Any person who is a graduate of a recognized institution of higher learning and has been awarded a Master's Degree (Jewish Music/Jewish Education or related) in or after the year 2013 or a Bachelor's degree if graduation was prior to 2013 from that institution as well as conferred the title "Cantor" or an equivalent (Cantor/Educator, etc.) from one of the following institutions is eligible for testing to become an Associate Member of the American Conference of Cantors.
Graduates of the following institutions will be permitted to apply for ACC membership:
- Abraham Geiger College
- Academy for Jewish Religion, California
- Academy for Jewish Religion, New York
- Hebrew College, Boston
- Jewish Theological Seminary, Miller School
- RRC & Gratz College - Masters in Jewish Music*
- The Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano**
To further our covenantal responsibilities as cantors and as part of our admission process, we will consider the candidate’s cantorial qualities and qualifications, his/her commitment to the values and convictions of Reform Judaism, and capacity to fulfill clergy related responsibilities. Toward that end, to consider your application, our Membership Committee and our Executive Board will need several things from each applicant:
- The attached membership application.
- Proof of the candidate’s Baccalaureate degree (or its equivalent) and Master’s degree.
- Either a photo or copy of the diploma or transcripts from the institution will suffice.
- A copy or photo of the ordination certificate from a school of higher Jewish learning that is on the list of ACC-recognized seminaries. We do not accept private ordination.
- Letters of recommendation:
- Two letters of recommendation from current members in good standing of the ACC who are familiar with the candidate’s personal qualities and professional work.
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals with whom the candidate has worked in a professional capacity.
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals with whom the candidate has a personal relationship.
- A personal essay, no longer than eight double-spaced pages in length, describing your vision of the Reform cantorate and how you view your personal cantorate in the context of Reform Jewish life. This essay should include your perception of and commitment to the Reform Movement, including various experiences and an articulated understanding of the tenets and practices of Reform Judaism. In addition, the essay should explore your full understanding of Reform Judaism and Jewish music through your personal relationship to Reform Judaism as manifest through spiritual, intellectual, and ritual expressions.
- A non-refundable $500 application fee to cover our administrative expenses for processing your application.
- $150 testing fee for each time (up to three times) the candidate sits for an exam.
Psychological Testing Report
All applicants for membership in the American Conference of Cantors are required to provide evidence of emotional and psychological soundness from a board-certified psychologist, stating that the applicant is fit for duty as a clergy-person. This requirement can be fulfilled by (1) a report by a board-certified psychologist of the psychological examination taken upon application to a cantorial school, or (2) a report written by a board-certified psychologist based on the results of the MMPI or MMPI-2, taken at the candidate’s expense. The report should include the interpretation of the raw test results and must be submitted directly to the ACC Membership Committee from the institution or professional; it may not be come directly from the applicant.
Note: The actual results from any psychological testing should not be sent to the ACC.
An application is considered complete once all required paperwork and documents are submitted and received.
Once all required documents have been received, a representative of the ACC Membership Committee will schedule an initial conversation with the candidate. Study guides and testing materials will be sent after that conversation.
- The exam for Associate Membership into the ACC is generally offered at least once a year, usually in January or February, on the East and West Coasts.
- Additional dates and locations may be added if there are more applicants than can be accommodated during our winter exams.
- Each location can only accommodate five or six testing candidates. Seats for the exam are on a first come, first served basis. An applicant will only be considered for this exam once all the documentation is received by the ACC office and a member of the Membership Committee has been in touch with you.
- Applicants may sit for the exam up to three times, no more than once per year. After a third failure of the exam, the applicant can no longer apply for ACC membership.
- The Associate Membership exam consists of:
- An oral presentation of five pieces of suggested varied repertoire
- A written exam:
- Programming examples of seven different standard types of services
- Short response definitions of Reform terms/names/sources
- Three essay questions about the Reform Movement, its history, ideology, and current state of affairs.
- Additional questions may be required based on your school curriculum.
- An evaluation of other skills which will include:
- Interpersonal skills
- Ability to work with others
- Capacity to meet the intellectual, ethical, and emotional demands of the field
- Demonstration of musicianship, including:
- Pleasant vocal quality
- Ability to hold pitch
- Ability to project one’s voice properly
- Interpretive nuance
- Clarity of phrasing and line
- Inspirational quality of expression