The American Guild of Organists was chartered in 1896 by the Board of Regents, University of the State of New York, to administer a comprehensive series of examinations for professional certification. The AGO currently offers five levels of professional certification:

Service Playing Certification (SPC)
Colleague Certification (CAGO)
Choir Master Certification (ChM)
Associateship Certification (AAGO)
Fellowship Certification (FAGO)

Chart of Requirements
Professional Certification Requirements (2021)
Service Playing Certification Flyer for Schools and AGO Members
COVID-19 Exam Protocols

AGO members discuss the benefits of certification at the 2018 AGO Kansas City Convention. Hear the inspiring story of a twelve-year-old student earning the Service Playing Certificate (SPC) and part 1 of the Colleague Certificate:

AGO members discuss the benefits of certification at the 2016 Houston Convention:

Educational Resources for Certification

Educational resources for each of the certification exams are now available online; see the certification links above. The Examination Hymn Booklet: 2013 Revised Edition with Service Playing Certificate Test Supplement is available in PDF format, as are applications and detailed requirements for each examination. Contact the AGO Certification Administrator. Colleague, Choir Master, Associateship, and Fellowship repertoire can all be conveniently purchased at Cliff Hill Music and Lois Fyfe Music.

Past TAO Articles for Exam Preparation

AGO Colleague Examination 2013/Improvisation Question/The Modulating Bridge by Philip Gehring, FAGO, Oct. 2013 (revised)
AGO Service Playing Anthem Accompaniment/Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace: Approaches to Wesley’s Most Popular Anthem by Jonathan B. Hall, FAGO, ChM, August 2012
“It Don’t Mean a Thing if You Can’t Make ‘Em Sing”/Leading Hymn Singing from the Organ: A Practical Checklist by Kenneth Grinnell, FAGO, ChM, April 2006
Regular Countersubjects in Fugue by Walter Hilse, FAGO, March 2008
Ten Tips on Sight-Reading by Jonathan B. Hall, FAGO, ChM, March 2009
The Fugal Answer by Walter Hilse, FAGO, April 2006
Transposition: Not a Four-Letter Word by Kenneth Grinnell, FAGO, ChM, May 2008
On Modulation by Dean Billmeyer, FAGO, Handout from a 2008 convention workshop
Two Additional Service Playing Test Pieces by Kathleen Thomerson, FAGO, ChM, October 2009

pdf-large-typeAcademic Regalia Order Form (For ChM, AAGO, FAGO)


Committee on Professional Certification (CPC)

André Lash, Director, FAGO, DMA, email
Gregory Gyllsdorff, FAGO, ChM, MFA, email
Marilyn Keiser, email
Joy Schroeder, FAGO, DMA, email
Eva Sze, FAGO, PhD (cand.),  email
Walter Hilse (emeritus and adviser), FAGO, PhD

Paul Wolfe, Certification Program Administrator, email, 212-870-2311, ext. 4303