PROVISIONAL & BASIC CERTIFICATION
The catechist, youth minister or Catholic school religion teacher begins at a basic level with eight courses that provide an introduction to their catechetical ministry. These eight topics cover your ministry, skills and useful resources and foundational theological and scriptural concepts. They are given either in eight two-hour workshops or in a day-long retreat format (ie. the “Basic Certification Retreat”). Credit can also be awarded by demonstrating competency and/or use of video, computer or other recommended resources or alternatives.
Completing any four of the eight basic topics for a specific track qualifies the catechist, youth minister or school teacher for Provisional Certification (PC) which the Albany Diocese expects all such ministers to complete either prior to starting or during their first year in catechetical ministry. Provisional certification expires at the end of their second year in ministry.
Completing all eight basic topics for a specific track qualifies the catechist, youth minister or school teacher for Basic Certification (BC) which the diocese expects all such ministers to qualify for by the end of their second year in ministry (coinciding with the expiration of their provisional certification).
Intermediate Certification courses build upon the topics covered under Basic Certification and provide an introduction to the core doctrines of our faith and methodology needed to become an effective catechist, youth minister or Catholic school religion teacher. They are usually given in two-hour workshops. This certification is initially awarded upon the completion of any four of the twenty topics and is renewable on an annual basis. The catechist, youth minister or teacher renews this certification by completing four additional intermediate certification topics until all twenty are completed (Intermediate Certification Levels II-V).
The twenty topics that make up Intermediate Certification for a particular certification track, which may be taken in any order, are:
For every four Intermediate certification topics completed, the catechist, youth minister or Catholic school religion teacher advances one level within Intermediate certification. Intermediate Level I indicates the completion of four intermediate courses; Intermediate Level II the completion of eight courses; Level III 12 courses; Level IV 16 courses; and Intermediate Level V the completion of all twenty Intermediate certification topics.
Full Certification is awarded when the catechist, youth minister or Catholic school religion teacher completes all the requirements of both Basic and Intermediate Certification Level V (8 Basic certification topics and all 20 Intermediate certification topics applicable to that particular certification track – either catechist, youth minister, catechist for adults, intergenerational catechist or Catholic School religion teacher [lower or upper grade]) and successfully ministers a minimum of one year under the supervision of the catechetical leader/pastor or principal. All twenty-eight topics equal 56 hours of study and assuming that four courses/topics are completed each year would take seven years to complete. Full certification is good for three years and is renewed by completing twenty-four additional hours of “advanced” study taken over three years in the areas of scripture and theology, catechetics and catechetical methodology or ministry to adolescents, and spiritual renewal.
The advanced level catechist, youth minister or Catholic school religion teacher seeks a deeper and more comprehensive study of doctrine, spirituality and skills. Advanced Certification is awarded upon the completion of 64 hours of theology and scripture, 16 hours of catechetics and catechetical ministry or ministry to adolescents, and 8 hours of spiritual renewal plus a minimum of two years of catechetical or youth ministry experience under the supervision of the catechetical leader/pastor or principal. This is a three-year certification renewed by the completion of twenty-four more hours of theology/scripture, catechetics and catechetical methodology or ministry to adolescents, and spiritual renewal taken over the three-year period.
The requirements for Advanced Certification are divided into the following areas:
Each theology and scripture topic is ideally developed over four or more sessions, a minimum of eight hours is required for each of the eight Advanced Certification – Theology/Scripture topics (Hebrew Scripture, Christian Scripture, Christology, Ecclesiology, Liturgy & Prayer, Morality, Peace & Justice and Sacraments). These courses present a theological and scriptural foundation, help develop catechetical skills, and provide an application to the catechist’s own faith life and catechetical situation. As there are no specific guidelines as to the content, goals and objectives for the advanced theology/scripture topics, instructors are free to develop them themselves (although the content should be consistent with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church).
Ideally, catechists devote a third or more of their formation time to renewing their own prayer and spiritual life. Retreats, days of prayer and renewal, periods of reflection and recollection, prayer experiences and courses or experiences dealing with the spiritual life can all be used to fulfill the advanced certification spiritual renewal component of catechist formation.