Celebrant training - which course?

(8 Posts)
Lightshines Fri 20-Feb-15 09:41:38

Please can anyone who is a celebrant give me some pointers about training?
I believe I have the necessary skills to be a celebrant and have been looking at the training options available to me. However, I am confused by the number of courses available and am struggling to find out:

a) if there is an overall regulatory body for celebrants (if so, which is it?)

b) is training/qualification from one body viewed more highly (by other celebrants and also by potential clients) than another?

c) which organisation did you do your training with, and how was it? Any regrets? Wish you had done it differently?

Many thanks for any help you can give.

OP’s posts: |
MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 20-Feb-15 13:30:54

Not exactly what you are asking but I hired 2 celebrants (for my DC's naming days) via the Directory on the British Humanist Assocation website. As a customer I felt BHA membership/training was important and with a directory it was a good way to find somebody.

Assuming you mean a Humanist celebrant...

Good luck.


ChristmasEveSteve Tue 24-Mar-15 18:49:23

Did you find any answers to your questions Lightshines?

happycelebrant Wed 25-Mar-15 10:38:15

Hi, I've namechanged for this because I'm far to easily searchable under my other posts smile

I am a celebrant and have been doing this work for about 6 years. It is lovely, lovely work - flexible, creative, interactive.... but it can also be sad, upsetting and lonely. You need to have a good support network (and to be personally resilient) to deal with things like the funeral for a baby, or a suicide.

Depending on where you live, the type of ceremony you can hold will vary. Anyone can hold funerals and baby namings, but only certain groups can hold legal weddings. In England a celebrant cannot hold a legal wedding, and the market for non-legal weddings is relatively small and quite niche.

In addition to the range of skills you need to work as a celebrant they key to actually getting any work is to be great at marketing yourself and your skills. You will find that once you've trained you are pretty much on your own with this, so if knocking on the doors of funeral directors and selling yourself isn't your thing, then you might struggle to get work.

There is no nationally recognised regulatory body for celebrants, and there are many different organisations that offer this type of training. I suggest starting with a thorough look at what the different courses offer, how long they are, what they cost etc. As an example it might look attractive to have distance learning, or a course that costs £500, but think really hard about how credible it is, what you will learn and how supported you will feel. By comparison it costs nearly £4000 to train as a humanist celebrant for both funerals and (non-legal) weddings. Some of the celebrant training organisations are just that - organisations that make their money from training people, with little residual interest in what you do subsequently.

What are your goals? To be a successful funeral celebrant you need to be available flexibly during the week (when most funerals are held). If you are currently a SAHM with dc at school and few fixed commitments, starting in this field can be gradual until you build up a good reputation. However if you are currently employed or don't have access to flexible childcare, then it's going to be more tricky.

What are you expectations of income? I am really fortunate in the area where I work and I hold many ceremonies. However you'll not make a fortune, and I also do other work which makes up the bigger portion of my income.

Very happy to answer more questions if you want to pm me.

Lightshines Thu 26-Mar-15 19:10:39

Thank you, happycelebrant
Your helpful post has raised a few issues for me, which I need to think through more carefully. I am considering this initially as an additional role to my regular job. I am hoping to negotiate part-time hours in my regular job to leave one or two days a week for funerals. I know that the crem near me offers weekend services as well.
I hope that not relying solely on this income will prevent some of the issues you describe, such as the loneliness, sadness etc. Is there an informal network for celebrants?

OP’s posts: |
happycelebrant Tue 07-Apr-15 10:15:05

I have sent you a pm lightshines Let us know how you get on.

Heath5678 Thu 06-Sep-18 13:31:56

Hi Lightshines,

I know it has been a long time since you posted the above but am interested to hear if you pursued the above career option and if so which course you opted for.

Many Thanks

SaskiaR66 Sat 27-Apr-19 19:44:32

I have just read your advice regarding becoming a celebrant and just wanted to say thank you as this was tremendously useful and cleared up a few points for me.

I have sadly just been made redundant from a funeral services company and have been toying with the idea of becoming a celebrant as this would very much suit me as I am so familiar with the industry and I feel even more encouraged having read your message. I am very lucky in so much that I have already built very good relationships with many funeral directors, but I was unsure and kept getting conflicting advice regarding whether obtaining a diploma is worth the paper its written on ! May I just ask how many years you have been in this line of work and do you need to be very technical (for example running a video at the crem depicting the life of the deceased - I only ask as whilst I am used to giving presentations - my technical skills might be my down fall!
Many thanks Saskia

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