Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

The aim of this group of recommendations is to strengthen the training process at all stages, to improve the knowledge and skills of marriage celebrants, to increase professionalism, and to minimise MLCS staff time in addressing compliance.

5.1 Different approaches to training for different roles.

The aim of this recommendation is to improve the knowledge and skills of all classes of marriage celebrants (Commonwealth & state, religious and civil) who conduct marriage ceremonies.

It is recommended that:
  • Civil marriage officers in Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) and Court Houses – complete 2 of the compulsory legal units of the Certificate IV in Celebrancy.These would be: CHCCEL402 A Maintain knowledge of the legal responsibilities of a marriage celebrant, and
    CHCCEL404A Plan a marriage ceremony in line with legal requirements.
  • Ministers of religion in recognized denominations – complete 2 of the mandatory legal units of the Certificate IV in Celebrancy. These would be: CHCCEL402A Maintain knowledge of the legal responsibilities of a marriage celebrant, and CHCCEL404A Plan a marriage ceremony in line with legal requirements
  • Independent religious celebrants – complete the 4 mandatory legal units of the Certificate IV in Celebrancy and 1 of the compulsory core units which would be CHCCEL401A Work effectively in a celebrancy role.
  • Independent Civil Celebrants – complete the Full Certificate IV in Celebrancy
All marriage celebrants are required to meet the same standards for legal registration of Marriage Notice, Verification of Identity etc.

It has been noted by state BDM’s that errors in legal paperwork are generated as much by Ministers of authorized religions as by other Coalition of Celebrant Associations groups. It would seem appropriate therefore that all celebrants complete some level of legal training.

Independent religious celebrants are more comparable with recognized Religious celebrants in that the Marriage Act grants the non-aligned religious marriage celebrant the right to conduct the form of the ceremony according to the precepts of their religious organization, thus they may not require as much training in ceremony.

Civil Marriage Officers in BDMs offer a limited range of ceremony options, thus do not need to tailor ceremonies to the specific needs of their couples. Their physical resources also limit what they are able to offer.

5.2 Upgrade training of Civil Marriage Celebrants.

It is recommended that two additional units of study be added to the core competency skills and recommend two particular electives if the trainee has no prior business experience.

The two units recommended to be added as Core Units are:
  • CUSMPF303A – Prepare for Performance. (or a similar unit that relates to voice and delivery).
  • CUFWRT301A – Write content for a range of media. The two recommended electives if the trainee has no prior business experience are:
  • BSBSMB405A – Monitor and Manage small business operations.
  • BSBSMB406A – Manage small business finances.
The Code of Conduct states that the ceremony must be heard, thus skills in vocal delivery are vital. Although this topic is touched on in the current core units, it is not considered strong enough to apply competency in ceremonial delivery. Similarly, if the celebrant is to develop a personalised ceremony for a couple, high levels of skill in writing prose and correct use of language are also paramount.

Approximately 70% of applicants do not have a business background. The celebrant needs to conduct some basic monetary exchanges for their work and to ensure this is accurate and appropriate. Course notes should recommend these two electives if the trainee has no prior business experience.

5.3 Use the services of ASQA to strengthen training in the VET system.

It is recommended that CoCA and the MLCS utilise the new national training authority, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to strengthen the training of celebrants by the VET system. ASQA are responsible for mandating national Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) skills. MLCS and CoCA can work with ASQA to ensure:
  • National Standards for Trainer Qualifications – Experience as a celebrant a must (varies each state)
  • Time Frame – Set minimum time for the course eg VIC UNI = 800 hours
  • Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) – if not doing the course, to take it off their scope and/or check the currency
  • Competence testing to be reviewed.
According to ASQA, and under standards for National Vet Regulation (NVR), RTO’s are required to have a process and mechanism for providing students with information about the training, assessment and support services available. Support services include LLN. RTOs have a responsibility to assess a student’s level of LLN for any program in which they enrol.

Whilst literacy and numeracy (LLN) is a complex area, as the Celebrancy qualifications is at Certificate IV level, it is assumed the student has a level of literacy and numeracy to complete – and the RTO needs to assess this accordingly. RTOs need processes in place to ensure LLN is appropriate to the level of study the student is undertaking. This is an area that ASQA audits under our Standards for RTOs. The obligation is on the RTO to comply.

If a student hasn’t got the level of LLN appropriate to the Certificate IV qualification, one has to question how they are able to complete the qualifiction.
ASQA has also advised CoCA that the Certificate IV in Celebrancy needs a lot more work on specific assessment requirements and critical aspects of evidence. CoCA will commence discussions with the specific Industry Skills Council to address this issue and be recommending that the MLCS work with CoCA on the appropriate legal and other units.

5.4 Upgrade skill levels for trainers of the Certificate IV Course

The aim of this recommendation is to ensure high standards for trainers of the Certificate IV in Celebrancy course.

