CAE Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to take the CAE exam, you must meet work experience, bachelor’s degree, and professional development criteria, and pay an application fee ($500 for AuSAE and ASAE members; $750 for nonmembers). Once you have fulfilled the requirements, you may submit your exam application. Find more details below.


Work Experience

Candidates who apply to take the CAE exam must have five years of experience as an employee at the staff level or one year employed as a chief staff executive or C-suite-level executive at a qualifying organisation. A qualifying organisation is a nonprofit organisation (trade association, professional society, individual membership organisation, philanthropic organisation, or an association management company (AMC).

In lieu of employment at a qualifying organisation, an applicant may have 10 years’ paid service as an employee, independent contractor, or consultant with demonstrated professional involvement within the association community by providing services as defined by the CAE exam content outline or five years of such service if substantially all of your work is devoted solely to qualifying organisations.

Candidates must be currently employed by a qualifying organisation or have been employed by one within the last five years. If qualifying under “in lieu of employment” requirements, you must be currently (or within the last five years) employed in paid service as an employee, independent contractor, or consultant with demonstrated professional involvement within the association community by providing services as defined by the CAE exam content outline.


Professional Development
Candidates must have completed 100 hours of broad-based, association management-related professional development, as defined by the exam content outline, within the last five years of the month in which you submit your application to be eligible to sit for the CAE examination. For example, an application submitted in September 2020 would have professional development completed between September 2015 through September 2020.

Acceptable professional development activities include the following:

  1. Live conferences, workshops, seminars, or classes
  2. College or university courses
  3. Preplanned in-depth group study
  4. Individual self-paced study.
  5. Mentoring/coaching. 

AuSAE will work with you to determine this criteria

Ineligible activities. The following are not eligible to earn CAE credit:

  • General software/training courses
  • Expo hall hours
  • Industry-specific programs (not general association management; e.g. physicians' CME courses)
  • Networking receptions
  • Breaks between educational sessions
  • Product-specific promotional courses or training
  • Job-related duties

AuSAE's first intake is May 2021 

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Study group's in Australia and New Zealand starting first week of March 2021

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Application Fee
A fee of $500 for AuSAE & ASAE members and $750 for nonmembers must be submitted with the application. The application fee, minus a $150 non-refundable processing fee, will be refunded only if a candidate fails to meet the eligibility requirements.
Once a CAE exam application is accepted, the candidate can test once within next 12 months (or within two test administrations) at no additional charge. If a candidate wishes to retake the exam within the 12-month period, an additional fee of $250 will be assessed.
If the candidate does not sit for the exam within two test administrations from the time the application is approved, then the application becomes invalid, and a new application must be submitted, along with a new application fee.



    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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