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Certified Association Executive
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A voluntary certification effort founded in 1960, the Certified Association Executive program is designed to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and designate those who demonstrate knowledge essential to the practice of association management. The CAE designation is your key to enhanced professional stature. ASAE estimates the percentage of association executives that have obtained the CAE to be approximately 5%.
Applicants must meet eligibility requirements to sit for the CAE exam, which is given the first Friday of May and December each year. 

Download the CAE Exam Application.


ISAE offers a Study Course twice a year to help professionals prepare for the CAE exam. An experienced CAE leads the discussion as the group explores the nine (9) domains of association management and works through sample exam questions. 

CAE Fall Study Group Meet Dates:

​Tuesday, August 26 9 - 10 a..m.Informational SessionEric Klinner, CAE
Tuesday, September 23 2 - 4 p.m.Intro - NOTE NEW DATE & TIMEEric Klinner, CAE 
Thursday, October 2 9 - 11 a.m. Domains 1, 2, 6 Dave Voepel, CAE 
Tuesday, October 21 9 - 11 a.m.
Domains 4, 5, 7
Wade Koehler, CAE
Tuesday, November 25
9 - 11 a.m.
Domains 3, 8, 9
John Freitag, CAE
Tuesday, December 2 9 - 11 a.m. ReviewEric Klinner, CAE

All study group sessions will be in the ISAE 3rd floor Board Room.

The next CAE Exam date is Friday, December 5, 2014. 

You must submit your application to ASAE by September 26, 2014 if you are planning to take the exam in December 2014.

Study Guide: Click here to purchase the 2012 - 2013 CAE Study Guide.


  1. You have been employed by a qualifying nonprofit organization (trade association, professional society, individual membership organization, philanthropic organization) or association management company within the last five years.
  2. You have three years of experience as a CEO at a qualifying organization and a bachelor's degree or higher OR you have five years of experience working at the staff level at a qualifying organization and a bachelor's degree or higher. Applicants without a qualifying degree must submit eight additional years of professional work experience to qualify to take the exam. Work experience can be substituted for a degree on a calculated basis. Each year of completed undergraduate studies may be substituted for two years of professional work experience.
  3. You are committed to upholding the ASAE Standards of Conduct and have no felony convictions related to the practice of association management.
  4. You  have completed 100 hours of broad-based qualifying professional development within the last five years. Candidates must complete 100 hours of broad-based association management related professional development activities within the five years preceding the application.

Note: You do not have to be an ASAE member to earn your CAE and CAE hours may come from any approved provider, including those earned with ISAE. If you need assistance determining the number of CAE hours you have earned with ISAE, email Destiny Nance-Evans or call 217-753-1190 x124.


Earning and maintaining the CAE is a three-part process. To earn the CAE credential, candidates must first submit an application satisfying professional experience and education requirements. Successful applicants must next pass a challenging examination on all aspects of association management. Candidates undertake rigorous study sessions in preparation for the exam, and only those who are able to achieve the passing score earn the CAE credential. Once earned, the certification must be renewed every three years through additional studies and leadership activities.


Visit the ASAE CAE Information Page for more information

Download a CAE application

Download a CAE renewal application

Download the list of CAE Core Resources 

ISAE is a CAE Approved Provider. Every program that we offer which qualifies for CAE credit will clearly identify the number of CAE credits granted for full participation, and we will maintain records of your participation in accord with CAE policies.





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