NACA® Certification for Student Affairs Educators
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NACA a Lead Partner for New Student Affairs Certification

We are proud to announce NACA is a lead partner in the development of a student affairs certification, called the Certified Student Affairs Educator. A separate 501(c)6 organization, called the Higher Education Consortium for Student Affairs Certification, has been established to develop, oversee and execute the certification. This consortium includes representation from each of the founding association partners, including NASPA, ACUHO-I, ACUI, AFA, ASCA, and NIRSA. In addition to the creation of the general certification, several specialty areas are also being developed, including a Campus Activities specialization.

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About the Certification

Student Affairs Educator Certification includes seven credentials–the core student affairs educator certification and six specialty area certifications. The core certification serves as an important, independent credential as well as a required prerequisite for each specialty certification area. All credentials were developed by subject matter expert practitioners and graduate faculty appointed by the Certification Consortium partner associations to benefit individual educators, institutions, professional associations, and the field.

The Speciality Certifications

  • Campus Activities
  • Campus Housing and Residential Life
  • Campus Recreation
  • College Unions
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Student Conduct Administration
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Certification is a credential that will be available to student affairs educators who hold a master’s degree in a higher education-related field, or equivalent, and have at least five years of employment experience at a college or university. A pathway to certification will be available for student affairs educators (or those seeking to enter the field) who do not currently hold a master’s degree, and who have significant experience working at a college or university.

NACA's Role in Developing the Certification

NACA explored the idea of certification/credentialing for campus activities professionals for the past few years. Under the guidance of a credentialing consulting firm, a task force comprised of NACA volunteers convened in 2018 to explore credentialing options for the Association. The taskforce was led through several activities designed to help frame a market research study, which subsequently found strong support for providing professional development support via certification. The task force provided a detailed business plan with recommendations in summer 2019. The first half of 2019 saw a change of staff leadership at NACA. During this time, the board of directors determined it would be wise to place a hold on any developments until new staff leadership was in place. Simultaneously, conversations were beginning to take form with fellow student affairs-based associations, including NASPA. An opportunity arose for multiple student affairs-based associations to come together and support an initiative that could have a broader reach. Unfortunately, the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic slowed progress on this initiative in early 2020, but work was able to pick back up in spring 2021.

Association volunteer leaders have shared their time and talents alongside fellow student affairs educators, graduate faculty, and professional association representatives developing the initial components of student affairs certification. As a voluntary credential, student affairs certification holds tremendous potential to the overall student affairs profession; as well as to individuals who have already earned a master’s degree, spent several years working in higher education, and who seek a formal means of demonstrating their ongoing learning, competencies, and knowledge.

Other Questions?

Please contact Director of Education & Research Sarah Keeling, Ph.D.