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11.1 How much does the program cost?
There is no cost from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to enter or complete the program. The Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) requires a mentoring fee of $150 for non-members of LREDA. Visit the LREDA website for information about LREDA memberships, especially the inexpensively priced membership for students and new Directors of Religious Education (DREs). The most significant costs will be incurred for any academic work that is undertaken as part of the program, especially graduate work. A graduate course typically costs anywhere from $600 to $1400. Workshops and books can be an additional expense.
11.2 What kind of financial assistance is available?
The Office of RE Credentialing can offer a limited number of RE Credentialing financial grants (maximum $500 per year) to program participants. These are primarily given for academic course work, and proof of registration must be submitted before the grants are awarded. Modest scholarships for professional workshops and conferences are also available to all religious educators. It is reasonable to expect that the congregation contribute to the financial support of undertaking this program through professional expense or continuing educations funds, especially if the congregation is encouraging their religious educator to participate. Keep in mind that the amount needed for the program could be larger than the typical yearly expense or continuing education budget.
11.3 Will my compensation be negatively affected if I don’t
participate in this program?
The recently published UUA Salary guidelines are meant to recognize the achievements of those who complete the RE Credentialing Program. They are not meant to penalize those religious educators who are not participating in the program. Unfortunately, the inclusion of RE Credentialing levels in the guidelines coincided with the use of new salary measuring standards that significantly lowered most salary recommendations. In other words, the recommendations for “DRE” would have been the same whether RE Credentialing levels were included or not. Ralph Mero, Office of Church Staff Finances Director, has sent a letter to all congregations. In this letter he recommends that for a religious educator in an existing position, the congregation base compensation on multiple factors, not just on whether or not their religious educator has completed a particular RE Credentialing level. Ralph encourages congregations to consider length of experience in religious education, length and quality of service to the congregation, and other credentials, knowledge and expertise that religious educators bring to their positions to determine how they will be compensated. Compensation Consultants are being trained to help congregations in these matters.