Compensation and Credentialing

The UUA offers specific guidance on how to compensate staff for completion of our UUA professional development programs (beyond the suggested annual progression along the ruler).

Religious Education Credentialing Program

In year of completion:

  • Skilled Level: advance an extra 0.5 inches
  • Advanced Level: advance an extra 1 inch
  • Leadership Level: advance an extra 1.5 inches

If levels are completed at different times, advance 0.5 inches per successive level.

Music Leadership Certification Program

In year of completion:

  • advance an extra 1 inch

Important: Transparent Conversations

If a staff member is pursuing any significant relevant degree or certification, they should talk with their supervisor early in the process to ensure common understandings (for pay and/or other recognition) upon completion. Assumptions sometimes get made by employees that result in hard feelings when not met.


Congregations are expected to make equitable, transparent decisions about how to account for training and work experience. In this time of transition from the previous job-based approach to the new job levels, we anticipate that it will take congregations more than one budget cycle to adjust to the new Recommended Salary Ranges.

Existing Music Director Becomes Certified

A music director is paid according to the Ruler Method, based on their experience. They become certified. In the next pay cycle, we would expect them to get an extra "inch" raise (2% of midpoint) beyond what they would have otherwise received.

Congregation Hires Credentialed Religious Educator

A congregation has hired a new religious educator. Based on their other experience and training, the congregation might have placed the religious educator at 4" on the ruler. But because they are credentialed at the Leadership Level, we would expect them to be placed at 5.5".


See the Office of Church Staff Finance's Salary Process Guidance document (PDF, 13 pages) for more details on salary guidance and the Ruler Method (p 12).