Government Archives and Records Administration (GARA) Certificate Program

The National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) is a professional association dedicated to the improvement of federal, state, and local government records and information management and the professional development of government records administrators and archivists. This certificate program was created to recognize government officials' achievements in obtaining a knowledge base to help them more effectively care for and manage their records.

GARA Certificate Recipients


NameJob TitleOrganization
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Alexandra K. CopelandPublic Records SpecialistSnohomish County, WA
Annie SchmidRecords TechnicianIdaho State Archives
Cori PickettSenior Records AnalystIllinois Department of Transportation
Daria LabinskyRecords and Information Management SpecialistU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Darrin LeRoy KliceRecords SpecialistCity of Irving, TX
Deborah BarkerRecords & Data Integrity ManagerOttumwa Job Corps
Hannah WellsRecords & Web SpecialistCity of Milwaukie, OR
Holly RivetArchives TechnicianNational Archives and Records Administration
Kaitlin E. D'AmicoArchivistArizona State Library, Archives & Public Records
Karen HainesAOT Records Analyst IIVT Agency of Transportation
Letina JonesWarehouse Technician IIGwinnett County, GA
Lisa ColeTown ClerkTown of Sahuarita, AZ
Megan LeBlancSenior Records SpecialistLake Stevens Police Department
Mr. Daniel J. Fleming  
Mr. Nathan RaschData Privacy CoordinatorScott County, MN
Mr. William Robert McClementsRecords and Information Management SpecialistHousing and Urban Development
Mrs. Cheryl FrankeRecords Management OfficerConcho Valley Council of Governments
Ms. Stephanie A. CoonARCHIVIST, Special Access & FOIA DivisionNational Archives and Records Administration
Roderick Leonard DaysRecords Management Program Specialist IIGwinnett County, GA

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If you received your certificate after January 2015 and wish to receive a reprinted certificate, please e-mail [email protected] and a replacement will be sent at no cost. If you received your certificate before 2015 and wish to receive a reprinted certificate, please send a picture/PDF copy of your certificate to [email protected] and a replacement will be sent at no cost.

How to Apply:

To apply, candidates should download and complete the "GARA Certificate Application" (EXCEL file) at the top of this page. Please be sure to include with your application all applicable evidence and information as noted below. Applications must be submitted in electronic format to [email protected] No paper application will be accepted. We understand that file sizes may be too large for one email. Please feel free to send multiple emails if this is the case.

*When applying, please complete all necessary sections, including "Event Description, Objectives and Outcomes*


  • To enhance the professional development of government records caretakers so that they may better manage the records that document the activities of government and protect the legal rights of citizens.
  • To offer career development goals for participants in a subject area that is critical to their profession.
  • To foster professional networking among NAGARA and federal, state, regional, and county local government associations, and between individual records caretakers and their State Archives.

Certificate Requirements:

  • 40 hours of qualified study within 5 years of the date of application.
  • A minimum of 2 hours of training toward 7 of the 9 areas must be completed (The remaining 26 hours of training may be applied to any of the 9 competency areas.)
  • It is highly recommended that each applicant complete a state- or local- government specific workshop on public records law to be recorded under the "Legal and Compliance Issues" core competencies section.
  • An individual event may not be listed more than once in the application.
  • $50 application fee.
  • Membership in NAGARA.

Since the minimum requirement of 2 hours in 7 of the 9 competency areas totals 14 hours, applicants may enroll in multiple workshops within certain competency areas and/or may participate in subject area workshops that are longer than 2 hours duration. This will allow participants to pursue knowledge and skills that are of special interest to them and/or of particular relevance to their work environments.

Core Competency Areas:

  1. Records and Information Management Basics
  2. Physical Storage and Environments
  3. Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity
  4. Retention and Disposition
  5. Advocacy and Outreach
  6. Electronic Records and Information Management
  7. Legal and Compliance Issues
  8. Archives and Long-term Preservation
  9. Emerging Technologies

**Please see Appendix A for list of recommended training topics for each of the 9 competency areas.**

What are “core competencies” and why are they required to earn NAGARA’S Government Archives and Records Administration Certificate?

