Celebrating life’s big moments is a special experience that brings people together. Whether you’re looking to officiate a wedding or another milestone event, becoming ordained is a great way to get involved. With the right training and credentials, anyone can become a licensed celebrant. This guide will take you through the steps to get ordained, explain different ordination options, and provide a list of online ordination services to explore.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Ordained

The first step to getting ordained is understanding what it means. In essence, ordination is the act of conferring religious authority upon a person. It allows an individual to officiate religious ceremonies such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals, among other events.

If you’re interested in getting ordained, you’ll need to choose a religious institution to get ordained in. Different institutions have varying requirements, so it’s essential to find the right fit for you. Most places of worship require potential ministers to undergo a period of training and study before being ordained officially. Catholicism and Judaism, for instance, require years of education to become ordained, while other organizations are less strict.

One way to become ordained is to enroll in university-level theological studies and work towards a master’s degree. However, these programs are time-consuming, often lasting several years, and can be costly. It’s also important to point out that not everyone wishes to become ordained according to a specific religious affiliation.

Fortunately, there are many independent organizations that offer ordination options, some of which require little to no religious training. The Universal Life Church (ULC), for instance, allows anyone to become an ordained minister online. You simply need to fill out an online form and pay a fee to receive your certificate. While this may be an easy option, the ULC’s legality and validity have been controversial in some states, and it is worth checking if the ULC ordination is valid in your state before choosing it.

Choosing a religious institution to get ordained in

For those who prefer a more traditional route to ordination, there are a number of religious institutions that offer ordination programs. These programs offer potential ministers the opportunity to study their faith in depth and become more knowledgeable about their religion. Religious institutions that offer ordination include mainline Protestant denominations, such as the Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church, and United Church of Christ, as well as non-denominational organizations, such as the American Fellowship Church and Rose Ministries.

Specific requirements for ordination at different institutions

The specific requirements for ordination will vary depending on the institution you choose. Most require a minimum level of theological education, such as a bachelor’s degree, while others may ask for letters of recommendation or for you to be active in the church community. It is also important to note that many institutions have age restrictions on ordination, requiring you to be at least 18 years old- however some states and institutions have set-up minimum age requirements to 21.

Tips for navigating the application process

Before applying for ordination, it’s important to do research on your institution to ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements. Once you’re confident that you’re ready to take the next step, it’s time to fill out your application. Be sure to provide detailed information about your background and religious experience, as many institutions consider these factors when reviewing ordination candidates.

During the application process, you may also be asked to provide references attesting to your moral character and suitability for the ministry. Be prepared to provide contact information for two to three people who can vouch for you.

How to obtain the necessary credentials and legal permission to officiate weddings and other ceremonies

After you have been ordained, there are a few additional steps you will need to take to officiate weddings and other ceremonies. First, you will need to obtain legal permission to perform marriages in your state. The requirements for this vary depending on where you live, so it’s important to do local research. In most cases, you will need to submit your ordination certificate and other supporting documents to the county clerk’s office to receive permission to perform ceremonies.

Additionally, it may be helpful to obtain additional certifications, particularly if you plan to specialize in a particular area. Organizations such as the Celebrant Foundation and Institute offer training in various areas, including funerals, baby dedications, and vow renewals.

Personal Story

Aspiring ministers often navigate through areas that present challenges and solutions to them. An engaging personal story helps to connect with their challenges and successes as they navigate through the journey of becoming ordained. Steven, a graduate of the United Church of Christ, shares his journey of becoming ordained.

Steven’s journey began when he realized his passion for teaching and realized he wanted to learn more about the word of God. He enrolled in theological schools at the United Church of Christ in pursuit of his passion to learn more and become ordained. He encountered problems while taking up the courses, separating his family time and making his day to day activities work with his educational demands. With commitment and determination, Steven pushed through and completed his studies, becoming ordained as a minister.

Steven shared that the journey of becoming ordained helped him understand the importance of commitment and dedication in every area of his life, not just his ministry. He was able to receive the support he needed from his spouse, some church members, and they composed his support system.

