Serving the Diocese of Palm Beach … and Beyond

Sowing the Seeds of Faith!

Frequently Asked Questions

If we have not answered your question below, please send us your question by e-mail or phone.

E-mail:   •   Phone: 772-563-9457

1. What should I do first?

First review the Searchlight Virtual School policies and the certification requirements. The next place to visit is the enrollment page. Whether you are a catechist seeking Basic or Intermediate Catechist Certification or a Catholic school teacher seeking the Foundation Certificate or Level 1 Certification, you must officially enroll before you undertake any level of training.

2. What are the system requirements for using the Searchlight online courses?

You need:

  • A high speed internet connection.
  • Acrobat Reader: Please download (or upgrade to) the most recent version. This application is necessary to support the electronic PDFs associated with each course.
  • Note: Electronic PDFs with interactive text fields are not supported on mobile devices and must be filled out via computer. If you want to complete your interactive course PDFs on a mobile device, you can obtain the free Adobe Fill & Sign App.
  • The online tutorials are accessible on desktop computers and mobile devices.
  • If you have technical questions regarding the use of these programs, contact the School Director.  For contact info, click here.

3. What is the difference between Echos of Faith Catechist/Teacher Certification and Searchlight Virtual School Catechist/Teacher Certification?

Echos of Faith is a parish-based Catechist Certification program which the Diocese of Palm Beach has been using for a number of years.  It is still a valid method for obtaining Catechist Certification in this diocese and now also offers an online venue.

The Catechist Certification program offered by the Searchlight Virtual School consists of six web-based "Foundations" courses that are available for online study 24/7. For those who have difficulty participating in the parish-based sessions or prefer the flexibility of the internet, this is a good option.

4. Is the Searchlight Virtual School part of the Diocese of Palm Beach?

The Searchlight Virtual School was created for the purpose of serving the Diocese of Palm Beach. We now also officially serve several other dioceses. However, the school is a division of Ocean East Publishing, which is a privately-owned company.

5. Who issues Certification: The Searchlight Virtual School or the Diocese of Palm Beach?

While the Searchlight Virtual School provides and facilitates the online courses, the Diocese of Palm Beach issues both the Certificates of Completion and Certification when the certification requirements have been met. Careful records  are maintained by the Office of Catholic Schools and the Office of Marriage, Family Life, Faith Formation and Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Palm Beach. For those outside the Diocese of Palm Beach who participate in the school, certificates and certification are issued through the Diocese of Palm Beach, unless one's own diocese has a formal participation agreement. In this case, the certificates may be issued through one's own diocese.

6. Can I take the courses using different computers in different locations?

Yes. The online tutorial portion of each course is available 24/7. If you want to be able to complete the worksheets from a second computer, for example, your computer at work, save the worksheets to a USB Flash Drive. Always access, enter information, and save your answers using the document saved to the Flash Drive. This way you can work on the courses anywhere you can connect to the internet.

7. I sent in an Enrollment Application or purchased a Subscription but haven't been contacted by a Searchlight Representative. What should I do?

If you sent in an electronic enrollment form and you have not received an e-mail confirmation within 24-48 hours max, please call our office: 772-563-9457.

8. I am a catechist or Catholic school teacher in another diocese and would like to use the Searchlight Virtual School courses for my certification. Can I do this?

Yes! The Diocese of Palm Beach is happy to have you participate. We can facilitate the courses for you and issue your certification. What we cannot guarantee, however, is that your own diocese will recognize and credit you for this certification. If that doesn’t matter in your consideration, fine … welcome. If it does, you have two choices. Talk it over with your parish catechetical leader, pastor, of school principal. Explain what the Searchlight Virtual School offers and ask if you may participate and have your certification recognized. If necessary, they can contact the Director of your own diocese's Catechetical/Religious Education Office and explain about the Searchlight Virtual School. Many dioceses reciprocate on certifications from other dioceses. Importantly, the Searchlight Virtual School does serve dioceses other than Palm Beach. He or she should be invited to review the diocesan participation page.

9. Can a Catholic Diocese other than Palm Beach use the Searchlight Virtual School courses?

The Searchlight Virtual School has been set up in a way that will allow other dioceses to make the school part of their diocese's catechetical ministry. Several dioceses are already doing this. Please visit the diocesan participation page.

10. How do I access the Catechist Certification courses?

The Certification courses for both parish catechists and Catholic school teachers can be accessed by clicking the  courses button at the top of any page.

11. How can I get the course materials?

To receive course materials you must:

  • Complete the Searchlight Virtual School enrollment process.
  • Purchase a Searchlight Subscription Plan.

When the above steps are complete, an electronic PDF is sent to you as an attachment to an e-mail. This PDF contains the worksheets for all the courses required for a particular level of certification. This PDF document must be completed and returned to the Searchlight Virtual School via e-mail attachment. However, the course content is delivered online and can be accessed 24/7 via the internet from the courses page.

12. How do I attach the worksheets to my e-mail?

In your e-mail program you should compose a simple message which includes your Student Number. Address it to: Then click the "attach" icon (typically looks like a paper clip). Choose “browse." The “browse" feature allows you to find and choose the folder containing the document you want to attach. When you locate the appropriate document, select it, then choose "attach or open."  A PDF icon should pop into your e-mail. Once it does, you can send the e-mail.

The Searchlight Virtual School is a Division of Ocean East Publishing.

Online Certification for Parish Catechists and Catholic School Teachers, Confirmation Preparation for Adults, and Adult Faith Formation.

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Phone: 772-563-9457   •   E-mail: