What is a registrar?

Registrars collect and record details of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships. Under UK law, details of all births, stillbirths, deaths and marriages must be recorded on official documents, this is the registrar’s responsibility.

When a new child is born, the parents will need to register their birth. As a registrar, you’ll interview the parents to find out the child’s name and birthdate to complete a computer record, which issues a birth certificate. Similarly, when someone dies, relatives will need to register the death with the person’s name and cause of death. Registrars also interview people before their weddings to check their eligibility to get married, including age. A registrar is also present at the event. 

What does a registrar do?

Registrars are employed by the local authority but are responsible to the Registrar General. Typical responsibilities of a registrar include:

  • Interviewing parents and relatives after a birth or death
  • Completing computerised and paper records
  • Issuing birth and death certificates
  • Informing the coroner if there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding a death
  • Collecting statistics to send to the General Register Office
  • Producing and taking payment for copies of certificates
  • Performing civil ceremonies like marriages and civil partnerships

What are the skills required to become a registrar?

This role is suitable for people who enjoy talking to other people and have the ability to relate to different backgrounds. Some of the key skills you may need to be a registrar include:

  • Excellent interviewing skills and the ability to ask the right questions for the information you need.
  • Good judgment of character — you’ll need to ensure that the information you’re given is true and accurate.
  • Be able to relate to people from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Excellent communication and customer service skills.
  • Be interested in working with people.
  • Be interested in collecting and preserving information.
  • Legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • Good computer skills.
  • Be able to work under pressure — you’ll be working during peak seasons and may have to handle hundreds of registrations at one time.

What qualifications are needed to be a registrar?

There are no set qualifications to become a registrar, however, most employers prefer entrants to have GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. Having administrative work experience can also be helpful.

Training is given on the job and you’ll be taught registration law. The Local Registration Services Association (LRSA) has a long-term aim to develop professional qualifications and provide training for those working in the registration service.

You must be at least 21 years old and you cannot become a registrar if you’re already employed as a:

  • Doctor
  • Midwife
  • Funeral director
  • Life assurance industry
  • Ministers of religion

Steps to become a registrar:

Step 1 :  Gain work experience:

If you want to apply directly for registrar jobs, you’ll need to first gain some experience in management and handling budgets. It is useful to have knowledge of legislation and legal processes. You can develop customer service and IT skills by working at a managerial level in a registrar’s department, local council or private sector company.

Step 2: Apply for an assistant role:

You can also start as a deputy registrar in an assistant role, where you’ll be trained on the job. From there you can apply to become a registrar. To apply for an assistant role you must be at least 18 years old.

Step 3: Job opportunities:

Once you have relevant experience you’re in a position to apply for a role as a registrar. Opportunities for registrars are available in offices in most towns and cities throughout the UK. Check your local authority for entry requirements as they can differ between regions.

Registrars can then be promoted to a higher grade where they can undertake some specialist responsibilities or manage other registrars. Each district has at least one superintendent registrar and deputy.

How much does a registrar earn in the UK?

The average starting salary of a registrar in the UK is £18,000 and for an experienced registrar, it is £42,000. If you’re conducting civil ceremonies, marriages and civil partnerships, you’ll usually charge a fee for each ceremony.

How long does it take to become a registrar?

As there are no set courses or routes to becoming a registrar, it is important that you gain some work experience to develop your skills such as customer service and management . 6 months to a year is a useful amount of time to gain these skills, but there are no set requirements. You can work part-time in a registrar’s department or with your local council. With experience, you could be promoted from assistant registrar to deputy registrar, but again there is no set time frame for this.

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