For professionals working in the field of association management, career growth is a no-brainer. Similar to other industries though, there are credentials that can strengthen a manager’s resume and open career paths that might not otherwise have been available. One well-known credential is the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation, which can not only boost career prospects, but it can also make professionals stronger and more knowledgeable.

But, achieving this certification requires an investment of both time and money. Before making this commitment, you’ll likely want to know what you can gain from it.

Here are four reasons you should consider obtaining the CAE distinction.

1. Make Connections

As you begin the process of earning your CAE, you’ll notice that you’re meeting others in your industry. The stories and ideas you exchange will help you learn more about the work you do every day. You’ll also be able to leverage these connections later when you’re looking for volunteer opportunities or trying to fill a position within your own organization. Through ongoing professional development, association managers can attend workshops, interact with others, and build a network that will help them throughout their careers.

2. Meet Higher Standards

The more association leaders choose to get this certification, the more it elevates the industry as a whole. As an association leader, the work you put into studying to take the certification exams will help you grow in your career. Even if you’ve worked in the field for years, you can still learn from the coursework required for the CAE exam. You’ll also pledge to uphold a list of conduct standards that include respecting your work, maintaining confidentiality, and fostering an ethical culture.

3. Career Development

Once you’ve completed the exam and achieved certification, you can add it to your resume. Even if you have no immediate plans to look for another position, this credential can make a difference in your current career. You can add it to your professional bio, your LinkedIn page, and your signature line in emails. Adding CAE to your name can give you that extra layer of expertise necessary to take your career to the next level. It may even get you a raise.

4. Build a Strong Staff

Successful association management requires the collaboration of a talented team. By encouraging everyone who runs your organization to pursue a CAE, your association can develop a culture where everyone upholds the highest standards. You’ll each learn the vocabulary that you can put into the work you’re doing each day, impressing everyone from board members to volunteers. Each team member will also see that leadership is willing to invest in their professional development, leading to a positive work culture that keeps turnover rates low and morale high.

As an association management professional, you’re committed to serving your members to the best of your ability. A CAE designation will equip you with the knowledge necessary to run an association with integrity and skill. Additionally, you’ll have a credential that will help you whether you choose to continue your career with a new organization or remain in your current position for many years.