19th June 2021
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Useful Certifications to do as a Stage Manager During Social Distancing

certifications for stage managers
By Melissa Bondar

I just want to start this post with the idea that relaxing and resetting aren’t bad things to do with some of the extra time we find ourselves with in the unusual and extraordinary turbulent time we find ourselves in.

Amp up your bubble bath time. Read for fun. Go for long, rambling, solitary walks. Listen to podcasts with all the educational rigor of Welcome to Nightvale.

As a matter of fact, I’d recommend it as a key thing on any stage manager’s list because those things are all free or cheap and I think as a whole, we’re not the best relaxers.

There’s a lot written these days on burnout. I know, I wrote some of it myself, but of course there’s a difference between choosing to step away for a little bit and an undetermined amount of time with no projects and no income.

But this is where we are and if there’s one thing I know about stage managers, we’re good at putting unexpected obstacles to use.

So chill out as long and as much as you want, and if after that, you find we’re still social distancing, here are some cool things you can do


Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness (Certifying Agency: FEMA)

This course teaches the basic of emergency management for animals should the need to evacuate them ever arise. As a circus stage manager, I found a lot of the information interesting and useful, and I was reminded of the time we had to evacuate our tent for a tornado and I wish I had known the contents of this training before that night. Even if you just stage manage the occasional production with a trained dog, cat or chicken, there are still some handy tips on how to prepare to deal with those animals in an emergency.

Animals in Disaster: Community Planning (Certifying Agency: FEMA)

This course was like a second level of Awareness and Preparedness. If you often work with a lot of animals or exotic animals, there is more useful information in here.

ETC Trainings (Certifying Agency: Electronic Theatre Controls)

A variety of online training courses about trouble shooting, problem solving, and working with different lighting consoles. Some courses include credits for ETCP continuing education.

Fundamentals of Emergency Management (Certifying Agency: FEMA)

This course teaches the basics of emergency responses, focusing on how to create emergency management plans and implement them within your community.

The Science of Well-Being (Certifying Agency: Yale via Coursera)

This course focuses on the science of happiness and how to make life choices that allow you a more balanced and better outlook on life. It’s one of the most popular courses offered at Yale, and is full of interesting information on how we may be looking in ways that are making it more difficult to be content rather than in ways that can help us maximize our happiness.


Event Safety Access Training (Certifying Agency: Event Safety Alliance) $69.96

An introductory level health and safety course. Less comprehensive than OSHA 10, though not a bad brush up if it’s been a while since you’ve done any OSHA training. If you don’t have an OSHA 10 or 30 – spend the money on that instead.

National Safety Passport (Certifying Agency: Essential Minimum Safety Standard) £89.99

This is a very basic health and safety beginner level certification from the UK that is also recognized globally. As an American, most of my Health & Safety certificates are based here, but I took this course to see if there was a big difference and because I work internationally sometimes.

OSHA 10 – General Industry (Certifying Agency: Occupational Health & Safety Administration) $79.00

An introductory health and safety training course for entry level workers.

OSHA 30 – General Industry (Certifying Agency: Occupational Health & Safety Administration) $169.00

A more comprehensive health and safety training course for supervisors and managers.


The last two things I’d suggest you do aren’t actually certifications, but spend some time learning G Suite or Microsoft Office. There are places that sell “certifications” for these software, but I don’t think it’s worth paying for them – knowing how to use them really efficiently is really the goal as a stage manager.


Also on by Melissa Bondar:

My Favorite Stats from the 2019 Stage Manager Survey

Financial Stability in the Arts amidst the Coronavirus

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