Top 5 Online Ordination Services

For those looking for a more flexible and streamlined approach to ordaining, online services offer an ideal opportunity. Here are the top 5 online ordination services to consider:

1. Open Ministry

Open Ministry offers an affordable and straightforward online ordination program for those looking to become ordained ministers. With no educational or age requirements, it is accessible to anyone looking for ordination. They offer packages starting from $15 and include features like customizable ordination certificates and training materials.

2. Ministry for Life

This online ordination service offers lifetime membership and a range of training materials and resources. Packages start at $25 and offer several helpful features, including a wedding ceremony script, certificate of ordination, and a wedding officiating guide.

3. Spiritual Humanism

Spiritual Humanism offers a modern and progressive approach to ordination and caters to those who do not wish to be tied to any traditional religious institution. Their ordination process is entirely online, and they offer a variety of training materials to help people feel confident in their role as a celebrant. Membership starts at $20.

4. American Marriage Ministries

American Marriage Ministries allows anyone to become ordained online free of charge. They offer a small fee for an actual physical certificate, and you must register or check that the state in which you plan to perform the ceremony recognizes the certification. You can also purchase additional certifications like a wallet-sized certificate.

5. Universal Life Church

The Universal Life Church offers free online ordination for anyone who wants to become a minister. For under 40 bucks, you can order a physical package that includes an ordination certificate, an ID card, a book on how to officiate weddings and other events, and some other resources. It is important to note that the ULC’s legality and validity have been controversial in some states, and it is worth checking out before choosing this option.

How to Get Ordained as a Non-Religious Celebrant

Non-religious celebrants operate outside the purview of any religious affiliation and cater to people not affiliated with any religion. They can officiate non-religious weddings and other life ceremonies. Becoming a non-religious celebrant often requires specialized training, certification, and licensing procedures.

Definition of a non-religious celebrant

A non-religious or secular celebrant is generally defined as someone who performs ceremonies, including weddings, funerals, and baby-naming ceremonies, party ceremonies, and many other life events, without any religious affiliation.

Review of popular training and certification programs for non-religious leaders

There are many training and certification programs worldwide that train non-religious leaders. These programs train on the historical and contemporary ceremonial customs and how to plan, and conduct ceremonies that are legally binding. The Celebrant Foundation and Institute, for instance, offers a comprehensive training program for individuals looking to develop the skills needed to become a successful non-religious celebrant. Their certification program takes place over the course of 12 months and includes both online and in-person learning opportunities.

Discussion of the legal requirements for non-religious celebrants

Legal requirements for non-religious celebrants vary depending on where you plan to officiate. In most cases, you will need to obtain a license or certification from a recognized institution or organization. It’s also worth noting that some states have more restrictions than others on who can legally officiate ceremonies.

FAQ-Style Article

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about ordination and officiating ceremonies:

Do I have to belong to a specific religion to become ordained?

No, you don’t. While many religious institutions offer ordination programs, several independent organizations offer ordination programs that do not require religious affiliation or training.

Can I perform weddings legally after being ordained online?

Yes, depending on where you live. In most states, online ordination is legal and valid, but it’s important to check local laws to ensure your ordination is recognized.

What kind of credentials do I need to perform weddings and other ceremonies legally?

Most states require you to register to perform marriages and follow their guidelines for legal officiating. You may also need to submit your ordination certificate and official paperwork to local county officials to receive legal permission.

Can I get ordained to perform funerals?

Yes, you can. Whether you need ordination to officiate funerals or memorial services will depend on where you live and specific funeral home policies.


Getting ordained is a fulfilling way to become involved in officiating life ceremonies, and this comprehensive guide sets out all the information you need to get started. Whether you want to become a minister within a religious institution or operate independently as a non-religious celebrant, there are many options available. By following the guidelines set forth, you can become a licensed celebrant and help people celebrate life’s special moments.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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