NPM offers a number of professional development Certificates and certain Certifications. These programs enable our members to develop skills in their particular area of expertise, and have their achievements recognized in a standardized manner. Certificates are available for Directors of Music Ministry, Cantors, Organists, and Pianists.



The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service (formerly the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation) has approved the certification standards and procedures of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians as a member of the Alliance for Certification of Lay Ecclesial Ministers for Director of Music Ministries through 2025.

Certification standards give evidence of a profession’s focus and activities and the values to which it is committed; designate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes it deems desirable or necessary for effective functioning as a practitioner of the profession; and may be used as educational criteria in a process of formation as well as an assessment criteria in a process of certification.NPM’s “Core Certification Standards and Competencies of the Director of Music Ministries” (DMM) may be found at:


Additional useful links include:

The Alliance for the Certification of Lay Ministers

USCCB certification information



The NPM Steering Committee for Cantors has developed a process for members of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians to guide and recognize the achievement of skills expected of cantors.

See complete information on the Cantor Certificate page



NPM offers three options for organists:

  1. Basic Organist Certificate: emphasizes the fundamentals of service playing
  2. The joint NPM/AGO SPC Certification: specifically addresses the music demands in Roman Catholic parishes
  3. The joint NPM/AGO CAGO Certification: a joint-certification program with the AGO for the Colleague-level organist certification.

See complete information on the Organ Certificates and Certifications page



The NPM Steering Committee for Pianists has developed this process for attaining a Basic Pianist Certificate for members of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians as a way to recognize a musician’s achievement of the fundamentals of service piano playing expected of musicians serving Roman Catholic parishes. A certificate presumes an understanding of a spirituality of ministry.

See complete information on the Pianists’ Certificate page.