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Certificate Program Offers Foundational Training in Association Management
July 17, 2012
By: Sue Pine, CAE
Summary: "Where was this training opportunity when I started in association management?" A veteran of the association profession highlights the new Certificate Program in Association Management, which will give new pros a big-picture education in the work of associations.

Back in 1975, when I started my career in association management, I was focused and trained on whatever the most immediate project was that had the closest deadlines. Working in an association management company, (AMC) I soon discovered that a large variety of projects with looming deadlines continued to surface. It was difficult to acquire a vision of the big picture associated with managing a member-based trade association or professional society.

After a successful career of more than 30 years in association management, I find myself wondering how the new ASAE Certificate Program in Association Management would have had an impact if it was around back in the early stages of my profession.

There is a standing joke within my circle of my association management colleagues about trying to explain to our family and friends what we do. Well, the truth is that not only is it difficult to explain all of the facets of association management to others, but it also often takes a while for a new hire to understand the relation of volunteers and members.

While there are certainly other certificate programs in nonprofit management available, the uniqueness of this program is that it focuses on member-based trade associations and professional societies. The focus is not on philanthropic nonprofit organizations.

To become a Certified Association Executive (CAE), an individual must work in a nonprofit for at least five years and acquire at least 100 hours of educational credits in a variety of study areas. While achieving the CAE indicates to that the professional has proven his or her experience in association management, the new Certificate Program in Association Management will indicate that the professional has a strong foundation of critical association management information. The new program is focused on staff members with less than five years of association management experience, and completion of the program provides 27.5 hours of the educational credits that can later be applied to the CAE required hours. In many ways, the new Certificate Program in Association Management is a stepping stone toward the CAE course of study.

Let's face it: almost all of us in association management had little or no knowledge of the field when we fell into our jobs. The pace of life today does not afford employers to take the long road to understanding the big picture. The five-day Certificate in Association Management will enhance the recent hire's ability to contribute to the association's success by gaining knowledge in the following areas:

  • Essentials of Association Management
  • Managing Volunteer Committees & Task Forces
  • Membership Development
  • Communication and PR
  • Developing Your Leadership Potential.

In summary, whether you have a large or small staff to manage your association, wouldn't you want an engaged staff that are able to contribute to the organization's success sooner, rather than later?

Learn More

To learn about where and when you can enroll for the Certificate Program in Association Management, see ASAE University's Certificate Programs, or visit one of the following AMCs, universities, and firms licensed to administer the program in specific regions:

Sue Pine, CAE, has dedicated her entire 33-year career to association management. Sue is currently the director of educational services at Association Headquarters, Inc., an AMC located in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. In addition, she is the AMC national accounts representative for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Email:

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