Professional Body Services

ACRP’s professional body services were designed according to the requirements that the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the National Qualifications Framework Act 67 0f 2008 have set for professional bodies. These are:

Defining professional designations

The first task of a professional body is to defining professional designations that are recognised by the professional body and the profession in general. Another word for “designation” is a “professional category”. ACRP has defined four main levels of designations or professional categories, namely:

  • Religious practitioner
  • Advanced religious practitioner
  • Religious professional, and
  • Religious specialist

Read more about affiliation and designations.

Note:   ACRP does not define designations by using terms churches use for their church offices (such as pastor, bishop, reverend, etc). The reason is that different churches may have different views of what the relationship between an office and a professional body designation should be. For example: some churches may allow a pastor or bishop to be on the practitioner level, while another church may require a pastor or bishop to be on the professional or specialist level. The relationship between professional body designation and a church’s own offices is a matter to be decided by participating churches. The professional body does not interfere with the church’s ruling on this.

Identifying training standards (qualifications) that apply to the different designations

The second task of a professional body is to identify the training standards (qualifications) that apply to the different designations. This is done in close cooperation with partnering churches, ministries and training institutions

Note: Find out more about the training requirements for the four designations recognised by ACRP. For a summary of the required qualifications, see the document ACRP Rules of Designation.

Note: ACRP does not interfere with the confessional content of training provided by churches or other ministry institutions. The professional body sets broad guidelines in terms of the occupational profile that teaching and training should lead to, and in terms of good teaching and training practice. Partner institutions (churches, ministries, training institutions) determine the contents of training in terms of their own confessional position, culture, etc.

Determining alternative requirements that apply to the different designations

The third task of a professional body is to determine alternative requirements or an alternative route that apply to the different designations. This is valid for pastors / persons in ministry who do not have the required SAQA recognised ministry qualification to be awarded a designation, but who have years of ministry experience. For this ACRP does “Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) towards a professional designation”. For a summary of how “RPL into a designation” is applied, see the document ACRP Rules of Designation.

Note: RPL into a designation differs from “RPL into a qualification”. “RPL into a qualification” is done by training institutions - in this case the result of a successful RPL process leads to access to higher level studies, or the awarding of credits towards a qualification. “RPL into a designation” is done by professional bodies and leads to the awarding of a designation even if the person does not have the formal qualifications normally required for the designation.

Defining general guidelines on ethics and discipline

A fourth task of a professional body is to provide guidance on professional requirements in terms of good practice, ethical standards and disciplinary practice. This is done in close cooperation with churches and ministries. (Ethical standards as defined by ACRP are described in the Ethical Code and disciplinary processes are described in the Disciplinary Code.

Linked to this is to assist churches and ministries with a route for the public to lodge complaints where affiliates / designated persons act in contravention of the ethical codes or codes of good practice. When complaints are received, steps will be taken according to the disciplinary processes as agreed with church and ministry partners. The relevant processes are as described in the Disciplinary Code.

Note: Where partner churches and ministries do have their internal requirements in terms of good practice, ethical standards and disciplinary practice, these are recognised by ACRP via a Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the parties. Where a church or ministry does not have its own ethical and/or disciplinary code, ACRP provides the relevant services as a support service to churches or ministries. Providing Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) services to affiliates, churches and ministries.

Facilitating Continued Professional Development (CPD) services

A fifth task of a professional body is to facilitating Continued Professional Development (CPD) services to affiliates, churches and ministries.

Note: Persons who are affiliated with ACRP are required to earn 20 CPD credits every year in order to maintain the status of affiliate (“remain in good standing”). Where a person has been awarded a designation based on the relevant qualification, he or she may randomly select any CPD course or programme, as long as the minimum requirements are met. A person who has been awarded a designation through RPL, that is, without the relevant qualification, is expected enrol for a structured CPD programme as recognised by ACRP.

Read a summary of the CPD duties of the ACRP affiliates.

Facilitating Continued Professional Development (CPD) services

A related function of a professional body is to facilitating bridging programmes to support the RPL process for affiliates, churches and ministries. There is a large number of pastors in our communities who did not have the opportunity to receive formal, accredited training in the past. A strategy for bridging courses and structured CPD courses provides the opportunity for such pastors to catch up on formal training in an effective manner without having to leave their ministries.

Note: At this point in time, bridging programmes and structured CPD are relevant to CGMP and CMTP only. The topics of the bridging programmes are shown in the CGMP and CMTP Advanced RPL application form.