Certified Association Executive (CAE®)

Accelerate Your Not-for-Profit Career with the Certified Association Executive (CAE) Designation

Accelerate your career in the not-for-profit sector by earning the Certified Association Executive (CAE®) designation! The CAE is an internationally recognized designation built on 44 competencies that demonstrate the essential skills of efficient and effective not-for-profit management. 

Join the growing community of high-performing and successful CAEs who have built their confidence and network through the CAE Program.

Earn your CAE through one of two paths: online courses or Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR). You may also combine the two paths to accelerate your progress through the program.

Paths to CAE® Certification


Online Education Path



University degree or college diploma and 2 years of not-for-profit management experience or 5 years of not-for-profit management without a degree or diploma

5 or more years of senior not-for-profit management experience

CAE 100 - 400

Each online course is 12 weeks and allows you to develop competencies by participating in 8-10 weekly discussion topics, answering online quizzes and completing 2 assignments

Submit your resume and current job description with 2 written references, then demonstrate your experience in up to 20 competency areas through your portfolio

CAE 500

All CAE candidates must complete the CAE 500 course

CAE Exam

All CAE candidates must pass the CAE exam

CSAE Membership

You must be a CSAE member for your designation to be recognized


As few as 20 months

As few as 14 weeks

* According to the 2015/2016 CSAE Benefits & Compensation Report, Executive Level association staff who hold the CAE designation, on average earn 28% more than their non-certified counterparts.

Download the above table as a PDF.

Courses & Events
CSAE National Conference 2018