The NCGR-PAA Curriculum and Certification Program
The NCGR-PAA Curriculum and Certification Program is divided into four progressive levels LI, LII, LIII, LIV. The first three levels require testing supervised in person by NCGR-PAA exam monitors. Part of Level III and all of Level IV are take- home tests. The only exception to monitored testing is when a particular school has gained equivalency to any of the first three exams; Level IV must always be taken through the NCGR-PAA Examiners.
The Study Guide provides the areas of study necessary to complete each examination; each level becomes increasingly more detailed as the student progresses. Astronomy for astrologers is studied on levels I and II. Ethical concerns in astrological practice are addressed throughout the program. Students are encouraged to engage in additional studies in counseling skills and other fields related to their intended focus in one or more of the following areas, or "majors": consulting, technical research, general studies, and instruction, each with its own specific requirements.
Students who have passed the requirements of Level IV, in any one of the four "majors," and have agreed to uphold NCGR-PAA's ethical standards of practice, are entitled to use the letters C.A., (for Certified Astrologer), NCGR-PAA (for National Council for Geocosmic Research-Professional Astrologers Alliance), after their name on publications and promotional items. All such Certified Astrologers are also eligible to join the Association of Professional Astrologers International (APAI). For information on APAI, go to professionalastrologers.co.uk
Those who have successfully passed the Level III examination can apply for college credits at Kepler College, the only college in the Western Hemisphere that is authorized to offer bachelor's and master's degrees in astrological studies.
The Four Levels
The NCGR-PAA Curriculum and Certification Program is divided into four progressive levels. The first three levels require testing supervised by NCGR-PAA teachers and exam monitors. Part of the third level and all of the fourth are take-home tests. Questions regarding professional ethics are covered for all levels, becoming more comprehensive as the student progresses.
Level I provides the foundation for an understanding of Western astrology. In order to pass a proficiency examination at this level the student must comprehend the building blocks of astrology: signs, planets, houses, personal points, major aspects and their configurations, hemisphere and quadrant emphases, and other fundamentals. Students are expected to be able to calculate a chart by hand for any geographical location in the world. Some knowledge of classical astrology is required, such as dignities and debilities, planetary sects, and benefics and malefics. The astronomy covered on this level includes the solar system, eclipses, retrograde motion, and the solstices.
Level II reviews natal delineation and introduces various techniques, among them the dynamic elements of transits, progressions, and solar arc directions. Also covered are minor aspects, lunar phases, derived houses, asteroids, and fixed stars. Calculations required for this level include progressions, solar arc directions, antiscia, declinations, the vertex, and the equatorial ascendant. An understanding of planetary cycles, relocation charts, house divisions, and more detailed astronomy is expected on this level, such as the Great Circles, celestial latitude and longitude, declination, right ascension, precession, and the lunar nodes. Additional knowledge of classical astrology is also included, such as essential dignities and disposition.
Level III includes having basic knowledge of Mayan, Chinese, and Vedic astrology, as well as the history of Western astrology. Uranian astrology is also covered on this level, where the student must master the 90 degree and 360 degree dials, as well as have a thorough understanding of planetary pictures, midpoints, antiscia, and Arabic parts. Students must also be able to interpret two charts for synastry, calculate a composite chart, and know how both a composite and relationship chart are constructed. Other techniques comprising this level include horary and electional astrology, solar and lunar returns, as well as mundane astrology.
Once the proctored exam is passed, the student must complete a take-home exam to complete this level of proficiency. Here a comprehensive, in-depth mundane essay is required, as well as a short essay discussing a given electional chart.
Level IV includes an extensive rectification essay, which incorporates several advanced techniques. Once the rectification exercise is passed, the student may specialize in one or more of the following areas: consulting, technical research, general studies, and instruction, each with its own special requirements.
The Four “Majors” of Level IV
Each Level IV area has its specific requirements. It is believed that completion of the NCGR-PAA curriculum is the equivalent of a four-year program in astrology.
Certification: Students who have passed the requirements of Level IV in any one of the four "majors," and have agreed to uphold NCGR-PAA’s ethical standards as spelled out in the NCGR-PAA Code of Ethics, are entitled to use the letters C.A., NCGR-PAA after their name on publications, stationary and promotional items.
