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From NASPAWiki

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NASPA certifies its officials (most are called directors) as being qualified to direct sanctioned tournaments and clubs.


NASPA offers several different categories of certification for its officials. The criteria for certification are set jointly by the Tournament Committee and the Club/Director Committee. If you are interested in becoming certified, please follow the detailed instructions for director certification.

Title Code1 Test2 Appr3 Age Brief Description4
Tournament/Club Director F yes yes 21+ May direct tournaments and clubs.
Club Director C May direct clubs.
Tournament Coordinator P May organize and have sanctioned tournaments, and hire directors to work at them.
Apprentice Director A no May direct a tournament or club under the supervision of a mentor director.
Young Adult Apprentice Director A2 18–20 May direct a tournament or club under the on-site supervision of a mentor director.
Youth Apprentice Director A1 <18
Assistant Director S no any May act online on behalf for a director without full Internet access.

1These codes are used in the membership database.

2You must pass a test to obtain this certification, unless grandfathered.

3You must finish an apprenticeship under a mentor director to obtain this certification, unless grandfathered.

4Click on the certification title for a more detailed description.


Until 2009-07-01, the organization responsible for certifying tournament and club directors was the NSA. It did so using an open-book written test with a pass-or-fail result.

If you were an active tournament or club director certified by the NSA as of that date, you were granted the grandfathered status of Tournament/Club Director.

Grandfathered directors were required to requalify through a free online test between September 20, 2013 and April 30, 2014.

Those that failed to do so may requalify by successfully retaking the director's test, and do not need to serve an apprenticeship.

Maintaining Certification

The criteria for maintaining certified director status and for restoring a lapsed certification are also set by the Tournament Committee and the Club/Director Committee:

  • A certified director must be a member in good standing of NASPA. A director can lose his/her good standing through a disciplinary process, or by having an overdue account with NASPA.
  • When significant changes are made in Official Tournament Rules and/or Director’s Manual, directors may be required to retake the director test as a review at no charge. This can be done by email.

Director Responsibilities

It is important for all NASPA directors to remember they are also NASPA’s public representatives.

The first responsibility of NASPA directors is to represent NASPA in a professional, moral, ethical, fair, welcoming, and encouraging manner.

The second responsibility of a NASPA director is to provide more opportunities for all players to participate in sanctioned tournament and club play. NASPA and its predecessors have overseen tournament and club play for over 40 years, and NASPA continues to be the primary Scrabble organization in North America.

NASPA directors may freely play in non-NASPA events such as Youth Scrabble events, WESPA events, charity events, or other competitive events.

NASPA directors may work at or even direct such events, but with three conditions that are required to avoid confusion about their role.

First, NASPA directors are subject to the NASPA Code of Conduct when working at any Scrabble event, including non-NASPA ones. This means in particular that they are expected to continue to act as ambassadors for NASPA, should not encourage players to join other organizations, and are subject to disciplinary sanctions for Code violations.

Second, NASPA directors should be identified as NASPA directors, working with the cooperation of NASPA. For example, if a website names event staff, they should say “NASPA-certified director” beside the name of any NASPA directors.

Finally, if the event uses NASPA resources - such as NASPA Zyzzyva, tsh, NASPA rules, or the NASPA word lists or lists derived from them, directors should make an appropriate donation to the NASPA Foundation for Youth Literacy and announce that the resources are used with NASPA’s permission.

Resources for directors

Here are some resources for directors to help them do their job. If you need something that isn’t listed below, please let us know and we’ll add it.

NASPA directors can reserve NASPA's Zoom video conferencing service on a first-come, first-served basis to try out the service for club sessions or tournaments. Contact us at zoom@scrabbleplayers.org to reserve a meeting time.

As of April 11, 2024, NASPA directors receive a 10% discount at the NASPA Store.

See also the Player Resources page for scoresheets and other player-related forms and links.

Use the Director's Manual as a reference for information about creating and running clubs and tournaments. Check the Tournament page for the latest information about sanctioning tournaments.



