Getting Your CAE

Getting Your CAE

Earning and maintaining the CAE is a three-part process. Candidates must first meet eligibility requirements and submit an application. The next step is to sit for and pass the CAE exam. Once you have earned the credential, you must maintain it by fulfilling certification renewal requirements every three years.


Eligibility Requirements and Exam Application

Candidates must meet eligibility requirements related to higher education, qualifying nonprofit professional experience, and association management continuing education, and they must sign a pledge to uphold ASAE’s Standards of Conduct. Once you fulfill the prerequisites and intend to sit for the exam within the next 12 months, submit your completed CAE Program application [PDF].


The Examination

The CAE exam is administered twice a year at test centers throughout the U.S., based on anticipated candidate concentration. Find out more about exam dates and locations, content of the exam, and fees.


Renewal Requirements

CAEs maintain their knowledge and credential by fulfilling certification renewal requirements every three years.


Planning Your Path to the CAE

Now is the time to get started. Begin early and align your association management continuing education courses to build your skills across all aspects of the Exam Content Outline.

Begin with self-assessment and planning. Review the Exam Content Outline and rate your level of knowledge on each task. Then develop a plan of courses, reading, and mentoring in areas where you need to strengthen your knowledge.

Give yourself the best chance for success. Spend as much time on preparation as needed so that you pass the test the first time you take it.

Look for opportunities to broaden your perspective. The CAE exam is designed to identify association professionals who are ready to step into the executive director role of an organization of any type or size. Reading case studies, participating in list server discussions (including in ASAE’s Collaborate community), and networking with a variety of association professionals can help you better understand the nuances of different nonprofits.


Exam Preparation

You’re not on your CAE journey alone. To get help, check with your local state society or association network to connect with other CAE candidates.

Several organizations offer CAE study courses. Consider qualifying courses from CAE Approved Providers to meet the professional development requirements to earn or maintain the CAE credential.

A study course should be only one part of preparation. Other resources include: