“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” – Mary Shelley, author
I am someone who needs to take small steps to make a change. I remember when I wanted to start an exercise program. My first step was to walk into the gym. Just walk in and walk back out. That was my small step to a big change. Deciding to obtain your Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation is another big change but fortunately it too can be broken into small steps. The other piece of good news is that you will not be tackling this change alone. There are legions of current CAEs ready and willing to help. So let’s get started.
- Watch the video. ISAE offers a quick, free video overview of the CAE exam and process. A great small first step. Also, the candidate handbook PDF combines all information in one place. It includes the self-assessment exam which we will review at the ISAE study session.
- Assess your eligibility. Eligibility to sit for the exam can be a mix of background, work experience and education hours. If you have a questions don’t hesitate to ask. ASAE staff can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obtain any missing hours to reach 100. Determine your local versus virtual opportunities for additional hours. Need a lot of hours quickly? ISAE is co-sponsoring an online bundle of education worth 10 credits. If the September application deadline is too soon, consider taking the ISAE study sessions. It will be a great way to put yourself into the CAE mindset, plus attending earns you 10 credit hours.
- Complete your application to sit for the exam. The accepted application then approves you to take the exam within the next 12 months.
- Sign up for the ISAE study sessions. This fall’s free (for ISAE members) ISAE study group will be held every Wednesday starting October 21 from 4–6 p.m. at the Raybourn Group office at 9100 Purdue Road, Suite 200 in Indianapolis. Sessions will be facilitated by Jessica Wendorf, CAE, CNP, Chapter and Regional Operations Manager at The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International; Lindsey Knight, CAE, Director of Membership & Meetings, Indiana Commercial Board of REALTORS®; Shelly Pfenninger, CAE, Director of Communication, Raybourn Group International; and Rachel Daeger, CAE, Associate Executive Director, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. I highly recommend sitting through the study sessions more than once. The first time through I did the practice exams and listened to the discussions without studying the material. This was a great way for me to learn the CAE acronyms, such as SPIE, and to put myself in the mindset of a CEU of a large international association—something I’m not.
- Join the ISAE CAE Candidate LinkedIn group. This is the best forum to keep up with the local study group plus you’ll have access to local CAEs willing to answer questions. This is a closed group so please request access.
- Connect with ASAE CAE Candidates on Collaborate. Collaborate houses a library of additional study material plus you’ll receive notices of online study groups, cram chats and more.
- Order all materials, including the study guide. The study material is new for 2015 and it is very important to obtain the most recent versions of the material. Since the exam was redesigned this year, using hand-me-down books will put you at a serious disadvantage.
- Create your study plan. Shelly Pfenninger, CAE, has started a calendar for you with a breakdown of the readings for each domain and the topics of each weekly study session.
- Start your positive affirmations—you are a CAE!