Become a humanist celebrant

Click here for course fees and dates 

Humanists UK’s Humanist Ceremonies™ network consists of qualified and accredited celebrants in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands.

Our celebrants are people 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, so that we can meet the increasing need of all those who would like to have a humanist ceremony

Who are we looking for?

We consider applications from experienced celebrants who would like to join our network, as well as from people to whom the idea of becoming a celebrant is new. When we consider applications to become a Humanists UK 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 Humanists UK, you’ll be expected to join.

Finely-tuned, highly developed interpersonal skills. You need to be open-minded and 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 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, etc.

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 email effectively.

Excellent presentation 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 feeling very raw and emotional. You will be expected to deliver something exceptional. So, it follows that you will need to be an exceptional person, always determined to give your best.

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. There is no ‘second chance’ with a ceremony and we are committed to providing people with an exceptional service.

To become a celebrant you will need to:

  • Read the training information guidelines (PDF).
  • Complete and return an application form.
  • If you are already practicing as a celebrant with Humanists UK and wish to apply for training in a new ceremony type, please complete this application form.
  • If you are already practicing as a celebrant either independently, or with another organisation, and would like to join the Humanists UK celebrant network, please complete this application form.
  • If you have completed the MA course in Humanist Pastoral Care, please complete this application form.
  • Conduct a successful Skype interview with our Assessor
  • Be prepared to pay the course fee. There is a non-refundable deposit of £500 required four weeks prior to Induction. The remaining balance is made in one lump sum or three equal installments. These will be required before the start of each stage of training.
  • 2019 fees: Weddings training: £1,999 inclusive of VAT; Funerals training: £1,999 inclusive of VAT; Namings training: £1,199 inclusive of VAT.

Once you are accepted for training and have signed up for your course you will be expected to attend either three sessions (for Funerals and Weddings) or two sessions (for Namings), with each session spread roughly a month apart. Unfortunately we cannot always allocate trainees to their first choice of course dates, as we may need to prioritise under-represented areas. However, we endeavour to offer a training place to all successful applicants as soon as possible.

For our Weddings and our Funerals trainees, each course comprises:

  • 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.

For our Namings trainees, Stages 2 and 3 are combined.

What’s in it for you?

An occupation which is challenging, rewarding, inspiring and fulfills your values. The ceremonies you conduct will make a real, memorable difference to your clients.

An income. As soon as you receive your probationary accreditation from Humanists UK you can charge a reasonable fee based on location and type of ceremony, plus your expenses, for each ceremony you conduct.

A sense of belonging and participation. To remain an accredited celebrant within Humanists UK’s Humanist Ceremonies™ network you will be expected to pay a quarterly accreditation fee. You will also be expected to maintain a high standard in the ceremonies you provide.

The accreditation fees cover your insurance, branded business cards, and personal stationery and are reinvested 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 Humanists UK member, you will be participating in Humanists UK’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.

If you would like to apply for training to become a Humanists UK celebrant, please complete the relevant application form listed above.

Assistance for career development through bank loans or trust grants and bursaries

We recognise that for some people the amount of money involved is significant for training to become a celebrant. For some applicants it might be helpful and appropriate to apply for a loan from a bank or other provider for the purposes of career development, or to apply for financial aid through a trust or foundation who might be able to provide individuals with a grant or bursary to study.

We do not, and cannot, give financial or legal advice, but for those who are considering a career development bank loan you may wish to contact Citizens’ advice, or look at this website which is  written with students in mind. For those who are considering applying for a grant or bursary we might suggest this website, or speaking to the Directory of Social Change though the DSC website.

We are not in a position to be able to help people with applying for loans, grants, or bursaries, but do hope the above is useful.

Further information about training

If you have any further enquiries please email

If you would like to train as a humanist celebrant in Scotland, please contact the Humanist Society Scotland.