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Become a celebrant

Becoming a Humanist Celebrant

The demand for Humanist ceremonies is rising, and we are intent on maintaining and improving the high quality of the service we offer. Good celebrants combine strong personal qualities and high levels of professional competence. Being a Humanist celebrant is an occupation that is challenging, rewarding, inspiring and consonant with your values. It is an occupation that provides some of our hardest working, full-time celebrants with a living.

At present there is a very long waiting list to become a celebrant in Glasgow or Edinburgh however we are particularly keen to hear from you if you reside in Aberdeen, Angus, the Highlands or the Borders.

Each ceremony you conduct will be unique. Each ceremony will be one of the most important events in the lives of the people concerned. You will often be dealing with people who are highly emotionally charged. You will be expected to deliver something exceptional. So, it follows that you will need to be an exceptional person, always determined to give of your best.

West Group Celebrants Outing Summer 2013Who are we looking for?

When we consider applications for training, we select people who have

A commitment to Humanism. You need to have a clear understanding and a strong commitment to the underlying principles of Humanism. You must be a member of the HSS or the BHA to be considered for the training.

A willingness to contribute to the celebrant network and to the Society. We are always keen to hear from people with professional skills that they are willing to contribute for the advancement of the aims of the Society be that through supporting the celebrant network, in our policy work or our work in education.

Finely tuned, highly developed interpersonal skills. You need to be an excellent questioner and listener, drawing out from people salient facts that you can then turn into an accurate, memorable, even inspirational ceremony script. Your use of English needs to be immaculate and it helps to have a love of poetry, prose and music. You must be prepared to look smart and to assume the presence and authority to take charge of proceedings. You’ll need to be able to deal calmly with the unexpected and to put people who are nervous or anxious at ease. You will be a confident and assured public speaker.

The time and availability to do the work. If you consider that each funeral we deliver involves up to five hours preparation including the visit to the family, writing and agreeing the script and then the delivery (and this doesn’t include travel time) then we need to select people who have the time to commit to being a celebrant.

Life experience. You need to be open-minded, able to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds with an ability to inspire confidence and a sense of ease. When you apply for funeral training, you’ll need to be prepared to work compassionately with recently bereaved families experiencing shock and grief. You’ll also need to liaise well with other people and professionals connected with the ceremony you are conducting – other family members, funeral directors, crematoria staff, hoteliers.

Good organisational and IT skills. You need to be punctual, well organised and to manage your time and diary well. You must be able to work to tight deadlines. You must be IT literate to the extent that you can produce ceremony scripts on your own computer, be able to build and maintain a spreadsheet database, access resources from the internet and use e-mail effectively.

The recruitment and training process

All our new celebrants are trained first to deliver funerals. We believe that the rigour and discipline that preparing and delivering funerals demands, together with the interpersonal skills you need to exhibit, makes it the perfect training ground for a new celebrant. It is also the ceremony that is in the highest demand.

We will assess your application and then, if we believe that you meet our criteria, we will invite you for a one-hour interview. If this interview is successful we will then place you on a waiting list to attend the next available training programme when there is a need for resource in your area. If you live in a well-resourced area of the country like Edinburgh or Glasgow it can take a very long time to meet your aspirations.

The training programme consists of:

  • A two-day residential training course following which you will be expected to prepare a full funeral ceremony script for review.
  • One-day’s training and assessment at a crematorium.


This is then followed by an extensive period of mentoring when you will be working with an experienced celebrant.

When your mentor considers you are ready they will then arrange for a formal review.

The training programme costs £500.

Once you have gained some experience we will then invite you to train to deliver Naming ceremonies and once you have delivered 30 or so funerals you can enter the training and mentoring programme to become an authorised Wedding Celebrant.

If you are interested in applying to become a celebrant then please download the documents:



Complete and return the application form together with a current CV to

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