Certified Judges Program
Requirements for Candidates
- The enrollment period for a Candidate is up to five years, during which time the Paperwork and Panel Review should be successfully completed.
- Candidates must maintain their NQA membership during their enrollment period.
- Candidates are required to serve as judges' aides for at least two full days at two different NQA Annual Quilt Shows: once before submitting their Paperwork and again before their Panel Review. Candidates are highly encouraged to aide at all NQA Annual Shows during enrollment.
- The two-day "Introduction to Quilt Judging" seminar is highly recommended to all candidates. This seminar is offered at all NQA shows and seminar information is to be found in the Show Registration Brochure and in the online registration pages on this website in the Spring prior to the Annual Show.
- Candidates are encouraged to actively pursue judging and aiding jobs for as many different judged shows as possible. These jobs are one form of educational opportunity.
- When pursuing jobs at judging venues, a Candidate may use the phrase "currently enrolled in the NQA Judges' Certification Program," but may NOT represent themselves as NQA Judges or as being sponsored by the National Quilting Association.
Step 1. Application Procedure
Prior to submitting an application for Candidacy, all prospective candidates must:
- Have at least 3 experiences on a judging room floor within the previous five years. An experience may include acting as a judge, fanner, scribe, holder, or even observer, if observation is exclusive of other simultaneous responsibilities such as quilt show chair or director. Hanging or taking down a quilt show does not satisfy the requirement for continuous dedicated attention to the judging process for an entire judging day. One of the three experiences must be with an NQA certified judge.
- Have judged at least 35 quilts at a single show in the previous five years.
- Be a member of the National Quilting Association.
To obtain an enrollment application, please contact the NQA office. The completed application and the enrollment fee ($125 U.S. Residents; $150 Non-US Residents) should be returned to the office. The Certified Judge Coordinator will then receive the application and will contact the Candidate. The Coordinator will send the Candidate a list of in-depth judging and technique questions which are referred to as the Paperwork, a Credential Questionnaire, and additional Program information.
Step 2. Paperwork
The completion of Paperwork is a lengthy process requiring the Candidate to investigate and study a wide range of quiltmaking skills and techniques. Training is completed individually and independently by the Candidate. The NQA offers no training for certification per se. Actual experience on the judging room floor is expected during this time and should serve to enhance the candidate's understanding of quilt evaluation criteria. The combination of practical and academic study will result in a comprehensive understanding of quilt judging on the part of the Candidate. Involvement in all aspects of quilt making, design and critique are important.
Paperwork is submitted to the Certified Judge Coordinator, postmarked by December 31st. The Paperwork submission is reviewed by three Certified Judges. Following passage of the Paperwork, the Candidate will be recommended for Panel Review.
Step 3. Panel Review
Panel Reviews are scheduled each year at the NQA Annual Quilt Show. The Panel review consists of an interview with three Certified Judges and a mock judging. Candidates are permitted two opportunities for Panel Review during the enrollment period.