanist Ceremonies™. You can benefit from the support and experience of other celebrants via local groups, the celebrants’ discussion forum on this website or via newsletters, training sessions and events such as the Humanist Ceremonies™ annual conference.
And, as a BHA member you will be participating in the BHA’s important work to promote Humanism and to help redress the inequality and injustice caused by religious partiality in our legal, social and political frameworks.
Further information about training
If you have any further enquiries please e-mail email@example.com.
If you would like to train as a Humanist celebrant in Scotland, please contact the Humanist Society of Scotland.