Frequently Asked Questions about the CAE

What is the value of holding the CAE designation?

Becoming a Certified Association Executive shows your commitment to the association profession. As a CAE, you commit yourself to lifelong learning and an ongoing pursuit of knowledge in the profession. Among association leaders, the CAE designation has become known and appreciated as a mark of distinction that offers a wide range of benefits.

Individuals pursue the CAE for a variety of reasons, including professional development, career planning and professional pride, dedication to their career, a personal belief in the association profession, and self-fulfillment.

How many people hold the CAE credential?

As of January 29, 2024, there are 4,721 CAEs. To view a full list of association professionals who currently hold the credential, visit the CAE Roster page.

When was the CAE program established, and why?

ASAE founded the CAE program in 1960. The program was designed to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and designate those who demonstrate knowledge essential to the practice of association management.

Is the CAE an accredited program?

The CAE program was granted accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) in 2010. The announcement of accreditation coincided with the 50th anniversary of the CAE program. The CAE Program was reaccredited in 2020.

NCCA accreditation provides independent validation that the CAE program meets or exceeds 24 standards concerning various aspects of the certification program, including its purpose, structure, governance, psychometric foundation, policies, and procedures.

Accreditation is a mark of quality and validates the integrity of the program. Earning accreditation is a public demonstration of the commitment of ASAE and the CAE Commission to the CAE credential as a true professional certification.

How is the CAE program governed?

The CAE program is governed by the CAE Commission, an independent certifying body of ASAE. The commission awards the Certified Association Executive credential and is responsible for setting Standing Rules and Policies (PDF) related to the CAE program.

Who may be eligible for the CAE?

Association professionals who meet certain employment experience criteria, as well as qualifying independent contractors, consultants, and industry partners, may pursue the CAE. Learn more about eligibility requirements.

What is the cost?

The application fee is $500 for ASAE members and $750 for nonmembers. The fee must be submitted with the application. If you do not sit for the exam within the next two test dates after your application has been accepted, your application will expire and all fees forfeited. Once your application expires, you will need to reapply to sit for the exam.

When is the examination?

The CAE examination is offered twice annually, in a two-week window in May and December. See the exam schedule for upcoming exams and deadlines

Where do I get help in preparing for the CAE exam?

Following currently accepted practices for certifying bodies, the CAE Commission is not involved in CAE candidate preparation, believing it to be a conflict of interest to develop materials to assist candidates in preparing for an exam designed and administered by the commission. ASAE has compiled a list of study resources.

How can a multiple-choice exam assess communication skills?

The exam does not test communication skills or behavior. It emphasizes the application of the concepts and principles of sound association management practices. High-level cognitive skills, such as data interpretation and problem-solving, are assessed in multiple-choice questions that pose management dilemmas and situations requiring resolution. Some of these questions will be derived from a case set, which develops a scenario and asks questions based on that scenario. Other questions will be presented as individual items.

How can multiple-choice questions test the ability to solve real-world problems?

Psychometricians—experts in test development—prefer this form of question to the less sophisticated and more subjective essay question.

Who writes the CAE exam?

The CAE Item-Writing Committee, composed of qualified CAEs, writes the exam questions reflective of the competencies in the CAE exam content outline.

The CAE Exam Committee, composed of qualified CAEs, uses the content outline to develop each CAE examination form. Following the content outline, they use questions from a question bank to develop each examination form.

How will the passing score be set?

The pass-fail cut-off will be determined using a criterion-referenced method.

What is the criterion-referenced method?

This is a method where candidates are evaluated against a predetermined standard rather than relative to each other.

Who sets this predetermined standard?

Your peers, the CAE Commission, and its committees. The group judges the difficulty of each test question against the content and the degree to which the incorrect responses are difficult to distinguish from the correct responses. They use a mathematical formula derived from a modified Angoff method (comparable to par on a golf course) to perform this analysis. This procedure is used before and after the exam is administered.

How soon after I take the exam will I receive my results?

Exam results are mailed approximately six to eight weeks after the exam via first-class mail to the candidate’s preferred address. For security reasons, the credentialing department cannot release results via email, fax, or over the phone.

How many CAE candidates pass the exam and how many renew their certification?

View the CAE annual report statistics.

Are CAEs subject to disciplinary action?

In accordance with CAE policy, the names of all publicly sanctioned certificants and the violations of the ASAE Standards of Conduct, CAE Code of Professional Conduct, and/or CAE program policies involved, as determined by the CAE Commission, must be made publicly available. A listing of all recently sanctioned individuals is provided below. For details and processes for revocation, suspension, or other disciplinary actions, see Standing Rules and Policies (PDF), Policy #15. For a list of currently sanctioned individuals, please contact CAE staff.




More Questions?

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

Jamar Wright, CAE
Director, Credentialing

Elizabeth Twitchell, CAE
Manager, Credentialing