Certified Association Executive - CAE® Program
The CAE® is an internationally recognized designation built on 44 competencies that demonstrate the essential skills of efficient and effective not-for-profit management. Employers, boards and key stakeholders acknowledge those with CAE® designations as competent, experienced, and practiced not-for-profit professionals.
All courses and the exam for the CAE® Program are offered in a flexible fully online format. The CAE® Program does not require any travel or in person sessions, although students have the opportunity to collaborate with peers and instructors through discussion board forums. Students are expected to have reliable access to an internet connection and computer.
Program Time Frame
The entire program can be completed in as little as 16 months- taking one course at a time. Students have a maximum of five (5) years to complete the program and pass the exam. Exceptions will be handled on a case by case basis.
CAE Program is comprised of five online courses which must be completed in sequence, unless otherwise approved by the Education Department or through Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition.
CAE 100: Association Leadership, Change, Strategy & Structure
CAE 200: Association Membership Services
CAE 300: Association Operations I (Operations Support)
CAE 400: Association Operations II (Products and Services)
CAE 500: Developments in Association Management
Registration for courses and the final exam is available up to three months before the course or final exam start date. Once students have registered and submitted payment, they will receive log in information to the learning management system, access to course materials and access to program and learning management system tutorials. Access to course specific materials will be granted at least two weeks before the course start date.
Online Registration: processed immediately
Fax: processed within 48 hours of receipt
Email: processed within 48 hours of receipt
Adding a Course
Students may join a course up until the Friday of the second week at 4:00pm EST.
CSAE is currently working towards articulation agreements with several Canadian Universities, when transfer opportunities are identified, the handbook will be updated and students notified.
Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR)
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a process that involves the identification, documentation, assessment and recognition of learning. The CAE designation can be earned based on prior learning – whether academic or experiential.
PLAR applicants must possess a minimum of 5 years of senior management experience in conjunction with the submission of a professional portfolio, and resume. Candidates may choose to apply for credit towards CAE 100, 200, 300, and/or 400. However all applicants must take CAE 500 and sit for the exam.
PLAR Application Requirements
Applicants are required to have a minimum of 5 years of mid-senior level management experience;
Hold an active CSAE membership;
Agree to comply with CSAE’s Code of Conduct and submit applicable fees and forms (online registration and payment, resume three references, and supporting documentation).
- Application for all four (4) CAE courses
- Application for a range of CAE courses CAE100-CAE400
Deferring a Course
Students who discover they are unable to complete a course after the last refund date are able to defer their enrolment to the following term up until the due date of the first assignment. Deferring enrolment allows the student to participate in the following term for a $200.00 fee in lieu of the full tuition.
Students may only deferred two times during the program
Deferrals must be used the subsequent term
Payment of the deferral fee is due in full upon request
Students will automatically be enrolled for the next term
Completed course work may not be transferred
Deferrals must be requested by submission of a deferral form.
Students have the option to defer a course up until the due date of the midterm assignment.
Appealing a Grade
Students who feel they have been graded unfairly have the opportunity to contest the assigned grade via the appeals process.
Students must complete an appeal form and include a description of why they are appealing
A sliding scale of fees may be applied depending on the item to be reassessed; these fees pay for an instructor to reassess the work
Appeals are assessed on a rolling basis
Appeals are processed within 21 business days
Students will be notified within 2 business days of the response.
Dropping a Course
Up until 12:00pm EST the second Friday of the course, students may leave a course and receive a full tuition refund. Materials fees are non-refundable and all tuition refunds will be assessed a $100.00 non-refundable fee.
All refunds are subject to a $100.00 non-refundable fee. Cancelled courses will be refunded in full and will not be assessed a refund fee.
