The Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies® is a ministry education program for adults in ministry with youth in both parish and school settings. It equips leaders with the knowledge, skills, practical tools, and techniques needed for creative and comprehensive ministry with youth. Participants in the Certificate Program must be at least 18 years of age and have graduated from high school.

This program is designed for adults involved professionally or as volunteers with younger (10-14) or older (14-19) adolescents in a parish or school setting. The potential audience for the program includes: coordinators of youth ministry, directors of religious education, youth ministry volunteer leaders, junior high leaders, high school campus ministers, teachers, clergy, university students and seminarians. Individual weekends are also helpful for leaders who specialize in particular ministries. For example, the Justice and Service course can serve leaders involved in social justice ministries.

The primary aim of the program is to promote personal, spiritual, and ministerial growth. Courses in the first year cover youth ministry principles and practice, and leadership theory, processes, and skills. The second year focuses on fostering the faith growth of youth through evangelization and catechesis, prayer and worship, justice and service, and pastoral care.

The Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies® includes eight courses. Each course consists of fourteen hours of instruction provided in two days. These courses can be offered in a weekend format over two years. They can also be offered in pairs for a summer program. For instance, some sites offer two courses, Monday to Thursday during a week in June and again during a week in July. Weekend courses meet on Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM and on Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM. Summer courses on weekdays meet from 9 AM to 5 PM each day.

The Certificate program is utilized in a number of ways:

  • as an integrated formation program leading to a Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies
  • as an enrichment or continuing education program for veteran leaders
  • as a workshop series which can be taken on a course-by-course basis by professional or volunteer leaders

A Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies is awarded by the sponsoring institution (diocese and/or university) and the Center for Ministry Development to students who participate in all eight courses and complete the certificate assignments for each course.