The most important education opportunity the AGO offers is the certification program, established as part of the guild’s charter in 1896. Five certificates are offered: Service Playing Certificate (SPC); Colleague American Guild of Organists (CAGO); Associate American Guild of Organists (AAGO); Fellow American Guild of Organists (FAGO); and Choir Master (ChM).

Each certificate outlines specific requirements leading to certification, including the development of formidable keyboard and/or conducting skills, musicological and theoretical knowledge. The requirements for the exams are published annually in the July issue of The American Organist, specifically outlining requirements at each level. Information is available through the national headquarter as well. (https://www.agohq.org/certification/)

Preparation for guild certification improves technical and musical skills, as well as personal and professional growth. AGO certification credentials raise the professional image and respect of certificate holders among constituents, fellow professionals, friends and family. AGO certification broadens the field of opportunity and raises self image.

The national headquarter publishes a calendar regarding application and examination time-line schedules. The SPC and CAGO exams are recorded locally, and are sent to headquarters for evaluation. The ChM, AAGO, and FAGO exams are played and written at designated sites in the presence of three judges who evaluate the performance and papers. Certificates are awarded in June of each year, announced at regional and national conventions.

Several members of the Omaha AGO have exprexsed interest in earning AGO certification, especially at the SPC and/or CAGO levels.


1. SCHEDULE – Check the July issue of The American Organist.

  Dead-lines to national for application for all certificates.
  SPC and CAGO are recorded locally: contact SALLY HODGED to arrange site and date.

2. FEES – Each certification requires a fee, payable when registering.

3. REPERTOIRE – Selected from specific lists published by national. Check July issue of TAO.

4. REQUIREMENTS – Be sure to follow the requirements closely! AAGO and FAGO include extensive written exams in music history; repertoire; composition; improvisation; and ear training.


Several members have suggested a certification class be available. Contact Dr. C if you are interested in a certification class: (mrc@chase3000.com). Preparation manuals for SPC and CAGO and some sample copies of earlier SPC and CAGO exams are available for member use. Contact Dr. C for those resources.

This year (2016/17), certificate applicants will play a concert at the season finale meeting on May 22!