Program Overview

The Handbell Musicians of America Certification has been developed as a comprehensive curriculum program designed to address all levels of training and experience with handbell and handchime instruments.  There are three levels of certification available, each requiring  from four to six subjects.  Classes within each subject are currently offered at various National events.  Eventually, classes will also be offered at regional and Area events, and some will be available online.

The initial program outline was developed by a small committee with input from a wide range of sources, both inside and outside the Guild. This original committee included John Behnke, Mary Caldwell, and Richard Moore. Once the basic outline was developed, a larger committee was formed to create the specific course syllabi and to teach the initial rounds of classes. This committee, led by Certification Program Coordinator Sharon Schmidt,  will train and approve future teachers for the program.

There are no fees beyond event registration costs until you complete the required course work for a level.  Once completed, registrants will be required to pay a fee to receive their certification.  The fee is $75 per level for members and $150 per level for non-members.

Certification Levels

As mentioned previously, there are three levels of certification available.  Those levels and the classes required are listed below.

The certification levels are cumulative—you must receive Level 1 Certification to receive Level 2 Certification, and complete Level 2 to receive Level 3 Certification.


 Certification Level Required Classes
1 A1 – Handbell/Handchime History – NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
B1 – Handbell Techniques
C1 – Music Theory
D1 – Conducting
2 B2 – Handbell Techniques
C2 – Music Theory
D2 – Conducting
E2 – Arranging and Composing
3 B3 – Handbell Techniques
C3 – Music Theory
D3 – Conducting
E3 – Arranging and Composing
One Elective to be selected from:


Subjects and Courses


Classes Offered

Class Prerequisite

Handbell/Handchime History A1 – Handbell/Handchime History None
 Ringing Techniques B1 – Handbell Techniques 1
B2 – Handbell Techniques 2
B3 – Handbell Techniques 3
B1 – Handbell Techniques 1
B2 – Handbell Techniques 2
 Music Theory C1 – Music Theory 1
C2 – Music Theory 2
C3 – Music Theory 3
C1 – Music Theory 1
C2 – Music Theory 2
 Conducting D1 – Conducting 1
D2 – Conducting 2
D4 – Conducting 3
D1 – Conducting 1
D2 – Conducting 2
 Arranging and Composing* E2 – Arranging and Composing 2
E3 – Arranging and Composing 3
C2 – Music Theory 2 or Consent of Instructor
C3 – Music Theory 3

 *There is not an Arranging and Composing 1 class.

At least one elective class is required for Level 3 Certification.  None of these classes have prerequisites, and they can be taken at any point in the certification process.

  • Handbells/Handchimes in Music Education
  • Handbells/Handchimes in Worship
  • Handbells/Handchimes in the Community
  • Handbells/Handchimes with Special Populations

At this time, we offer these opportunities to test out of classes:

  • Conducting:  Attendess at the Master Series Conducting Master Class can be evaluated for proficiency
  • Arranging and Composing:  Completed compositions can be submitted for evaluation
  • Music Theory:  Contact the instructor for information on  options

Please note that we are not able to offer any credit for college degrees or courses.

How to Participate in Certification

Those who wish to begin the course work for certification must first register their intent to complete the program with the national office.  A program administrator in the national office will work with course instructors to track your progress as you successfully complete each class and level. To register, follow the appropriate link below:


(or those who have an existing on-line account)


(or those who do not already have an on-line acount)

Login to your account then follow the
link from your login
home page

Create an account and
follow the prompts to

To Check Your Progress

You can check your certification progress by logging in, and then under “What would you like to do?” choose “My Registered Events.”  Next select “Handbell Musician Certification” to see your certification record.  Any class that has been successfully completed will be listed.  If a class is not listed, then you have not yet passed that class.  Allow approximately thirty days from class completion for records to be updated.

Faculty Accreditation

In 2015 we began training more faculty to teach Handbell Musician Certification courses.  See all the details about faculty responsibilities, the training process, and application materials here.

Recipients of Prior Director’s Certification

We do wish to continue to recognize those who have completed the process for the previous Director’s Certification Program. Follow the links below to see their names.

Recipients of Level I Certification.

Recipients of Level II Certification.