Certification (CAE)

The Certified Association Executive (CAE®) Program offers courses in association management delivered entirely online. This designation program is offered by the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) in collaboration with AuSAE. Offered since 1972 by CSAE, with content adapted for the Australian market, this program is delivered online and available 24/7.
What is a CAE?

The CAE® is designation that is conferred on candidates who demonstrate mastery of the association management competencies by successfully completing the CAE® Program. Executives with at least 10 years of association management experience, can earn their designation by submitting a portfolio for Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR). For more information about PLAR,visit www.csae.com/cae.

Who should undertake the CAE program?

This program has been designed for people who are c
urrently working or volunteering in the not-for-profit sector, working (or aspiring to work) at a managerial level and/or busy professionals looking for hands-on skills that are immediately applicable to their roles.

What do I need to undertake the program?

For this program you’ll need to 
have good time-management skills to balance course work with your personal and professional life, have access to the internet, e-mail and a computer on a regular basis and be working in a not-for-profit organisation.

How is it structured?

Through research, CSAE has identified professional competencies that are, and will continue to be, essential for association leaders. The competencies describe the skills and knowledge critical to efficient and effective association management, and are the foundation for the CAE® Program. The CAE® Program is based on
44 Not-for-Profit Management Competencies and consists of 5 online courses and an online certification exam. The CAE Designation can also be earned through a process of Prior Learning Assessment Review (PLAR) which takes into account previous education, not-for-profit sector experience and association participation and contribution through the submission of a comprehensive portfolio. AuSAE members can apply to submit their portfolio for assessment. If you think your experience meets some or all competency requirements of the CAE designation, you are invited to submit a detailed portfolio for evaluation. To qualify for consideration, you must:

  • have at least ten years of experience in not-for-profit management
  • be a CSAE/AuSAE member in good standing
  • submit a portfolio of prior learning and experience
  • have the support of two references
  • include applicable forms and fees in your submission

Based on an assessment done by a panel of qualified CAEs, you may receive full accreditation (by meeting 80% or more of the competency requirements), or advanced standing in the CAE® Program (for example, your knowledge of membership services could exempt you from CAE 200).

How are courses delivered?

Courses are conducted entirely online and the website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer an orientation session, including a website tour, at the beginning of each term.

What kind of time commitment do I need to make?

Up to 10-12 hours per week on the course may be required for readings, assignments and participating in online forums. What happens if I have competing priorities that prevent me completing the course? A vacation or a business trip should not prevent completion of the course. If you organize your schedule, you can work ahead. Should you need to cancel, you can receive a full refund minus a CDN $100 administration fee up to 10 days after the course start date. All cancellation requests must be submitted in writing. Course materials fee is non-refundable. Refunds will not be applicable for cancellation requests received more than 10 days into the course. Any participant unable to complete the course may defer to a later date and will not pay the full course fee again. The deferral fee is CDN $200 payable upon re-enrollment and the student may elect to begin the program again at any future session date. Students may not have more than five deferrals during the entire Program.

What kind of assessment would I need to undertake?

Qualified CAEs will grade participants based on the completion of two major assignments and participation in course discussion forums. Assignments take the form of case studies, benchmarking projects, proposals and reports. There are no exams in the courses. Marks are based on assignments and participation in the online course discussions. The pass mark for each course is 60%. At the end of each term, CSAE will forward a transcript of grades and certificate of completion.

What do I get when I complete the course?

CSAE provides a receipt, transcript and certificate for each course. Upon completion of all five courses, participants may choose to sit the CAE® Exam. To qualify, a prospective CAE must be an AuSAE or CSAE member in good standing and have five years’ association management experience (or two years plus a recognised university degree).

What are the intake times?

There are three terms per year: January, April, and September. Each term is 12 weeks long. All course levels are offered each term.

What are the tuition fees?

Please see the CSAE website for s
pecific information about tuition fees. When registering for the first time, an additional non-refundable CDN $150 reading materials fee is applicable. Tuition fees cover instructor support and course content. Internet connection and e-mail are the responsibility of the student. AuSAE members pay the same rates as CSAE members. Special rates apply for staff of AuSAE members.

Who is the Canadian Society of Association Executives?

The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) provides the resources associations and not-for-profit organisations need to ensure their continuing growth and success. CSAE is a knowledge-based organisation that promotes excellence in association leadership.

Like more information?

click here to download the current CAE brochure. You can also download the registration form to register with CSAE directly. You can also register with CSAE direct by phoning 0011 1 416 363 3555 or by e-mailing cae@csae.com. Alternatively, you can contact AuSAE and we will provide you with further information.

I'm a member because...

The 2014 AuSAE Symposium was highly relevant and I heard many very competent speakers share great content. Convinced me to join your organisation!


Rod Severn, 
Chief Executive Officer, 
Professional Advisers Association New Zealand

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
Free Call: +61 1300 764 576
Phone: +61 7 3268 7955
Email: info@ausae.org.au

New Zealand Office:
Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677
Email: brett@ausae.org.au

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