In 2016, I took the February CAE Kickoff class, sat for the exam in May, and received notification a couple months later that I passed. I was glad because sitting for a four-hour exam was not much fun, and I was not going to give up on the goal after only one try. But here I am, having passed the first time.
The list of reasons for getting a CAE probably differs among people who aspire to achieve it, but one big reason I did was for the recognition, in addition to the encouragement and support I received from my employer. I knew that the CAE would set me apart in the association world and make me more employable in the future, not that I would want to leave my current position. It is about as good as it gets here. No way am I going anywhere.
I also knew that there were some areas of associations I had had no exposure to, and that studying for the CAE exam would give me a high-level view into these areas. For example, I had never studied accounting or finance. I had also never worked in a membership department, even though much of what I have done has been member-focused, and I do a lot of membership work with a volunteer organization I work with.
I knew the CAE process – all the studying and preparation – would make me a better employee, and I think it has.
ASAE has a FAQ about the CAE and I think this pretty well sums up why folks go through this:
Becoming a Certified Association Executive shows your commitment to the association profession. As a CAE, you commit yourself to lifelong learning and an ongoing pursuit of knowledge in the profession. Among association leaders, the CAE designation has become known and appreciated as a mark of distinction that offers a wide range of benefits.
Individuals pursue the CAE for a variety of reasons, including professional development, career planning and professional pride, dedication to their career, a personal belief in the association profession, and self-fulfillment.
If you are considering pursuing the CAE designation for yourself, I highly recommend it. This is my first blog post, obviously, but I plan to talk about preparation strategies, courses to take, and association life in general. Let me know if you want to read anything else or if I can shed light anywhere.