What Are Registered and Certified Parliamentarians?

There are two major accrediting organizations for parliamentarians: National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) The NAP

There are two major accrediting organizations for parliamentarians:

National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP)

The NAP was established in 1930 and is the largest organization of parliamentarians in the world. Persons become “regular members” by passing a 100-question qualifying exam. Regular members can become a “registered parliamentarian” (or “RP”) by successfully completing a comprehensive, proctored examination covering the entire 700 pages of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (10th ed.). According to the NAP website, the exam tests knowledge in four areas of parliamentary procedure: “Motions and related procedures; meetings; officers, boards, committees, voting, and elections; and rules of the assembly. The exam also requires a level of familiarity with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised that enables the RP to effectively research parliamentary questions quickly, as is often required in a meeting situation. Once Registered Parliamentarian status is achieved, it is retained for as long as membership in the National Association of Parliamentarians is maintained.”

The NAP also recognizes “Professional Registered Parliamentarians” (PRPs), who, according to its website, “have 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. A Professional Registered Parliamentarian must maintain this certification through practical experience and recurrent training, ensuring that each PRP maintains the same high professional standards throughout his or her career.”

There currently are about 3,500 NAP members. Most are regular members who have not qualified as either an RP or PRP. There are 270 RPs, plus an additional 300 PRPs.

American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP)

Established in 1958, AIP is the second largest organization of parliamentarians, with a total membership of 1,200. Note that there is some overlap between the NAP and AIP, with several persons being members of both organizations. AIP Members can become a “certified parliamentarian” (CP) by passing a comprehensive exam on Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (10th ed.), The Standard Code of Procedure, and Cannon’s Concise Gide to Rules of Order. An applicant for Certified Parliamentarian also must earn 20 service points in areas such as Parliamentary Education, Service to AIP, and Professional Services.

Like the NAP, the AIP recognizes a higher level of parliamentarian—the Professional Certified Parliamentarian or PCP

Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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