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Grand Lodge policies on requirements to become Worshipful Master

U.S. Grand Lodges’ Requirements to become Master of a Lodge

I am attempting to compile all details about United States Grand Lodges’ requirements for a Brother to become Master of a Lodge, including requirements concerning ritual knowledge, other required training in leadership skills, or experience requirements. The only purpose for compiling this information is to make it available to Masons throughout the U.S. so we can all have better knowledge about what other jurisdictions do.

A good deal of the information below came from Worshipful Brother Robert L. (Bob) Spencer, WM, Tupelo #318 F&AM,  Mississippi, who did a survey and kindly allowed use of his information.

If anyone wants to send me email, especially if any of the information on this chart is not correct or if you know of additional information that should be included, please send me email by clicking on the following: paulb’at’ 


Alabama Serve as a Warden 
Arizona Qualifications of Lodge Officers (Constitution, Sec. 103):
“All Master Masons who are members in good standing, whose dues are paid, and who have complied with the requirements of Regulation No. 13 (i.e., have passed the proficiency of the Master Mason degree) shall be entitled to vote at an election; and none except voters shall be eligible to hold any elected or appointive position in the Lodge, except as a member of a committee.”
Ritual proficiency for Master is (excerpt from Regulation No. 29) “the opening, closing and conferring of all three degrees.” This does not include knowing any of the lectures.

From an email message 4/11/2002:The Arizona Grand Lodge runs an academy for Wardens once a year. It lasts about 1 1/2 days, and covers a number of subjects of interest to Lodge Masters. It also tries to teach the Wardens how to plan events.

We just held this years event last weekend. There were 98 of approximately 130 possible Wardens in attendance. This was the sixth time it was held, with each year showing greater attendance than the year before. The wives are included, and spend time learning about Masonry, how to support their Lodge Master, and shopping.

Topics included: when you become the leader, business paradigms, wealth innovation and diversity, the power of vision, 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, leaders planning guide, membership, public relations, idenfiying problems and solving with programs, lodge planning team, using 101+ and 150+ booklets about lodge programs, regional events and calendar, case studies in the Code, school programs, widows programs, grand lodge, masonic protocol and etiquette, and masonic funerals.