Competencies are a set of behaviors encompassing skills, knowledge, abilities, and personal attributes that, taken together, are critical to successful work accomplishment. NAGARA’s Certificate in Government Archives and Records Administration (GARA) is tied to completion of education, training, and/or professional development activities designed to provide knowledge and skills to support the nine GARA competency areas.

NAGARA acknowledges that demands for workplace skills and knowledge of government archives and records management differ from one environment to another, and from one management level to another. Further, competence grows with experience and continued education. The GARA Certificate does not result in the CRM designation as established by the Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM) or the CA designation as established by the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA). However, the GARA Certificate does recognize that an individual has obtained a base of knowledge to help him or her perform more effectively in certain workplace environments, and NAGARA encourages certificate recipients to build upon that foundation with continued personal and professional growth in government archives and records management subject areas.

Types of evidence that should be submitted for each activity in the application:

  • Proof of attendance (certificate of attendance, copy of instructor's sign-in sheet, etc) including name, date, and title of workshop
  • Number of hours and proof of hours attended
  • Course contents description (course content descriptions may be a link to a website or a copy of a program, but should not include all the slides or handouts of a presentation)
  • Instructors' names, affiliations, qualifications

To pay your GARA Certificate Application Fee, click below:

Appendix A

Examples of training topics for each of the 9 Competency Areas are listed below. Qualifying NAGARA webinars are worth one (1) study hour each, and each webinar lists which core competency is applicable.
Note: You must be logged in to your NAGARA profile for the list of qualifying webinars to appear

Comp 1: Records Information Management Basics

Needs Assessment
Records Inventory
Strategic Planning
Work Processes
Basic RIM Principles
Setting RIM Goals and Objectives
Introduction to RIM (Value, purpose, function, records lifecycle, records management)

Qualifying NAGARA Webinars

Comp 2: Physical Storage and Environments 

Storage and Environment Basics
Offsite Storage
Environmental Controls (fire suppression, temperature, relative humidity)
Managing Inactive Records (physical and electronic media)
Safety and Security (Records, Records Centers, Archives)
Inventory Management
Cost Effective Work Methods
Outfitting a Records Center
Records Storage Design

Comp 3: Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity 

Vital/Essential Records Inventory
Risk Management
Disaster Preparedness
Records Protection
Recovery Techniques
Business Continuity Plan
Continuous IT operations
Incidence Response

Comp 4: Retention and Disposition 

Records Scheduling
Big Buckets
Capstone Approach & Email Mgmt.
Using Retention Schedules
Implementation of Schedules
Defensible Disposition
Disposition Methods & Technologies
R&D in Cloud
Third-party agreements
Electronic Records Management Systems

Comp 5: Advocacy and Outreach  

Developing a website
Providing access to collections (e.g., exhibits)
Grant Proposal Writing
Advocacy techniques
Marketing techniques
Outreach and Public Relations

Comp 6: Electronic Records and Information Management 

Utilizing technology
Introduction to GIS
Electronic Records Management
RM software and database selection
Data security
Data storage practices
Enterprise Content Management

Comp 7: Legal and Compliance Issues 

Public records/Freedom of information (1.5 hours highly recommended)
State or local records management processes or procedures
Legal Discovery
Privacy Issues (PII, HIPAA, FERPA, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) Also, EU GDPR

Comp. 8: Archives and Long-term Preservation  

Basics of Archives
Archives Management
Digital Archives
Data Migration
Preservation of Electronic Records
Long-Term Storage Options
Trustworthy Digital Repositories

Comp 9: Emerging Technologies 

Social media (records)
Body cameras (capture, management, retention, disposition)
Blockchain Technology (application for records)
Autonomous Vehicles (capture, management, retention, disposition)
RIM policies related to each
*Note: This competency must be continually monitored and revised as new technologies emerge.