It is recommended that current and future trainers will need to achieve the following:

Current Trainers:
  • MLCS to conduct a knowledge and skills assessment of all current trainers to gain MLCS approval to teach the Certificate IV in Celebrancy core and mandatory units.
  • The MLCS assessment would require; a current Curriculum Vitae, proof of their status as a marriage celebrant, proof of having conducted a minimum of 10 weddings in the previous three years and proof of their qualification in Workplace Training and Assessment and the Certificate IV in Celebrancy.
  • MLCS approval to be re-assessed every five years. NB in the initial period the Pre-Appointment Assessment process could be used as part of the MLCS assessment procedures
Future Trainers:
  • Mandatory requirements for trainers will be:
    • Certificate IV in Celebrancy (including funeral units)
    • Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment
    • Experience in the elective units
    • Proof of status and experience as above.
    • Approval from MLCS as a trainer.
High trainer standards will ensure higher levels of training competency which should flow on to the quality of the training being delivered to aspiring celebrants. The current rate of three weddings in two years does not provide sufficient experience, practical knowledge and competency as a marriage celebrant, and consequently, as a celebrant trainer.

A professional ceremonialist, having a broad celebrancy skill set (as provided for in the compulsory marriage units training package material) will be able to offer a full range of ceremonies. This will also reinforce the knowledge and skills in ceremony design and delivery, working with couples and families and many other common aspects of delivering a marriage ceremony.

Cost Recovery

Applicants for approval by the MLCS to deliver the Marriage Celebrant electives of the Certificate IV in Celebrancy would be required to pay for the assessment of their skills.

5.5 Audit of Registered Training Organisations

It is recommended that Auditors of RTO’s be provided with the results of pre-appointment skills and knowledge assessments. This concept is being discussed with ASQA. General auditors do not have celebrancy knowledge.

Cost Recovery

Unless otherwise stated above, costs for this set of recommendations on Training would be recovered from the applicants and the various bodies in the state and federal system responsible for the planning, delivery and evaluation of the VET system.

Read more … see TABLE OF CONTENTS

From: Dorothy Rao
Sent: Friday, 5 July 2013 5:30 PM
Subject: Client Services revised timelines

Dear Client Services IRG members,
Why does the celebrant qualification need to be changed at this time?

The National Skills Standards Council, part of the Australian Government’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system has put out a directive to all Industry Skills Councils to ensure all VET qualifications
  • are free of duplication
  • focus on skills and tasks, not knowledge alone
  • remain relevant to all workers current and emerging needs
Is the Coalition of Celebrant Associations – CoCA responsible for making changes to the celebrancy training?
Purpose of the Standards

The purpose of the Standards for Training Packages is to ensure Training Packages are of high quality and meet the workforce development needs of industry, enterprises and individuals.
The Standards for Training Packages apply to the design and development of Training Packages for endorsement consideration by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC).

Some points to understand about the Streamlining of Courses
  1. The Skills Council is  streamlined ALL its courses in line with a national VET directive.
  2. This means removing all duplication and all information only units.

CHC42608 - proposed Diploma in Professional Celebrancy

For ease of comparison, some small rearrangements have been done to show units that have be up-graded into the Core or Electives.

The level for a qualification is not decided arbitrarily. The qualifications are set out in this Document:

Australian Qualifications Framework

This table shows the differences between Certificate IV and Diploma level courses.
BSBDIV301A Work effectively with diversity
  1. Recognise individual differences and respond appropriately
  2. Work effectively with individual differences
    See:  BSBDIV301A
CHCCEL501 Establish and maintain client relationships
  1. Establish and maintain client relationships
  2. Clarify client needs
  3. Match services to client needs
  4.  Obtain feedback from clients in relation to one’s celebrancy services 
CHCCEL502 Create and organise non-legal ceremonies
  1. Provide advice to the clients and potential clients
  2. Design and document ceremonies
  3. Oganise ceremonies 
CHCCEL503 Research, create and evaluate ceremonial elements
  1. Identify ceremonial elements appropriate to various ceremonies and maintain database
  2. Evaluate ceremonial elements appropriate to ceremony purpose and client needs 
CHCCEL504 Conduct and review non-legal ceremonies
  1. Conduct public or private ceremonies
  2. Review ceremonies 
CHCCEL505 Address the legal requirements of marriage ceremonies and ongoing registration as a marriage celebrant
  1. Provide advice to the marrying couple
  2. Outline the requirements for appointment and ongoing registration as a Marriage Celebrant
  3. Prepare and complete documentation
  4. Design and create marriage ceremonies
  5. Conduct ceremony
  6. Follow up and review marriage ceremonies 

CHCCEL506 Providing and review celebrancy services related to loss and grief
  1. Scope and prepare services to provide loss and bereavement services in a celebrancy context
  2. Plan, conduct and review celebrancy services related to loss and bereavement
  3. Manage the impact of providing loss and bereavement
Performance Criteria Details>
How these skills could be assessed>


CHCCEL507 Create resources for set-up and maintenance of  Professional Celebrancy Practice
  1. Clarify celebrant needs and objectives in the celebrancy role
  2. Create resources and forms
  3. Store and maintain information
  4. Use and maintain equipment and machines
Performance Criteria Details>
How these skills could be assessed>



