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Certified Judges Program

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Why Hire a NQACJ? Certified Judges List Evaluation Form


Those who chose NQA Certified Quilt Judges say...

MQX Logo

MQX Quilt Festivals made a commitment in 2004 to hire NQA Certified Quilt Judges exclusively for all of its shows. Each judging panel is comprised of three judges one of whom is Scott Murkin named Permanent Lead Judge in 2009. More than fifteen shows later, we still feel that NQA Certified Quilt Judges are well trained and have a broad range of experiences lending credibility to the judging results. Thank you to NQA for providing quality training and the certification program for our industry.  

Janet-Lee Santeusanio, MQX Founder 3/14/14

Piggon Forge logo

We chose a National Quilting Association Certified Judge to judge A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN in March 2014. We chose a NQA certified judge to get the best judging of our quilts as possible. We were not disappointed. The professionalism and knowledge of our judge was outstanding.

Kathie Weatherford, Quilt Show Director, A Mountain Quiltfest

Charlotte logo

We chose to use NQA Certified Judges for our quilt show because we feel they are trained in the latest techniques and give unbiased evaluations that are carefully considered.

Charlotte Quilters Guild; Jeri Kellett, Quilt Show Judging Chair

About the Program

 In 1979, the National Quilting Association, Inc. (NQA) established a program to certify quilt judges. This program seeks to assure that quilt judges are qualified to evaluate quilts in any show, whether National, regional or guild.

To be certified, you must demonstrate experience judging quilt shows and knowledge in all areas of quilt design, construction, and finishing.  For more details see What to Expect.

(If additional information is needed regarding the candidates
please contact Pat Harrison, NQA Certified Judges Coordinator.)


Advantage of Being a NQA Certified Judge

You are entitled to use the initials NQACJ professionally, and to use your status as a Certified Judge as proof of your competence.

You receive a certificate, wallet card and a Certified Judge's pin.

You enjoy opportunities to assist with the judging process at the annual NQA show.

Your name is included on the list of Certified Judges posted on this website.  Your name will be shared with interested parties who request a list, who may be searching for judges to assist with quilt shows.

The process of becoming a CJ can be an enriching learning experience in itself allowing you to learn from other certified judges and participate in one of the largest non-juried shows in the United States.

 Ongoing Requirements for Certified Judges

  • Continuing education is expected for all Certified Judges.
  • The Judges Code of Ethics must be followed.
  • Certified Judges must maintain their NQA membership.
  • An updated professional resumé must be submitted every three years to remain active.


NQACJ Award of Merit

Award of Merit Recipients


If professionalism, experience, and integrity were not sufficient reasons alone to secure an NQA certified quilt judge to judge your group’s show, here’s another incentive—the brand new NQACJ Award of Merit. With prior approval of the show coordinator or sponsor, NQA certified judges have the option of awarding this special ribbon to a deserving quilt in any show he/she might judge. At the judge’s discretion, it will be awarded to one quilt achieving recognized standards of quiltmaking excellence. This ribbon is not meant to conflict with any other show awards, but will be an encouraging addition to them, at no cost or obligation to the show sponsors.

The NQACJ Award of Merit is yet another way NQA strives to recognize and reward fine quilts. Makers of Award of Merit winning quilts will be presented a letter of congratulations in addition to a lovely rosette ribbon. They will also be invited to post photos of their quilts on the NQA website and to enter them in the annual NQA Quilt Show.

For more information and details on this award, please contact NQA certified judge Sandra Dorrbecker.

Are you an Award of Merit winner? Congratulations! Please download, complete and submit the WEB SITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA PERMISSION AGREEMENT. (All directions can be found on the form.)