Begin the journey towards parliamentary procedure certification

Obtaining credentials as a parliamentarian.

Have you attended a meeting for a club or committee you belong to and there is a “parliamentarian” present to make sure Robert Rules of Order is being followed? Have you wondered what qualified them to be a parliamentarian? What certification or classes did they take to obtain that title?

Certification can be acquired through the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). NAP offers three types of memberships each requiring a different level and demonstration of parliamentary knowledge. To get started in the process you could find a NAP affiliated local unit near you to join as a provisional member. Local units provide an opportunity for mentoring with NAP members and regular meetings to develop expertise on effective meeting procedures through a combination of group study, discussion, and practice. A list of local units in Michigan is available from the Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians. When ready to start the certification process, local unit members can proctor the NAP membership exam. Consider the following membership progression and your personal/professional goals: 

Provisional

While not providing membership privileges at the national level, most units offer provisional membership to people who are interested in learning about parliamentary procedure, but who do not yet have enough knowledge to feel comfortable taking the NAP membership examination.

Regular

At the primary level of NAP membership, regular members receive all of the standard benefits of NAP membership after demonstrating basic knowledge of parliamentary principles by completing a diagnostic quiz related to parliamentary procedure. Regular membership demonstrates a commitment to learning and practicing fair and effective democratic processes and allows members to participate more fully in the activities of the National Association of Parliamentarians.

Registered Parliamentarian

NAP’s Registered Parliamentarian (RP) credential signifies that a member is qualified to serve as a parliamentarian for most ordinary meetings under usual circumstances and to provide commonly needed parliamentary advice to ordinary organizations. An RP should be able to understand and apply parliamentary rules that are relevant in an ordinary meeting under usual circumstances without having to refer to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. The RP credential is effective for six years and can be retained through continuing education opportunities. RP renewal information can be found in the Documents section under Member Resources. You must be a member to apply for the RP Exam.

Professional Registered Parliamentarian

A member who reaches Professional Registered Parliamentarian® (PRP) status has demonstrated to fellow professionals that they not only have the in-depth knowledge of parliamentary procedure required of a Registered Parliamentarian, but also the skills to provide effective, practical help to an individual or organization in need of parliamentary assistance. These skills include the ability to preside over a meeting; to perform the duties of a parliamentarian for another presiding officer and help them preside effectively; to consult organizations on the rules that govern their meetings and operations; and to share parliamentary knowledge with others. More information about maintaining PRP status can be found in the Documents section under Member Resources.

Like most credentialing entities, there are dues associated with membership and certification. The annual dues for NAP members depend on both membership type and NAP Association membership (state, province, etc.).

MSU Extension offers training in parliamentary procedure to groups upon request. Another educational opportunity could be from The University of Wisconsin. In partnership with NAP, they offer the independent learning course Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure: Dynamics of Leadership. Students who take this course earn 14 Continuing Education Units (CEU) and qualifies the student for NAP membership without further testing. See the University of Wisconsin website for more information.

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