Learning & Testing: All the required material for each level of proficiency is covered in the NCGR-PAA Education Curriculum and Study Guide for Certification Testing. The NCGR-PAA curriculum is taught by many qualified teachers throughout the astrological community. Testing is available at specified astrological conferences, and can be arranged through contacting NCGR-PAA's Education Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCGR-PAA Certification Tests
Revised tests for Levels I through IV have been operative since September 1, 2005. With the revisions, the Level III take-home tests are now graded separately. That is, a candidate must first take the proctored Level III exam; after completing that exam with a passing grade, the candidate can then apply for the take-home exam. The take-home exam will not be administered unless and until the candidate successfully completes the proctored Level III exam.
Another change with the 2005 revisions has to do with the math segments of Levels I and II. If a candidate does not successfully pass the math segment of either of these two tests, he or she must take the entire Level I or Level II test over again in order to pass. There is no longer a separate re-take exam for math only.
Current fees for each level of testing are as follows:
Level I (Proctored Exam) $60.00
NCGR Members $ 115.00
Level II (Proctored Exam) $ 70.00
NCGR Members $ 125.00
Level III (Proctored Exam) $ 80.00
NCGR Members $ 135.00
Level III (Take-Home Exam) $ 90.00
NCGR Members $ 145.00
Level IV (Rectification) $ 105.00
NCGR Members $ 160.00
Level IV (Consulting; Technical Research;
General Studies Research; or Instruction) $ 165.00
NCGR Members $ 330.00
The Study Guide is an essential adjunct for preparing for NCGR-PAA testing, since it covers the entire curriculum of studies for certification testing. It is modestly priced at $20.00 plus shipping & handling and is available through this link. Among some of the changes instituted with the 2005 revised tests have been new material on classical astrology in Levels I and II. Vedic, Chinese, and Mesoamerican astrology have also been included in the Level III proctored exam.
The take-home exam for Level III still requires the in-depth mundane essay but it also requires an exercise in electional astrology as follows: electing the best times for four specific events from a given natal chart (instead of the previous requirement of calculating and analyzing a solar return chart). Questions on solar and lunar returns analysis are now covered in the Level III proctored exam. Although an essay on professional ethics is included in the other required material for the Level IV Consultation Track, questions on ethics are also interspersed throughout all three levels of the proctored exams.
Guidelines for Schools in NCGR-PAA’s Equivalency Program
As part of NCGR-PAA’s equivalency requirements, all schools and organizations included in our program have submitted documentation on their overall curriculum, specific courses of study, number of instructors, students enrolled, and other pertinent information. Those distinguished schools and organizations currently included in our Equivalency Program are listed on our main Certification page.
How Schools or Other Educational Programs Qualify for NCGR-PAA Equivalency
NCGR-PAA’s equivalency program allows students to enter our four-level certification program at a higher level than if they were entering the program with no previous study. Specific coursework or certification at a qualified school may allow the student to test as high as Level IV in NCGR-PAA’s program.
Following are the requirements for schools and other organizations to apply for equivalency in our certification program.
School needs to be officially in existence for at least five years.
School should have at least one graduating class.
School should be a stand-alone school; that is, not strictly conform only to the NCGR-PAA curriculum, but have its own separate identity and curriculum.
School should have a faculty of at least three teachers.
School should have a program that spans at least two years. A series of workshops, seminars, lectures, etc. do not make a school. There should be some kind of comprehensive program of a continuous nature.
There should be a review of an equivalency-granted school by the Education Director plus a chosen representative from the NCGR-PAA Board or the Board of Examiners after a ten-year period from acceptance for equivalency. A school's equivalency will remain in force for as long as there is good will and cooperation shown between NCGR-PAA and the school.
The granting of equivalency for a school should be decided by the Education Director in cooperation with the Chair and then voted final approval by the NCGR-PAA Board.
Some outside criteria should be established for equivalency, such as APAI acceptance, state licensing, longevity and continuity of a school over a reasonable period of time, and other such considerations. These requirements are over and above the criteria we now have in place as guidelines for equivalency, which are essentially a review of a school's curriculum of studies, and a determination by the Education Director as to how rigorous these studies are. This entails a complete review of course topics covered within a school program, plus proof that an applicant has successfully tested on those topics (by way of transcripts or other such documentation). There should be some general conformity with NCGR-PAA's curriculum, as outlined in our Study Guide, in order to determine which NCGR-PAA Level can be exempted. An applying school would not automatically be exempted from our Levels I, II, and III, but may be exempted from any one of these from Level I up. However, no school can be exempted from our Level IV exams.