CAE Certification

The Certified Association Executive (CAE) Program, conferred by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), is intended to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and recognize those who demonstrate knowledge essential to the practice of association management. By earning the CAE, you'll gain:

  • Expanded knowledge in every aspect of association management
  • Professional recognition by peers, staff, and volunteer leaders
  • Increased networking opportunities with other leaders in our profession

According to ASAE, 21.5% of all eligible ASAE members hold the CAE designation, approximately 3,300 association executives are CAEs and 56% of all CAEs are chief executive officers.

Preparation & Application Process

To earn the CAE, candidates first must submit an application satisfying professional experience and education requirements and then pass a challenging exam covering all aspects of association management. During the course of study, CAE candidates examine association-related issues, situations and conflicts, and discuss potential resolutions from a variety of perspectives, ensuring candidates are able to work competently across departmental lines.

Many CAEs say that the time spent preparing for the exam provided the greatest learning experience of their professional lives. Most of all, CAEs report that earning the CAE is a true achievement, respected by both peers and organization leaders.

The CAE Exam

The CAE exam is a knowledge-based exam offered twice a year, on the first Friday in May and the First Friday in December. Exam content is written by CAEs, drawing on CAE Core Resources and their real world experiences. Plan to submit an application three months before you intend to sit for the exam.

Study Group

CalSAE typically offers two study groups annually to help applicants prepare for the CAE exam. Study groups are offered complimentary to CalSAE members. Please note: there are required study materials which may need to be purchased from ASAE to fully participate in a study group.

If you are interested in volunteering to become a CAE Mentor please contact Heidi Ursino, Director of Operations.

CAE Approved Provider

As a CAE Approved Provider of educational programs related to the Certified Association Executive (CAE) exam content outline, CalSAE programs may be applied for credit by meeting professional development requirements to earn or maintain the CAE credential. For more information, visit

CalSAE programs may or may not be eligible for CMP designation and/or IOM designation credit hours. Please visit the applicable website for more details.

CalSAE programs are not endorsed, accredited, or affiliated with ASAE or the CAE program. Applicants may use any program that meets eligibility requirements in the specific timeframe toward the exam application or renewal. There are no specific individual courses required as part of the application – selection of eligible education is up to the applicant based on his/her needs.

Most Recent CAEs

Please join us in honoring the new, California-based association professionals who successfully completed the Summer 2021 CAE exam.

Joy Alafia, MBA, CAE
President & CEO
Western Propane Gas Association

Christina Bauders, CAE
Senior Operations Executive
The Core Management Company

Teresa Excinia, CAE
Executive Director
CA Advocates Management Services

Michelle LeBlanc, CAE
Free Speech Coalition

Eileen Schuster, CAE
Managing Director, Marketing
CA Association of Marriage & Family Therapists

Quick Links

CAE Study Group

Webinar: A Brief Overview 

Getting Your CAE

CAE Recertification Requirements