Certification in TLA Foundations

The TLA Network offers a Certification in Transformative Language Arts Foundations. This certification is an introduction to TLA in theory and practice with opportunities for reflecting and acting on ethical work, community networking, and TLA in action. To learn more, read our answers to common questions about the certification here, and also learn about how a partnership with Goddard College benefits people who receive the certification.


  • TLA in Theory & Practice: Learn about Transformative Language Arts in the world, and how it relates to your community, livelihood, and passions
  • Ethics and Values: Through the “TLA Foundations” online class, explore the ethical dimensions of the work, study, activism, and/or art that calls to you, and how you can practice TLA according to your values.
  • TLA in Action: Through publishing in Chrysalis: A Journal of TLA or the TLA Blog, you gain experience and knowledge of TLA in action.
  • Community & Networking: By attending a Power of Words conference, or participating in two online classes, you find community, opportunities, connections, and greater knowledge of TLA’s place in your world.
  • Introduction to Right Livelihood: Throughout many aspects of this certification, you’ll discover more about how to enhance your own right livelihood (making a living through good work that helps others, and fulfills your calling). We often offer online workshops that enhance livelihood, and now offer the Right Livelihood Professional Training.

Read more in this TLA Network blog post.


If interested, please submit a short application Once approved, you have two years to complete these requirements:

  1. Successfully complete two online classes*: the TLA Foundations online class (“Changing the World with Words: Foundations of TLA”) and another online class (or several shorter classes) adding up to at least twelve weeks. (You can count up to six weeks of classes taken within one year of applying for certification.)
  2. Attend one conference or take additional (to requirement #1) online classes, adding up to at least twelve weeks (our on-line classes range from 1 week to 6 weeks long). (You can count a conference you attended within two years of beginning certification.)
  3. Write at least five blog posts relating to TLA for the TLA Blog (see guidelines here), OR have something you wrote published in Chrysalis: A Journal of TLA.
  4. Membership current in the TLA Network.
  5. Complete a short self-evaluation that includes short discussion of your background, goals, and your vision of TLA in your life and the world.
  6. One-time $40 administrative fee. Within a few months after acceptance, fill out a certification plan, including which options you’ll be pursuing. (Note: Fee covers processing your application and is non-refundable).

*Successful completion entails finishing at least 80% of all assignments, which include posting responses to exercises, questions, and each week, responses to at least three peers’ posts.

Once you complete the requirements, you will receive a certificate, verifying that you have completed the TLA Foundations certification. More information in this blog post.

Cost Estimate: See this cost breakdown to estimate expenses for obtaining TLA Foundations Certification.

Caveat: This certification is an introduction to TLA in theory and practice. It does not qualify people who complete the certification in any way except as someone who has studied TLA, reflected deeply on TLA in theory and practice, and participated fully in TLA-related projects, events and/or publications. During the “Changing the World with Words” class, participants do learn about other organizations and institutions that offer certification in such things as facilitation, poetry therapy, drama therapy, etc.

What Our Graduates Say

"It was like getting a double rainbow of light on this journey – an arching timeline, one decade atop the other, illuminating a future rich with possibility. The last ten years of exploration, introspection, teaching, and facilitation all wove together." ~ Wendy Thompson

"Yes, pursue this TLA certification! You will meet people who share your passion for bringing about peace, community, social justice, and healing using words and images. You will be amazed by the diverse, creative ways they do that. Hopefully, you will feel like you’ve come home to the friends, collaborators, mentors, and teachers you’ve been looking for. I do. I love this sense of belonging." ~ Diane Glass

"I'm a librarian, and the biggest lesson I'll take away from the TLA Foundations certification is that I can pursue TLA within my current profession, rather than making a career change. I was able to draw connections between my current work and the concepts I was learning in the TLA courses." ~ Masha Harris

"I learned that TLA is a way of being in the world, almost more than a way to do things in the world. By pushing myself to find TLA in everything I do for my living, I’ve found my tribe in so many facets of life: grant writing, IT, marketing, collaborative art, etc. The best part is when it shows up from behind a corner I didn’t expect." ~ Tiffany Vakilian

Ready? Here's How to Get Started:

1. Fill out this short application

2. Pay a one-time, non-refundable $40 administrative fee

3. The Certification Committee will review your application and let you know within a few weeks if you have been approved and send you your next steps.

Questions? Email Coordinator@TLANetwork.org

"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 873 Lansdowne, PA 19050 USA

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