These are common questions about CAE exam eligibility and the exam application.
Detailed information on how to complete the application can be found here.


How do I know if I am a C-suite or general staff member?

“C-suite” refers to the executive-level positions within the organization. C-suite staff ensure that the organization’s strategies and operations align with its policies and procedures. Common C-suite executives include the chief executive officer (CEO) or executive director (ED), chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), and chief information officer (CIO). All other positions would be considered general staff members.

Is there a way I can determine if my organization is a qualifying organization?

Generally, a nonprofit or association will have a tax-exempt status of 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(6), among others. You may review your organization’s tax-exempt status to confirm that your organization is a qualifying organization.

I don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Would I be able to use work experience to satisfy this requirement?

Eight years of any professional work experience will fulfill this requirement. The additional work experience may come from any professional organization. It does not have to be from a qualifying organization.

How do I know if a course I’ve taken qualifies for CAE credit?

If your course is directly related to association or nonprofit management as defined by the CAE exam content outline and meets the format guidelines, the course will qualify for CAE credit. For example:

  • Strategies for Building a Cohesive Team – Domain 2, Executive Leadership
  • Hacking for Good: Facing Cyber Threats Head-On– Domain 4,Operations
  • Aligning Unit Goals and Imperatives – Domain 2, Executive Leadership

Do I have to get my course(s) pre-approved or take courses through ASAE or a CAE Approved Provider for them to qualify for CAE credit?

Any course that is directly related to the CAE exam content outline will qualify for CAE credit. You do not have to take courses through ASAE or a CAE Approved Provider

What is the difference between a live course and a self-study course?

A live course is any course that you must attend at the initial broadcast. Courses do not have to be in person to qualify as live. Webinars, conferences, seminars, etc., may qualify as live if you attend the course when it is initially broadcast.

A self-study course is any course that you complete at your own pace. Self-study courses may have an online facilitator. If you are given a period in which to complete a course at your own pace, this would be considered a self-study course.

Do I need to provide supporting documentation for live courses?

No. However, college, self-study, and mentoring professional development require supporting documentation with your application.

I viewed a recording of a webinar. Can I receive CAE credit for this course?

Viewing a recorded webinar would not be eligible for CAE credit unless it includes an assessment component. Self-study courses must include a quiz, post-test, or other learning assessment attached to the course. A certificate of completion must be provided with your application. 

Can I receive CAE credit for speaking engagements?

No. All professional development listed on your CAE exam application must come from courses you have attended. Speaking and/or teaching would not be eligible for CAE credit toward the exam application.

How many self-study credits may I use toward my exam application? 

You may apply a maximum of 50 CAE self-study credits toward the CAE exam application.

How many CAE credits would I receive from a college course I completed? 

Courses that receive academic credit, which is generally applied to a degree, would earn CAE credit based on the college credit criteria.

Courses that receive a certificate of completion, CEUs, contact hours, etc., for completing the course would not receive CAE credit based upon the college credit criteria. These courses will earn CAE credit based on the actual clock time of education. 

Do I have to obtain professional development in each of the eight domains? 

No. However, obtaining professional development in all eight domains may better prepare you for the CAE exam.

I have attended several conferences that I would like to use for my professional development. Do I have to list each education session that I attended, or can I list the conference as one event? 

You may list the conference as one entry on your application. Enter the total number of education sessions you attended, which will determine the number of CAE credits earned. For example, if you attended five one-hour education sessions each day at a two-day conference, you earned 10 CAE credits.

I attended a one-day program that ran from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Does this qualify for 8 CAE credits?

No. CAE credits are based upon clock time of qualifying professional development. Breaks between education sessions, lunches, and expo hours do not qualify for CAE credit.

Once my application is approved, when can I sit for the exam?

You are eligible to sit for the CAE exam within 12 months of your application being approved. For example, a candidate whose application was approved on September 15, 2021, would be eligible to sit for the December 2021 and/or May 2022 CAE exam.

How many candidates pass the exam?

Generally speaking, about two-thirds to three-quarters of candidates pass the CAE exam.
View CAE Pass rates by year

How many CAEs renew their certification?

Once association professionals earn the CAE, they renew at high rates.   



More Questions?

Get the answers you need on our FAQ page, or contact:

Jamar Wright, CAE
Director, Credentialing

Elizabeth Twitchell, CAE
Manager, Credentialing