Should You Get a CAE or a Master’s Degree?

Not long ago, I attended a seminar at the Association Forum of Chicagoland about getting the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation. For anyone interested in a long-term career in the association industry, eventually aiming for it is a given – while it’s undoubtedly hard work, in the end you’ll gain credibility, confidence, and knowledge across a large number of areas. 

But, where does a master’s degree fit into your career goals? Is it more important than the CAE? Does it even matter? If you want both, which should you get first?

At this session, entitled, “Take Your Career to the Next Level with the CAE Designation,” presenter Stephen Stahr suggests getting both.  However, he recommends getting the CAE first if given the choice. The time commitment is shorter, and many of the same topics will be covered (though expanded upon), in a master’s program, making it the logical next step.

Personally, my choice would be made at “shorter time commitment.” However, I’m sure that others disagree and would want to complete their master’s degrees first. I’d love to hear opinions…if given the option, would you choose to go after your master’s degree or CAE credential?

For more on the CAE, visit this page on the ASAE site:

About Charlotte Weeks - Executive Career Coach / Executive Resume Writer / Outplacement Consultant

Prior to founding Weeks Career Services, Inc. Charlotte Weeks worked in human resources at a national association, where she experienced the hiring process from the other side. She's also the past president of The National Resume Writers' Association (The NRWA). Charlotte specializes in providing C-level executives (CEO, CFO, CMO, etc.), association executives, executive directors and senior-level professionals (director, VP, SVP, etc.) with comprehensive career coaching services and high-ROI resumes. She is author of "I Want a Job in an Association -- Now What?? A Guide to Getting a Job in a Professional Association, Membership Organization, or Society" and featured author of "101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career." Additional book contributions include "The Twitter Job Search Guide," "Resumes That Pop!," and "Step-by-Step Cover Letters." As an internationally-recognized expert, Charlotte provides programs and documents tailored to each individual’s needs. To ensure that each person is given the highest quality of attention and service, Charlotte works with a limited number of new clients each month.
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