This page describes the director certification process for NASPA members who want to become certified as tournament coordinators, tournament directors and club directors.
If you were an NSA-certified director, please look
instead at the grandfathering section of the Directors page.
The Tournament Committee and Club Committee set the certification criteria and oversee the certification process.
Benefits of Certification
As a certified NASPA Tournament Coordinator you will be able to apply to the Tournament Committee to have a tournament
sanctioned in your own name, but remain under apprentice
restrictions when directing a club or tournament.
As a certified NASPA Director you will be able to:
There are several types of certification. To obtain any of them, you must be
a member in good standing, and at least 18 years of
The easiest certification to obtain is that of an
assistant director: someone who acts online on
behalf of a director without full Internet access, such as a data inputter.
If your club or tournament director asks you to be
their assistant, ask them to contact the
Tournament Committee, who will then certify you.
For any other type of certification, you must first
take and pass the director’s test, as described
below. When you do so, you are certified as an apprentice director or young adult apprentice director, depending on your age.
You are then entitled to direct clubs and tournaments
with some conditions, and under the supervision of a
When your mentor determines that you are ready, your certification is upgraded to tournament coordinator, club director or tournament/club director.
A printed certificate will be issued to you, and if
you attend the Director’s meeting at the NSC,
it will be officially conferred upon you there.
If you are a tournament coordinator or club director,
you may resume your apprenticeship if you wish to become
fully certified as a tournament/club director.
- Once the test has been sent, the applicant has 90 days to return his/her answers. If the test is not returned within that time frame, it will be considered as the first failed attempt.
- If the applicant fails the test the first time, he/she must wait 180 days to contact Mary Rhoades for permission to retake the test.
- If the applicant fails the test the second time, he cannot retake the test for a year. He must pay again for the test at that time and contact Mary Rhoades for permission to retake the test.
The test can be taken in two ways:
- By email: The test can be ordered by paying the $25 fee online and emailing John Robertson and Mary Rhoades. When paying online, state in the Note section what the payment is for so John can get confirmation of the payment. It can be taken at your leisure, within a 90-day window, emailing back to John for grading and upon a passing grade, the prospective director will move to the next step. The email test will cost $25.
- By postal mail: The mail-in test costs $35 USD, a slightly higher fee to pay for manual processing. Either pay for the test online or mail the payment, payable to NASPA, to Mary Rhoades. The test will be sent to you by postal mail and you can send the test back in the same way.
Apprentice age limitations:
- Apprentices who are 18–20 can be apprentice club and tournament directors. The mentor is required to be physically present at the tournament site.
- Apprentices who are 21+ can be apprentice club and tournament directors, with mentors encouraged to be at the tournament site, but if not, available by phone during the tournament.
- All apprentices will serve an apprenticeship period. Specific other criteria for apprenticeship are being discussed.
Upon passing the test, the applicant is granted apprentice director certification, and can codirect tournaments and/or clubs under supervision of a mentor if the age restrictions allow. At the discretion of the mentor, this supervision may take place in person or by telephone. Mentors must be fully certified directors; applicants may suggest their own mentors, or may ask to be assigned one.
An apprentice may submit tournament details to the Tournament Committee himself, as long as the submission is copied to his mentor.
When an apprentice’s mentor feels that the apprentice is ready to direct tournaments alone, the mentor notifies NASPA, which grants applicant full director status. The mentor will refer to the following checklist in assessing the apprentice.
- Has passed the Director Test.
- Understands how the SCRABBLE trademark must be protected.
- Is approachable and has adequate people skills.
- Presents a welcoming demeanor to newcomers.
- Understands the basics of the Code of Conduct and its importance in a club setting.
- Knows basic SCRABBLE rules: scoring, handling overdraws, holding, challenging, adjudicating.
If the apprentice satisfies all of the above conditions, the apprentice may be granted certification to operate as a tournament coordinator. Tournament coordinators can
apply to the Tournament Committee to have a tournament
sanctioned in their own names, but remain under apprentice
restrictions when directing a club or tournament.
- Knows how a club’s fee structure and pairing system should operate.
- Knows how to find other rules in the rule book when necessary.
- Is willing to learn more complex rules.
- Is fair yet firm in maintaining club policies and handling disputes.
If the apprentice satisfies all of the above conditions,
the apprentice may be granted certification to operate as a
club director, but not a tournament director.
If in addition the apprentice meets all of the following
conditions, the apprentice may be granted full certification
to operate as either a club director or a tournament
- Understands what supplies are needed at a tournament.
- Understands tournament player membership requirements.
- Knows how to set up new memberships and renew old ones online.
- Understands how RR, KOTH and Swiss pairings work.
- Understands why, when and how to apply the Gibson Rule.
- Understands basic tournament arithmetic: total wins = total losses, spreads normally sum to zero.
- Understands the importance of submitting tournament results swiftly.
- Understands the importance of submitting Incident Reports swiftly.
- Understands how NASPA’s participation fee works.
- Must be able to handle disputes calmly and professionally
- Must be willing to enforce the Code of Conduct whenever necessary to maintain order.
- Must be well versed in common rule situations.
- Must possess above average organizational and people skills and present a positive image of NASPA.
- Must have a cool demeanor and not get rattled in difficult situations.