The AGO offers five levels of certification for members interested in enhancing their professional development. Outlines of requirements are published in each July issue of The American Organist, or may be obtained from the National Headquarters. Examinations are given once a year with times and dates in the above-mentioned material, a second time being available for the Colleague Exam.
Types of Certifications
Service Playing Certificate (SPC)
Choir Master (ChM)
Copies of previous exams may be obtained by requesting them from AGO National Headquarters. Learn more about certifications at the AGO National site.
Nine Reasons to Become Certified
- The Guild has provided a ready-made program for you to develop and improve your organ skills. Preparation for the exams strengthens you in areas that you use all the time: sight-reading, transposition, modulation, improvisation, accompaniment, and hymn playing.
- Preparation is completely flexible. You can study on your own; you can work with a teacher; you can prepare as a group.
- The certification process is anonymous and it is fair. No one needs to know anything about it except the one chapter member who makes the arrangements. The examiners never see you and don’t know who you are. You could be a high school student or a college professor.
- You will know exactly what will happen at the exam. There are no surprises. All the procedures are spelled out in detail for all participants.
- Excellent preparation materials are available. Some are so good that you should get them even if you don’t plan to take an exam. Copies of exams from previous years are available, allowing you to try your hand at a level similar to the one you will be taking.
- You can repeat the exam as often as necessary. Many of those who have earned certificates did so on their second, third, or fourth try. Every exam you take makes the next one easier.
- The cost is modest, especially when compared to university tuition. You can hire a coach to help you in your weaker areas, and still it is a bargain.
- More skill in repertoire playing
- Enhanced listening skill because of ear training through dictation.