Before the start date of a course and up until 12:00 pm EST on the second Friday of the course: 100%
Weeks 3-12: 0%
Up to the due date of the first assignment student may choose to defer their course for a fee of $200.00
Before the start date of the Exam: 100%
After the start date of the Exam: 0
Tuition and Fees: 2015/2016
Materials fee: $250.00 (onetime fee)
Member fee per course: $699.00
Non-member fee per course: $799.00
Dropping a course: $100.00
Final assignment extension: $110.00
Contesting an assignment grade: $60.00
Contesting a course grade: $110.00
Contesting an exam grade: $160.00
Feedback on failed exam: $150.00
PLAR per course: $350.00
CSAE accepts all major credit cards, checks, money orders and purchase orders. Upon request, CSAE will issue an invoice for third party billing purposes. At this time, CSAE does not provide a payment plan option. All tuition must be paid at the time of registration.
Attendance and Participation
Week One: Students are expected to log into the course during the first three days of the term to ensure they have access to all needed materials and links. Students who do not log in will receive a reminder email from the CSAE Education Department.
Readings: Students have access to all materials and readings for the entire course and may work at their own pace.
Assignments: Are to be submitted before 12:00am EST on the due date.
Discussion Forum: Any posts submitted after the submission deadlines will not be counted in participation grading.
Vacations/Business Travel/Busy Work Times
Similarly to your professional commitments the CAE program has a work obligations and deadlines. However, the CAE program offers the benefit of being highly flexible and mobile- allowing you to access content from any mobile, tablet or computer with an internet connection. Often times work and personal commitments will make it difficult to consistently participate in your course. In the likelihood that business travel, a work project or family vacation will limit your ability to access or participate in your course, we recommend a few proactive actions.
Register and gain access to the course as soon as possible.
Map out a schedule with key work and family commitments as well as study time and assignment deadlines.
Work ahead and submit assignments and discussion posts early.
If you are having difficulty meeting a deadline, request an extension well in advance.
Contact your instructor as soon as you anticipate a roadblock.
Questions or Concerns? Contact email@example.com
The CAE® Exam is a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation of student’s knowledge and understanding of the practice of not-for-profit management. As the final step in the achievement of a professional designation, the exam will assess the application of the ‘Not-for-Profit Management Competencies.’
In order to be eligible to write the CAE Exam students must:
Have successfully completed all five courses
Possess two years of senior level non-profit management experience and a university degree, or, five years of senior level non-profit management experience.
Be a CSAE member in good standing
Submit an updated resume and exam fee
Students are required to register for the CAE exam within one year following the completion of CAE500. Exams are offered three times a year. Upon registration students will be registered into an Exam course in the Learning Management System. In the Exam course, students will have access to prep materials, a discussion board forum, and CAE issued course materials. The exam course is also how students will access and submit their final CAE Exam. Use and participation in the Exam course are up to individual student discretion, the Exam course is not graded.
The CAE® Exam is delivered online through the Learning Management System. Students are expected to provide their own internet and computer access and to test their access to the system at least 48 hours prior to the test date.
The exam consists of three case studies and questions. Students are expected to carefully read the exam case and questions as well as identify the expectations. Students will have a one hour window, after receiving the exam, in which to ask operational questions or clarify understanding.
The CAE Exam is a rigorous test, designed to utilize the knowledge gained over 60 weeks of course work. Candidates have 48 hours to complete and submit the exam; Friday at 12:00pm EST and students have until the following Sunday 12:00pm EST. CSAE recommends that candidates anticipate between 18-26 hours will be spent on the exam; this varies by person. Late exams will not be accepted.
Managing Expectations and Time
The CAE program is a rigorous and challenging professional development journey. In this program you will be asked to engage in self-reflection, learn new skill sets, reach out to new contacts, and to apply your learning directly to your professional organization. You will also be asked to encounter new personal challenges, such as balancing your personal, professional and school lives.
As you progress, keep in mind that you have an array of resources and support through CSAE, to help you through the program. Your instructors, current and past, are available for questions, clarification, dialogue and advisement. The Education Department team can provide learning, advisement, technical and logistical support.
You probably registered in the program to obtain the CAE designation, increase your value to your organization and improve your organization’s performance. Evaluate your success accordingly. Higher marks will not improve your performance or that of your association but enhanced professional skills will.
Your Family & Friends
You may find that learning online may present challenges when balancing family and friend commitments and obligations. Many learners find the following strategies help maintain a balance.
