Ran into two pals who were headed to the CAE (Certified Association Executive) certification info session in Chicago. But I'm prohibited from telling anyone because (and I'm assuming everyone reading this knows how the sentence ends) ... they believe they could fail. If you ask someone if they've ever thought about CAE it's likely the words "and I could fail" are going to come up.
I had great confidence when I started the CAE process .... But my friend Bob (pic) who already held the CAE strongly advised that I look at the suggested reading (to the point he immediately FedEx'd one of his books to me); and the first chapter of that first book managed to sink my confidence. I REALLY had to study. For example, didn't know a thing about credentialing, which was among the topics. Of course there were uh-oh moments where I realized a few things done incorrectly through the years because I had never just read the collective works of association management rules, laws and ideas encompassed in CAE preparation.
To study: As only one CAE in my state, no local help ... so joined the Michigan ASAE online study group. Fascinating as beyond the actual content, some education is "how to take the test" ... such as "think like you're the CEO of a large national association." Very helpful tip because how an AE who is CEO of a statewide association with that set of resources would respond to a scenario is potentially different from how a national association CEO with large staff and resources would do it. Included tips like SAT takers get -- e.g., cross out the answers you aren't going to select, highlight words in the question that appear important. Those studying for CAE now have other resources -- check out both the blog and these CAE exam tips from Ben Martin, CAE.
I borrowed books from CAE Bob and others from our national association's library. Purchased an audiotape of a financial course that Ed McMillian taught AEs, and listened to it repeatedly in my car to memorize certain concepts. Years later I can still hear him say "a 501(c)5 is a labor, agricultural or horticultural organization". There are many ways to study ...
Since I hadn't taken the "don't tell anyone" approach, and did tell my officers I was studying for the CAE exam, I prepared my "just in case I fail" response: "The experience of studying for the exam was of such value to me professionally and so valuable to our association, that the designation would have just been a bonus -- the real value is the education." And it's true -- it is absolutely worth studying for the CAE exam and taking the exam, regardless of the outcome. So if you're on the fence, do it. The initial deadline to apply for the next exam is coming up -- Sept 7 (extended deadline Oct 5 for Dec 7 exam).
The group I studied with online didn't fully bond as a group until AFTER the exam when we all thought we might have failed. We didn't -- My study group all PASSED. So -- check the CAE experience/education requirements, sign up, study, take the exam, pass it.