5 Reasons to Earn the Certified Association Executive Designation

Posted By: Donna Oser, CAE Blog,

Spring must be inspiring association executives to think about their goals and professional development because, in the past month, MSAE has received numerous inquiries about the Certified Association Executive Designation. Administered by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and recognized internationally, the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to managing an association in today's challenging environment. If you're considering pursuing the designation, here are five compelling reasons to move earning your CAE to the top of your list of professional goals:

1. Growth Requires Challenge

Life and work are busy, so equilibrium or maintaining the status quo can seem pretty attractive. Such notions deprive people of the satisfaction, validation, and growth that comes from tackling and accomplishing something difficult. We won't sugarcoat it: pursuing the CAE is hard. It's the professional equivalent of running a marathon. Few people are willing to commit to the hard work, time, and training necessary, but for those who do, victory is sweet.

2. The Journey Rivals the Destination

The process of preparing to sit for the exam will be the single most valuable professional development experience of your association career. We hear this over and over again from our CAE Prep Course participants. And we still hear it from people who took our prep courses 10, 15, and 20 years ago! While reading and studying for the exam, you will be exposed to concepts, terms, decision-making frameworks, and information that will improve your current job performance and prepare you for future success.

3. Mastery Requires Deliberate Practice

Malcolm Gladwell famously said it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to achieve mastery. This is far more difficult than it sounds. Deliberate practice means first learning to perform the function correctly – and then repeating it correctly again and again until doing so comes naturally. Studying for the CAE allows you to begin practicing association management deliberately and sets you on a course for mastery. 

4. Increase Your Value

People think earning the CAE is all about wanting to climb the ladder, land a better job, or make more money—and they're not wrong. After all, the CAE does help with those aspirations. But more importantly, having the CAE will make you a better team member, a more knowledgeable resource, and a stronger asset for your association. Serving your CEO, members, and colleagues in a more significant capacity is gratifying.

5. You'll Have the Receipts

It's one thing to have ideas about how things should be done in an association. But having your credentials in association management is something else entirely. Doing so means you've done the work, know your stuff, and are worth listening to. CAE – with those letters comes credibility. If you want to increase your impact and influence in associations, it's time to get it done.  

 We're always happy to answer questions or help you think through your readiness for pursuing the CAE! Drop us a line if you’d like to talk.

Information about MSAE’s prep courses is located at https://www.msae.org/certified-association-executive.

Details about the CAE exam and requirements to sit for the exam are at www.asaecenter.org/programs/cae-certification.