How to become a Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Registrar Officer do?
As a registrar, it would be your job to collect and record the details of all births, stillbirths, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships in your area. You could also perform marriage, civil partnership, citizenship and naming ceremonies at register offices and other venues.
In this job your main duties would include:
- interviewing parents and relatives after a birth or a death
- completing computerised and paper records
- issuing birth or death certificates
- informing the coroner (or procurator fiscal in Scotland) if there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding a death
- collecting statistics to send to the General Register Office
- taking payment for copies of certificates
- keeping accurate records
- performing civil ceremonies.
You could also be employed as a celebrant, conducting civil ceremonies such as marriages, civil partnerships and civil funerals without the responsibility of registering births and deaths.
You could be employed by a local council, or you could work independently (see the Association of Independent Celebrants for information). If you share humanist beliefs, you could also become an officiant or celebrant of the British Humanist Association.
- Association of Independent Celebrants
- British Humanist Association
In a full-time job you would work 37 hours a week, including some weekends and bank holidays. You may also work on-call outside of normal office hours. Part-time work is often available.
You would be based at a local register office, and may also attend marriages in various types of locations such as hotels, stately homes and civic buildings. In some remote areas, you may be based at home or in a local post office and work when needed.
How much does a Registrar Officer earn?
Salary and pay information
- Assistant registrars usually start on around £17,000 a year.
- Registrars can expect to earn around £25,000 a year.
- Superintendent registrars may earn up to £40,000 a year.
- Part-time celebrants usually earn a set fee for each ceremony they conduct.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
To become a registrar, you will need experience of dealing with a wide range of people, and you should be computer literate. You may find it useful to have some experience of public speaking. A driving licence is also useful.
Employers look for a good standard of general education and will usually prefer you to be qualified to at least GCSE standard or equivalent.
Doctors, midwives, ministers of religion, funeral directors and anyone working in the life assurance industry are not allowed to become registrars.
Training and Development
You will be trained on the job by your employer in registration law and procedures. You may also be trained in customer care and dealing with bereavement.
In Scotland, after around two years’ experience in the job, you can take the Certificate of Proficiency in the Law and Practice of Registration, which is jointly awarded by the General Register Office for Scotland, the Association of Registrars in Scotland and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).
Skills and Knowledge
- the ability to relate to people from all backgrounds and cultures
- excellent communication skills
- tact, patience and empathy, for dealing with people who may be distressed
- the ability to apply rules and laws
- clear and accurate handwriting
- confidence speaking in public, for celebrating marriages and naming ceremonies
- the ability to work well both alone and as part of a team
- the ability to work under pressure
- computer and administrative skills.
Jobs for celebrants are often part-time and may be seasonal.
If employed by a local council, you would be responsible to the General Register Office, which is now part of the Immigration and Passport Service.
Jobs may be advertised in the local press and on local authority websites.
You could be promoted from assistant registrar to deputy registrar, then to registrar and superintendent. Each district has at least one superintendent registrar and deputy, and each sub district has a registrar and deputy.