How to become a Parliamentarian

What credentials are needed in order to be considered a parliamentarian?

Have you attended a meeting for a club or committee you belong to and there is “parliamentarian” present to make sure Robert Rules of Order is being followed? Have you wondered what qualified them to be a parliamentarian? What certification or classes they needed to obtain that title?

The answer can be found at the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) website. NAP offers four types of membership that will be explained in more depth. The first step to getting started could be to find a local unit near you to join. Local units provide an opportunity for members to develop their expertise on effective meeting procedures through a combination of group study, discussion and practice. So which membership is right for you?

Provisional
While not providing membership privileges at the national level, most units offer provisional membership to people who are interested in learning about parliamentary procedure, but who do not yet have enough knowledge to feel comfortable taking the NAP membership examination.

Regular
At the primary level of NAP membership, regular members receive all of the standard benefits of NAP membership after demonstrating basic knowledge of parliamentary principles by correctly answering questions drawn from a list of 300 questions related to parliamentary procedure. Regular membership demonstrates a commitment to learning and practicing fair and effective democratic processes and allows members to participate more fully in the activities of the National Association of Parliamentarians.

Registered Parliamentarian
Registered Parliamentarian® (RP) status demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of parliamentary procedure. The NAP Registration Examination tests the member’s knowledge in four key 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.

Professional Registered Parliamentarian
A member who reaches Professional Registered Parliamentarian® (PRP) status has demonstrated to fellow professionals that he or she not only has 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.

The Government and Public Policy work team has a Registered Parliamentarian that can answer questions and others who are also knowledgeable about parliamentary procedure. To learn more about this and other programs contact an expert in your area, visit people.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).