California From an email message:
California Masonic Code (CMC) Section 25070. Qualifications of Master
Before a Master-elect can be installed there shall be presented to the Installing Officer the certificate of the Grand Lecturer, Assistant Grand Lecturer or the division in which his Lodge is situated, or the Inspector of the district in whish his Lodge is situated, certifying that:
A. He has personally examined the Master-elect and that he is qualified to give the work and lectures in the three degrees;
B. He has received a certificate of proficiency in the candidate’s lecture of the Master Mason Degree; and
C. He is proficient in those portions of this Code that relate to the government of a Lodge.
Any brother of the Lodge is eligible to election to any office in his Lodge, except that one man “…shall not be Master, Warden or Secretary, or any combination thereof, of more than one of such Lodges at the same time.” (for multiple members.) CMC Section 23020.
Colorado The Worshipful Master must have served as a Warden of some lodge. There was a GM edict issued perhaps 10 years ago which has been refreshed each year since, that a lodge’s District Lecturer must certify that the incoming Master is proficient.
Connecticut  Open & close EA, serve as Warden, Past Master’s degree
District of Columbia Grand Lodge Code, Section 83, and Standing Resolution 21 require that before anyone can be elected and installed Master of a Lodge, he must have:
1. Served one year as a Warden in a Lodge
2. Received the Past Master’s Degree in a Royal Arch Chapter or in an emergent Lodge of Actual Past Masters
3. A certificate that he can open and close a Lodge in an efficient manner (unless he is a Past Master of a D.C. Lodge, or the Grand Master has waived this requirement)
4. A certificate that he has completed the Grand Lodge course in Masonic education, at least 30 days before installation. This certificate is given to those who pass tests on (a) Lodge leadership, and (b) the D.C. Grand Lodge Code.
To see the actual tests required for those who would like to become WM’s in DC, see and to see the actual text of the training booklet that all must read and be test on, see 
Georgia From an email message:
Requirements for a Brother to become Master of a Georgia F. & A. M. Masonic Lodge. 1999 Georgia Masonic Code: Section 25-101. Care in Election.– No Lodge should elect any member as Master or Warden who has not manifested such care and zeal for Masonry as to justify the belief that he can and will qualify himself to preside according to the laws and usages of Masonry. Section 25-102. Eligible Though Never Before an Officer.– Any Master Mason may be elected Worshipful Master, although never having been a Lodge officer.
Idaho Serve one term as a Warden of the Lodge. Demonstrate proficiency in opening and closing the lodge in each degree. Confer each degree in the part of the Worshipful Master. Give the Apron Lecture in the 1st degree. Give the Geometry Lecture in the Second Degree. Raise the candidate in the Second Section of the 3rd degree. Give one of the following lectures; 1st degree lecture, 2nd degree staircase lecture, 3rd degree lecture. (to become a voting member of Grand Lodge as a Past Master he must give the other 2 lectures.) Pass a written test on Masonic Law. Preside over a business meeting of the Lodge.
Illinois Code 249. A brother is not eligible to the office of master in any chartered lodge unless he is an actual member thereof, nor unless he has been regularly installed as a warden of some legally chartered lodge: Provided, that in case of an emergency the lodge may elect any member not so qualified; but a brother so elected cannot be installed except by dispensation of the Grand Master. All other officers of the lodge except the organist and Tyler, must be members thereof.
Code 251. Acting as warden of a lodge under dispensation does not make a brother eligible to the office of master in a chartered lodge, but a brother nominated in the charter as warden of a lodge, and regularly installed, thereby becomes eligible to the office of master.
Indiana Reg. 17.020. Eligilibilty of Worshipful Master
Before being eligible to the office of Worshipful Master, a Brother must have been elected, installed and served as Warden of a chartered Lodge or have been appointed and served as Worshipful Master in a Lodge Under Dispensation, nor shall a Brother elected to the office of Worshipful Master be installed until he shall have received the official degree of Past Master.
Iowa  Iowa Masonic Code – Chapter 7, Section 1, Laws for Subordinate Lodges
No one shall be elected or appointed to office unless he is a Master Mason, a member in good standing in the lodge, qualified to vote therein, not delinquent in payment of dues, and of real worth and merit; provided, however, that no one shall be elected Master unless he has served as a Warden.  It is not necessary for the Master to have the “Degree of Past Master” before his installation.
Kansas Serve as Warden
Kentucky Proficiency certified by Grand Lodge, Serve as Warden
Maine Serve as Warden
Maryland All degrees and all lectures, open and close, law, Grand Lodge certification, Serve as Warden, Past Master’s degree
Mississippi Serve as Warden
Nebraska Serve as Warden 
Nevada Nevada requires proficiency on MM ° within 60 days. Any Master Mason in good standing in his lodge is eligible to be elected.
New Hampshire From an email message:
Requirements for election and installation as Master of a Lodge:
a. The Brother must be a member of the Lodge. (Grand Constitution Article XIV, Section 3.)
b. “No Brother is eligible for the office of Master of a Lodge unless he has served as a Warden in a regularly constituted Lodge within this or some other jurisdiction for at least six months, except in the case of a new Lodge being formed or if no such Warden can be found.” (Grand Constitution, Article XIV, Section 6).
These are the only two requirements. Note that the requirement to have been a Warden can be filled in any Lodge in any regular jurisdiction. There is no proficiency test in ritual or in Masonic procedures. Most Lodges in NH do have a progressive line, where a candidate for Master will have served in most of the other offices, but that is not required and there are recent cases where someone has been elected a Warden as his first office and then elected Master the next year.
New Jersey Serve as Warden
