Professor 101: So, You Want to be a Professor?
What’s up, DDG fans? My name is Darrin Cole, and I am the resident Professor of Dead Draw Gaming. I’ve been a part of the Professor Program for almost four years. About two years ago I became a Stage 1 Professor and since then I have expanded my credentials to include Stage 1 Organizer, Basic TCG Judge, and Basic VG Judge. I have organized and/or staffed a multitude of League Challenges, Cups, Cities, and VG events over these past years and I love it! This is the first article of a series which will give you a step-by-step guide to joining the Professor Program. Subsequent articles will include starting your own Pokémon League, how to create and expertly run your own tournaments, and how to deal with common issues that come up for an Organizer or Judge at your events. My goal with this series is to guide potential new Professors and show you how you can experience the joys and challenges of the other side of Organized Play.
Let’s get to it!
Where to start?
Step 1: Create a Trainer Club Account
The very first thing you need to do is go to the Pokémon website and get signed up for a Trainer Club account. Any competitive player has likely already done this, since you need to have an activated account to earn Championship Points. You will have to go to your Play! Pokémon Settings and opt into the Play! Program. You may choose to have a Player ID assigned to you, or you can submit an ID you have received from an event.
Step 2: Join the Professor Program
The next thing you need to do is click the “My Play! Pokémon Page” tab. This will take you to a page full of useful information and links, including a few links to “Join the Professor Program”! You can click on any of them to get you to this page:
Before you take your test, you’ll want to study up a little. The Professor test includes questions about TCG rules, card interactions, the Professor Core Values, and other stuff. It’s not an incredibly tough test, but you probably should make sure you have a good grasp on the documents under the “Rules and Resources” tab, as well as the “Professor Core Values” Tab. Another very important resource is the Pokegym Compendium, which is a comprehensive resource for errata, card interactions, and ruling straight from the rulemakers!
Once you’re confident you will pass, give it a shot! (I suggest the Organizer Basic test, since that’s the certification you will need to run tournaments.)
*Important note* You can only take a Professor certification test once every 30 days. If you fail, you will have to wait a whole month before you can retake it, so studying is important! Many people fail the test on their first try (including me) so don’t be discouraged! Use those 30 days to polish up your knowledge and skills.
Step 3: I’ve Passed my Test… Now What?
First, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now begins your second test – waiting.
Pokémon may take anywhere from two to ten weeks (or possibly longer in some cases) to process your application after you’ve passed the test. A background check is required to join the program, and that takes quite a bit of time. My only advice at this point is to remain as patient as possible. If it has been months since you’ve heard anything, consider submitting a support ticket with Pokémon customer service, but don’t do this unless it has legitimately been, like, forever.
Step 4: Now I’m a Professor!
Once your background check clears, a new tab will be available to you:
“Organizer Tools” aka “OP Tools Dashboard”.
This page will be your Professor headquarters. From here, you can see your Professor Rank, you can track your progress on current certifications, and apply for other specializations, as well. This page will also have links to your current leagues and the tournaments you have organized/staffed. These links are located near the bottom of the age, so you’ll need to scroll down a little.
Another thing you can track on this page are your Professor points! You can earn these points by being a League Leader, or by staffing sanctioned events. Professor Points are used in the Professor Store and can be exchanged for cool stuff! In the past, there have been sweet stamped promo cards, exclusive dice, sleeves, mats, and other neat stuff. The inventory is updated somewhat infrequently, but is totally worth it when you have saved up enough points, so keep checking!
The last thing I want to talk about for this article is the Professor Forums. This is a place where you can join your fellow professors to ask questions, find staff, apply to run bigger tournaments, and participate in a community of Pokémon peers! The forums are an amazing resource, and I check them out before every tournament I run, in case there is a new ruling on a card, or possibly a new penalty guideline. The forums have recently been updated and are missing a ton of old info, but all you need to do is ask and the most experienced Judges and Tournament Organizers in the game will be there to help you out.
Bottom-line, becoming a Pokémon Professor can be beneficial to not only you, but also your community, and to top it off, it’s a blast! I have never regretted becoming a Professor and I honestly love running Leagues and tournaments – more than I enjoyed playing at them if you can believe it. Without Professors, Pokémon wouldn’t be what it is today. I hope you will consider joining Organized Play and help to bring this amazing game to your friends, family, and community.
Thank you for joining me, today! I hope you found this article informative and maybe even somewhat enjoyable. Join me next time when I talk about how to start your very own Pokémon League!
Until next time, Dead Drawers!