Correctional Ministries and
Chaplains Association

Volunteer Certification

The CHRISTIAN CORRECTIONAL MINISTRY VOLUNTEER (CCMV) CERTIFICATION is designed for both new and seasoned volunteers, and indicates that volunteer has met the requirements needed to provide spiritual care in the correctional setting.  This certification meets or exceeds volunteer standards set by correctional institutions.  Certified volunteers must be a member of CMCA.  Click here to become a member of CMCA or renew your membership.


A Christian Correctional Ministry Volunteer must be a committed follower of Christ who serves as a volunteer in any area of correctional ministry.  Ministry areas may include, but are not limited to, at-risk youth, the incarcerated, corrections staff, formerly incarcerated persons, families impacted by the criminal justice system, and victims.

Certification Term

Certification is valid for a period of four (4) years.  Volunteers who successfully complete the certification process will receive a certificate attesting to their accomplishment.  Their names will also appear in the registry of certified volunteers, which is maintained by CMCA and will be posted on the CMCA website.

Volunteer Training

CMCA Volunteer Training is available through the Institute for Prison Ministries.

Steps to Certification


  • Candidates must be CMCA members in good standing.  Click here to become a member of CMCA or renew your membership.
  • Candidates must support and adhere to the CMCA Statement of Faith (Appendix 1) and Code of Ethics (Appendix 2).
  • Candidates must meet the definition of a Christian Correctional Ministry Volunteer, including providing evidence of competency as a correctional volunteer and successfully passing the Correctional Ministry Volunteer Certification exam.


Candidates must submit the following to demonstrate they meet all the requirements for certification.  The following should be submitted:

  • Completed Certification application (Form A).  This form can be completed online or mailed in.
  • Church/Denomination endorsement (Form B).  Candidates must provide a positive reference from their church leadership.
  • Demonstrated aptitude in each of the five Areas of Competency for a Christian Correctional Ministry Volunteer (Appendix 3).The five areas are: 1. Biblically Grounded; 2. Corrections Sensitive; 3. Professional; 4. Spiritual Leadership; 5. Quality Programming.  Competency can be demonstrated through formal education or through experience as outlined below:
    • Education.  Competency through education can be demonstrated if a candidate has attended and passed an approved training or college course in one or more of the competency areas.
    • Experience.  While experience is not required for certification, correctional experience can be used to meet competency areas.
    • Competency Documentation. Whether from education or experience (above), the following can be used as proof of competency. Only ONE verification is needed per competency. Documents may support one or more competency.
      • Correctional Ministries Course Transcript or Correctional Ministry Certification 
      • Approved Training Verification (Form C). Training must meet one or more competency area.
      • Approved Relevant Experience (Form D). Experience must be in correctional ministry under the oversight of a recognized ministry or organization.  A minimum of 5 hours of ministry is required to meet one or more competency area.


Submit the following:

  • Form A: Certification Application (paper form must be submitted with the packet OR online form must be submitted by the time the packet is received at the CMCA Office)
  • Verify that Form B: Church/Denomination Endorsement has been submitted.
  • Documentation for each of the 5 competency areas:
    • Copy of transcript or training certificate (if used to meet competencies)
    • Form C: Training Verification (if used to meet competencies)
    • Form D: Relevant Experience (if used to meet competencies)
  • Check for $80 to cover the cost of application review and testing fee (non-refundable).  Please make checks payable to Wheaton College with “CMCA Certification” in the memo (certification is good for four years).

Mail as complete packet to:

CMCA Certifications

501 College Avenue, Suite 418

Wheaton, IL 60187


Once your application has been received and processed and your eligibility verified, you will be notified by email that you are authorized to take the Certification exam, along with a Volunteer Certification exam study guide.


Upon notification of verification, you will receive an exam code for the online Volunteer Certification exam.  This exam must be taken within two weeks of when you receive your code.  You are allowed up to two hours to complete the exam which contains 100 questions and covers each of the five competency areas.  All exam questions are multiple-choice.  You must score 75% or higher in each competency area to pass.  If you score below 75% in any area, that (those) section(s) of the exam must be retaken within one week of the date you are notified of your results.  In order to prepare for the exam, candidates are encouraged to study the competencies and indicators listed in Appendix 3.

Step 6: CELEBRATE, You are certified!

Upon successful completion of the above requirements, you will receive the Christian Correctional Ministry Volunteer certification card.

Click here to download a PDF of the Volunteer Certification Packet, including all required forms.