Community Services Training Package D 0.1

CHCCEL506 Plan, provide and review celebrancy services related to loss and grief


  • The assessment requirements provide advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the specific detail of this unit of competency and  related assessment information for this Training Package.
Performance evidence: The candidate must show evidence of the ability to complete tasks, manage tasks
and manage contingencies in the context of the job role:
  • Identify a range of loss and grief situations and associated ceremony/rituals for each of the following groups: individuals, couples, families, groups and communities
  •   Document the range of possible celebancy services related to loss and grief that the community could receive from a family / community oriented celebrants and the objectives and cost of each possible service
  • Identify and describe the following aspects
    • personal, religious, social and cultural attitudes to death and dying
    • Social, religious and cultural differences and traditions related to loss and grief
    • Range of options families have for preparing for and dealing with death
    • Difference between religious and civil celebrants in providing loss and grief related services and in the costs and other factors related to their work.
  • Prepare, deliver and evaluate (XX number of) talks/ meetings with clients covering the following aspects:
    • The range of possible ceremonies and services related to loss and grief provided by a professional celebrant
    • The benefits of pre-funeral ceremony planning
    • The aspects and purpose of pre-funeral ceremony planning services such as life story information
    • essential information required for the death certificate, information required for the next of kin / or power of attorney to enact the person’s wishes
  • Plan, conduct and review (XXX) number of pre- loss/death ceremony planning services for clients (individuals, couples, family members and friends/ group)
  • Plan and document a community memorial ceremony for a situation involving war or natural disaster, detailing all aspects of the ceremony (including a time-line, role of participants, resources required, risk assessment etc) and evaluate the ceremony plan in conjunction with another professional celebrant
  • Plan and document a ceremony for the loss of function, person, role, relationship, place, or circumstance etc. for an individual, couples, families, groups or communities on (xxxx) occasions to ensure consistency of performance and ability to respond to different situations
  • Plan, conduct and review eight funeral, memorial and another ceremonies related to loss for the following situations – choice of 3 (death of a baby or child due to disease/ health conditions; adolescent due to accident, or suicide; adult due to murder, disease or addiction; person or companion animal due to advanced age) to ensure consistency of performance and ability to respond to different situations, such that the celebrant:
    • demonstrates sensitivity in communicating with those experiencing loss / grief (the bereaved)
    • acts in an empathetic, caring and professional manner according to one’s Code of Practice and funeral services industry or other appropriate services protocols and parameters
    • Identifies and organises the required resources for the ceremony being provided.
    •  Demonstrates effective public speaking techniques to sensitively deliver the celebrancy services needed according to client requirements and required time frames
    • Demonstrates the ability to gather all the necessary information to construct a life (or group) story to gain a comprehensive and balanced appreciation of the impact of the loss to the clients and those participating in the ceremony
  • identify strategies for dealing with one’s own lost and grief issues
  • Document a plan to establish systems to manage and review one’s professional celebrancy practice, especially in relation to dealing with positive and negative aspects of loss and grief, ceremonies and celebrancy services related to loss and bereavement.
Knowledge evidence: The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of:
  • Understanding of ‘death’ as a part of the cycle of life whether the death is of a person, relationship, death of a function and/or way of life
  • Examples of loss and grief related to:
    • death of a baby, child, adolescent, adult, aged person, companion animal etc, where death is related to age, disease/ health conditions, additions, suicide, murder, accident, war, natural disaster, etc
    • change in function, body part, person, role, relationship, place, circumstance etc. for the individuals, couples, families, groups and communities
  • Physiology of dying and death – basic processes and time frames related to specific processes
  • An overview of the process of how a person is treated from the point of death until burial or care/ dispersal of their ashes if the body is cremated
  • Burial and internment procedures – social, religious and cultural differences and traditions related to loss and grief
  • Historical changes from family based environmentally friendly processes to more impersonal death care industry based processes
 Assessment conditions:
  • Cultural differences in dealing with death and disposal of human remains
  • History and current practices related to dying and death care in Australia
  • Awareness of personal, religious, social and cultural attitudes to death and dying
  • The defence mechanisms (denial, minimisation, rationalization, intellectualization, hostility, projection, repression etc) and their role in human behaviour, particularly when change is required or forced
  • professional funeral services industry parameters and protocols in dealing with the bereaved and the deceased
  • workplace policies and procedures regarding performing funeral celebrancy.
  • information required for pre-funeral ceremony planning  – life story information, preferences for all aspects of the ceremony, essential information required for the death certificate, information required for the next of kin / or power of attorney to enact the person’s wishes
  • Range of options families have for preparing for and dealing with death, the place and timing of the ceremony and the disposal of the body and related information so the independent celebrant may assist families in being able to make informed decisions in relation to their funeral ceremony
  EnvironmentSkills  must be demonstrated:
  • In the workplace or
  • In simulated environments created for the purpose of skills assessment that represent locations typically used for the conduct of ceremonies and provide all the resources listed below.
  ResourcesAssessment must ensure use of:o   Relevant legislation o  Ceremony documentation/ plan

  PeopleAssessment must involve:
o diverse range of clients in a range of situations
o  people to act as ceremony participants and
groups of people to act as audience.
  Assessor Requirements 
Page 1 of 4
Back to top