Choose a workspace free from distractions and interruptions.
Establish a schedule, so that family and friends know when you are not available.
Communicate your workload and deadlines clearly, so that others understand your scheduling needs.
Involve others in your professional development; share your experiences.
Know your limits. Being a diligent student is important, but maintaining a healthy personal/professional balance will help keep you motivated throughout the program.
Approach your employer and/or board before joining or once you’ve joined the program. Explain that as a part of your studies, you’ll be applying your learning to strengthen the organizations day-to-day operations as well as to utilize your organization as a case study for assignments. Solicit feedback from your employer on areas of importance or for ideas on approaching assignments. Once your organization sees your assignment will likely bring immediate benefits to your organization, they will be more supportive of your studies. It will be easier to continue in the program, and you might even be able to negotiate some work hours for your course work.
Each course requires the submission of two assignments and participation in a discussion forum. Due dates for the assignments can be found in the course Calendar. All assignments should be submitted before 12:00am EST on the due date.
Assignments typically take the form of a case study or a benchmarking project in order to provide learners with the opportunity to directly apply the course material. It is expected that the weekly course readings, lessons, discussions and other research will be directly referenced in the case study content.
Include a title page with your name, course, assignment number and topic.
Type should be Times New Roman 12point
Pages should be single-spaced
Pages should be numbered
Use endnotes or a bibliography rather than footnotes
Use proper citation for references APA or MLA
Save the document in a Word or PDF format
Use the following naming convention: LastName_Course_Assignmentnumber (Smith_CAE100_1)
Students who need to refresh their skills in report writing may find the following resources useful. If after reviewing the following options, students still have questions, they should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Assignment One and Discussion Board Extension Guidelines
Assignment One: may not exceed the last week of the course.
Discussion Forum: no extensions will be granted for discussion forum posts. Timely participation and interaction are essential to provide a meaningful experience. If students know in advance that they will be without an internet connection for a week, they must contact email@example.com and they will be granted early access to the discussion forum for their week of absence.
Final Assignment Extensions
Students may request an extension for their final assignment provided:
Are in good academic standing
Have participated in the discussion boards
Submitted the first assignment
They provide a reason that is beyond their control for the request.
Final Assignment Extension Guidelines
Payment of the extension fee is due in full upon request ($110.00).
Extensions beyond 21 calendar days will not be granted
If the extension and the next term overlap, students are expected to maintain participation in the course
The extensions are subject to instructors’ availability beyond the term.
Final Assignment Extension Dates
Students have the option to request an incomplete up until 2 business days before the due date of the final assignment.
No extensions will be permitted for the CAE exam. If the student is not able to participate in the exam they may be able to participate in a following exam at no addition cost. Exceptions are limited to death of an immediate family member, religious observance, or illness with a doctor’s note. Please refer to the refund policy for more details.
Failure to provide references and identify sources will be considered plagiarism and may result in expulsion from the program. All sources of information (articles, websites, books, etc..) must be cited in the assignments and referenced on a reference page at the end of the report. Students may choose to use either APA or MLA standards.
Grades are assigned based on the completion of two course assignments and participation in the discussion forums. The passing grade for each course is 60%.
CAE 100 to 400:
Assignment One: 30%
Assignment Two: 50%
Participation in Discussions: 20%
Assignment One: 20%
Assignment Two: 70%
Participation in Discussions: 10%
Case Study One: 25 points
Case Study Two: 35 points
Case Study Three: 40 points
Grades for courses will be available approximately two weeks after the end of the course. Grades for exams are issue 4-6 weeks after the exam.
Students who wish to obtain copies of their course records for before 2015 must submit the request in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests will be processed as received. Allow 48 hours for processing. Student records after 2015 are available via the course site.
Student Tax Information
T2202 forms are available by request to all students. Forms are e-mailed at the end of January.
Eligible Tuition Fees - You can claim the course fees for courses taken in the calendar year.
You cannot claim the following as tuition fees: fees paid or reimbursed by your employer.