Last week we shared a post about obtaining a CAE certification – why it’s important, how it can help a leader’s career, and how it can build a strong staff. Many successful association leaders possess a CAE certification – so how can one jump on the bandwagon? Today we’re sharing 3 simple ways to prepare for the test.
How a CAE Cert Can Improve Your Career
Image Credit: ASAE
Professionals across all industries know that certification can dramatically improve their career outlook, boosting their credentials in a way that not only impresses employers but sharpens their skills.
By putting their time into studying and taking the exams, association managers demonstrate a dedication to the field. They can also document that they have the expertise necessary for the job they’re paid to do. Over time, certifications can qualify someone for a promotion or a new job, leading to a higher salary and more respect from colleagues.
What You Need to Qualify for a CAE Certification
Image Credit: ASAE
For those working in the association management field, the Certified Association Executive (CAE) program can be the best path toward career advancement. Sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), this certification is only available to those currently working for a qualifying nonprofit or association management company. But as with any certification, you’ll likely want to spend time studying to give yourself the best opportunity possible to pass on the first try.
Fortunately, the ASAE offers resources to professionals interested in taking the exam. Here are three options to investigate.
Connect with Other Students
Most states have their own Society of Association Executives that help with ASAE’s work on a local level. If you’re in the Midwest, check out Associations North. Those local organizations can be invaluable resources to association professionals, offering networking and learning opportunities. Contact your local chapter to find out if there are opportunities for you to connect with others who are interested in taking the exam. You can then form a study group or simply support each other as you prepare.
Find Study Courses
A course is one of the best ways to prepare for any certification exam. You’ll be able to get the information you need in a formal learning environment, allowing you to dedicate time to getting ready for the upcoming exam. Make sure you only sign up for courses with providers that are approved by the ASAE, since you’ll be taking the test through them. If you find many of these courses are held in areas that aren’t local to you, it may be easier to contact your local society and ask for a course being held in your own state.
Gather Online Resources
In addition to a study course, you’ll also want to put time into studying association management basics. Start with this worksheet, which helps you organize your plan of attack as you prepare to get rolling on your exam preparation. ASAE offers these core resources, as well as a list of independent study resources that can help. Perhaps most helpful of all is the Candidate Handbook, provided by ASAE, which includes prep tips and a sample question/answer key to help you study.
Long before you begin preparing for the CAE exam, you’ll already be gaining valuable experience that will help you get certified. On-the-job experience is a great precursor to the CAE exam, since it gives you the background necessary to relate to the information you’ll encounter as you study. In the process of preparing for the test, you may even make a few connections that will help you in your daily duties as an association management professional.