Building New Skills: Certified Association Executive (CAE) Designation

The Certified Association Executive (CAE) program is designed to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and designate association professionals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to the practice of association management. **GSAE uses ASAE's CAE Study Guide in our review sessions.

The 2021 exams will be held May 1-14, 2021 and December 1-14, 2021 with testing at a Scantron centerPlease see ASAE's website for more info.

NEW - Renewal changes for those due Dec 31, 2020

  • The renewal deadline has been extended from December 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021. 
  • The cap on self-study has been lifted. All forty credits needed for renewal may be taken through any amount of live and/or approved self-study courses.
  • The early renewal discount will be extended to completed renewals submitted through March 31, 2021. The discounted renewal fee is $275 for ASAE members and $425 for nonmembers.
  • Forty credits will be required for renewal including one credit of ethics-focused education.
  • Up to 10 credits from association management leadership, instruction, or writing activities may still be applied to the application.
  • These additional options apply only for this renewal cycle for those originally due to renew by December 2020.

NEW - Released CAE exam outline beginning December 2020 - new domains, new material. Highlighted additions version.

Need to check your CAE credits earned with GSAE or add a recent class? Log in to your profile to see your qualifying credits since 2014. More instructions here.

2019 CAE Commission Update, article from past Chair, Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF

CAE Study Group and Guide Information

The next formal GSAE CAE Study Group will begin meeting summer 2021.
Register now! $89 - GSAE members
Each session is eligible for CAE group study hours based on instruction time.

2020 agenda below for reference

Sessions and Domains


Date and Location

Session I
Overview and 
Domain 1- Strategic Management 

ZOOM - prior to virtual luncheon
9:30 am - 11:30 am

Wednesday, July 15

Session II
Domain 8 - Public Policy, Government Relations & Coalition Building

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Friday, July 24

Session III 
Domain 3 - Membership Development

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Friday, July 31

Session IV
Domain 6 - Administration & Law Review 
Domain 7 - Knowledge Management & Research 

9:30 am - 11:30 am 

Friday, August 7

Session V
Domain 4 - Programs, Products & Services 

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Friday, August 14

Session VI
Domain 9 - Marketing, Public Relations & Communications

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Friday, August 21
ZOOM (skipping Aug. 28 for GSAE Annual)

Session VII
Domain 2: Governance and Structure

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Friday, September 4

Session VIII 
Domain 5 - Leadership

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Friday, September 11

Intensive Session 1 - 
 Domains 1, 4, 7, and 9

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, October 2

Intensive Session 2 - 
Domains 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, October 16

Session IX
Financial & Legal Overview with
Matt Gunning, CPA and John Foster, JD, CHME

9:30 - 10:30 am

Friday, October 23

Mock Exam

10:00 am-11:00 am; Questions provided beforehand.

Friday, November 6

CAE Exam

New info - The CAE exam is offered in a two-week window in December. 
The test is administered at scheduled test sites throughout the U.S. and internationally at Scantron testing centers. 

December 2020 exam - The application deadline is Friday, September 25, 2020

Register now for the 2021 GSAE CAE Study Group - $89 - GSAE members

Need a class sooner than this summer? Check out our colleagues at MSAE - they offer a variety of opportunities and a discounted rate for GSAE members. 

ASAE's CAE Study Guide, 2020 Edition, Kathleen M. Edwards, CAE, Executive Editor
Member and Nonmember Price: $82
*Includes official CAE Practice Exam!

some of our favorite things

Societies in the Southeast

the nonprofit center

Easily one of our favorite folks on association management issues, Bob Harris, CAE, has 20 years experience with associations. His seminars are interactive, focused on core-knowledge and member needs. He utilizes case studies, trends and headlines board orientation, training, strategic planning, staff training and consulting. Best of all, Bob offers free templates and documents on his website so we can all benefit from his knowledge. Visit the Nonprofit Center.

more helpful resources

  • Michigan Society of Association Executives has a great set of resources available for members of the state, local and regional groups. The member rate is available for books, the CAE Resource Kit, as well as the CAE Key Concepts and Terminology Flashcards. 

  • View the MSAE website for online and in person CAE programs ($100 savings for GSAE members, but you have to tell them you are ours)

  • CAE Domain Outline - Figure out what you know and what you don't know

  • CAE Exam Advice - Helpful tips from a seasoned CEO

  • The Nonprofit Center - Bob Harris, CAE

asae assistance and info

 For more information on the CAE designation, contact ASAE staff directly or visit ASAE's website

“CAE” is a registered trademark of the American Society of Association Executives and the Certified Association Executive Commission. The Study Guide is independent of the CAE certification program. No specific preparatory program is endorsed by the CAE Commission. The CAE Commission and CAE staff are solely responsible for the policies and administration of the CAE program. To learn more about CAE certification contact Credentialing at caedept "at" or (202) 626-2759.

Please contact our office at (404) 577-7850 or e-mail our president, Wendy Kavanagh, CAE, at wendy "@" if you are interested in joining a future study group.

Application for the CAE Exam
eligibility to sit

Recertification due the third October 31 after original certification*

To maintain the certification, you must accumulate 40 CAE credit hours, submit a qualifying completed Certification Renewal Form, and pay certification renewal fees. CAE credit hours for certification renewal may be accumulated in a wide variety of ways, and executives involved in the profession should have little difficulty maintaining the certification. Qualifying activities for renewal credit include continuing education programs as outlined for CAE applicants and up to 10 CAE credit hours from leadership, instruction and writing activities.

* All information courtesy of ASAE (also available at

Approved Provider Update

The Georgia Society of Association Executives is a CAE Approved Provider. Where noted, the programs we offer meet the requirements for fulfilling the professional development requirements to earn or maintain the Certified Association Executive credential. Every program that we offer which qualifies for CAE credit will clearly identify the number of CAE credits granted for full participation, and we will maintain records of your participation in accord with CAE policies.

Note: GSAE programs are not endorsed, accredited, or affiliated with ASAE or the CAE program. Applicants may use any program that meets eligibility requirements in the specific time frame towards the exam application or renewal. There are no specific individual courses required as part of the applications – selection of eligible education is up to the applicant based on his/her needs.