NACA® Certification for Student Affairs Educators

Summer 2023 Application Timeline

Applications Open! Apply Here.

Application deadline: Thurs., Aug. 31 at 11:59 p.m. (PT)

Exam Window Opens: Sat., July 1

Exam Window Closes: Tues., Oct. 31

NACA a Lead Partner for New Student Affairs Certification

NACA is proud to be 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, was 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 were 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 CSAEd™ designation signifies continuous learning, knowledge, and competency in the certification domain areas of foundations of the profession; student learning, development, and success; assessment and evaluation; social justice and inclusion; leadership; human resources management; crisis and risk management; and financial and facility management. 

To find out more details about certification, including eligibility and fees, visit the Consortium website

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The Specialty Certifications

  • Campus Activities
  • Campus Housing and Residential Life
  • Campus Recreation
  • College Unions
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Student Conduct Administration

The Consortium sets the Fees for Core and Specialty Area Certification. The current fee structure can be found here.

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.