New Mexico From an email message: In New Mexico we do not have any “required” training. We get about 30% participation in annual training for wardens and that number is rising.  One important aspect is that we also have some “training” for their ladies. One new program that may be started is to reach further down the line and have training for deacons and stewards, and also reach out to new members and guys who are not participating with some suggestions. 
New York From an email message:
For the Grand Lodge F&AM of New York:
* Must be a duly Initiated, Passed and Raised Master Mason.
* Must be a member in good standing of the Lodge electing him.
* Must be duly elected by the Brethren of the Lodge.
* Must have served one year as either a Jr. or Sr. Warden.
* Must have been invested with the “Secrets of the Chair” (not called PM Degree in New York) prior to installation.
North Carolina Serve as Warden
North Dakota  
Ohio Serve as Warden, Past Master’s degree 
Pennsylvania All degrees, open & close, Serve as Warden
Rhode Island  
South Carolina  
South Dakota Serve as Warden
Tennessee Serve as Warden
Texas From an email message:
Art. 276. (329, 330). Qualifications. Any member of a Lodge in good standing, and against whom no charges are pending, and who has previously served as Worshipful Master of a regular Lodge in another Grand Jurisdiction, or as Worshipful Master or Warden of a Lodge in this Grand Jurisdiction, and who preferably has been certified as to his qualifications in accordance with the provisions of Article 276-a of these laws, is eligible to be elected Worshipful Master. Such previous Serve may be either: (1) under election; (2) under appointment by the Grand Master in a Lodge Under Dispensation; or (3) under designation by the Grand Lodge in a newly chartered Lodge. The above provisions regarding Serve do not apply when a Worshipful Master is appointed by the Grand Master or designated by the Grand Lodge under the above circumstances, but previous certification requirements as enumerated in the following Article 276-a should apply to all such circumstances. (Revised 1994)
Art. 276-a. Additional Qualifications. Prior to his installation as Worshipful Master, a Brother should in all circumstances first be qualified as follows:
1. He should be certified as to his proficiency to properly open and close an Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason’s Lodge, and a Master Mason’s Lodge of Sorrow in the manner prescribed by the Committee on Work and approved by this Grand Lodge; such certification to be made by either a member of the Committee on Work or a District Instructor under his supervision and under appointment by the Grand Master, and (Revised 1994)
2. He should be certified as having completed a Grand Lodge approved course in the administration of his duties under the supervision of the Committee on Masonic Education and Serve and administered by a District Education Officer under appointment of the Grand Master, and
3. Such certification referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 above shall be in accordance with Form No. 78 as approved by this Grand Lodge, and
4. Form No. 78 shall be submitted to and signed by the Installing Officer prior to the installation of such qualified Brother who shall forward the same to the Grand Master within five (5) days after his installation. (Adopted 1990)
Virginia Sec. 2.33 and 234 of the Methodical Digest require that before a Brother can be elected and serve as Master of a Lodge he must have:
1. Served 1 year as Warden of a Lodge (except in extraordinary cases)
2. Received the Past Master degree
3. A certificate (good for 3 years) from the Grand Lecturer or one of his deputies saying he has been examined and proved himself proficient to open and close the Lodge in each degree, dispense with and resume labor, call from labor to refreshment and refreshment to labor, and confer each of the degrees including the second section of the Degree of Master Mason.
Washington The following is from an email message:
Washington Masonic Code 1993
Part III- Constituent Lodges
1)Ch. 17, Sec.17.02 B.L.- Who May Vote and Hold Office.
Every Master Mason who has passed his proficiency and is a Lodge member in good standing is entitled to vote, and is eligible to be elected to any office in the Lodge. (Revised 1995)
Ch. 17, Sec. 17.03 B.L.- Officer Qualification.
All Officers of a Lodge shall be voting members thereof, except the Chaplain, Organist and Tyler, who may also be voting members of the Lodge or they may be members of other Lodges.
The Grand Lodge of Washington will be considering legislation for further requirements for WMs in June 2002. The course would be in two parts, the first having to do with knowledge of the code and other masonic legislative sources. The second part requires demonstrated proficiency in the ritual, opening, closing, etc.
West Virginia Laws of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia, 15th Edition 2005, revised October 14, 2008, Regulation 26, page 66, reads as follows:
Sec. 5—Qualifications of Master. The ancient regulations requiring the Master to have served as Warden shall be strictly enforced in this jurisdiction, and each Master or Warden-elect must have received the degree of Past Master, either in a Lodge or a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in this State, previous to his installation and as a necessary part of his qualification for the duties of his office.
No person shall be installed as Master of a Lodge in this jurisdiction except he be able to confer the three degrees and deliver the lectures pertaining to them in an efficient manner.
26,1—Service as a Master or Warden of a chartered Lodge in this grand jurisdiction makes a brother eligible to election as Master in any other lodge therein, without having served as Warden of said Lodge. 1909 Proceedings 573.
Wyoming The following is from an email message:
From the Masonic Code of WY: Sec. 370 No brother shall be eligible to the office of Worshipful Master unless he shall first have been elected and has served as a Warden of that lodge in which he is then a member; provided, that this section shall not be construed as applying to lodges working under dispensation in electing their first officers to serve under charter, or to any Past Master while a member of the lodge in which he was installed as Master and presided over to the end of his term.
Sec. 373 Acting as Warden of a lodge UD does not make a brother eligible to the office of Worshipful Master when that lodge receives its charter. However, a brother elected and installed as Warden under the charter becomes eligible to the office of Master at its next election.


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