  • Verify a player’s membership and/or rating (note that cross-tables only lists players who have played rated games; first-time players will be flagged as “Check with NASPA”):
    • Member search An interactive search for any NASPA members (does not currently include information about suspensions).
    • Rating search An interactive search for any rated players (shows rating and expiry; flags suspended players).
    • Member list (restricted to certified NASPA directors) A concise listing of all current NASPA members eligible to play in tournaments (with their ratings and membership numbers), in alphabetical order by last name (includes also new members who haven’t played in rated tournaments yet; excludes members who have not paid yet or whose membership has expired; excludes players currently under any level of suspension). Tip: save or print a copy of the output from this application so you can quickly verify any player’s eligibility even when you are not online.
    • Rating list A long listing of all living players (with their ratings, rankings and membership expiration dates) that have ever established a rating with NASPA or the NSA, in alphabetical order by last name (includes rated players only; includes also rated nonmembers and past members; indicates players who are suspended).
    • Under the terms of international agreements, certain players may be entitled to complimentary NASPA memberships for the purposes of playing in tournaments. Please consult that page for further instructions on accepting overseas members in rated tournaments.
    • If you are unable to use the above to determine a player’s membership status, please contact membership@scrabbleplayers.org.
  • To purchase a NASPA membership for a player, go to Member services and look for “Add New Members” or “Renew Member” in the Director section. As a director, if you have more than one kind of payment to make (membership, renewal, participation fee, etc.), you can choose to defer payment so that you only have to enter your credit card information once. If you need to collect membership information offline at a tournament or club, you can use our old Membership Application Form to record the data you will need to type into the online form. Overseas players may inquire about reciprocal memberships under international agreements; if you're not sure what to do, email info@scrabbleplayers.org.
  • Players under suspension
  • Player Accommodations

Tutorial on Processing Memberships or Renewals

All tournament players, whether a newbie or someone with a rating who hasn't joined NASPA yet, must join NASPA in order to play in your tournament. Here are some scenarios that might apply to your tournament:

1. You are gathering entries for your tournament and you look on cross-tables to see if they are members. Cross-tables says "check with NASPA". You check on the NASPA member database, accessible by clicking on "Member Search" on the sidebar. If they have a member number in the NASPA database, they are good to go. Occasionally a membership does not show up on Cross-tables right away but will already be listed on the NASPA database.

2. You are gathering entries for your tournament and you agree to let someone join NASPA at the door. If you know ahead of time that one or more people are going to do this, go to Member Services and click on the “Add New Member” button in the Director section. Fill out all the membership information and then choose “Payment with your next tournament’ participation fee” payment method. Your players’ memberships will be activated right away, and a charge will be placed on your account with NASPA, so that it will be totalled with your participation fee after your tournament.

3. You are checking in players the day of the tournament and you have a walk-in who is not a member.

Check to make sure that all of your players are listed on the NASPA site as members. Rating data will not be accepted if any players are not members. Ask nonmembers to fill out printed membership forms, then activate their memberships as in case 2 above. If you have players who say they have recently mailed membership checks to NASPA, do not pay that portion of the amount shown owing; it will be removed from your director account when their checks clear. If their checks do not clear, you will be liable for their membership fees and will not be able to run a tournament until we receive full payment.

By “director account” that simply means there will be a list of directors and what they owe for the new members and your “account balance” will go away once you have paid. This does not go on your credit card when you submit your results.

You also have the option of authorizing the membership monies to be charged to your credit card, which you might do to help a club member join NASPA when you do not have an upcoming tournament.

4. A tournament entrant says he has joined NASPA. Ask what his membership number is. If it starts with AA followed by 6 digits, you're fairly sure he joined NASPA and not the NSA. Occasionally people join the NSA thinking that it will entitle them to play in NASPA-rated tournaments.


We are continuing to compile a director list and a Club roster. If you are a director who has not yet submitted information about yourself and/or your club, please download our director questionnaire and submit it to the Club/Director Committee.