Student Affairs Certification Core Exam Preparation

The Certified Student Affairs Educator (CSAEd) is the core certification credential and intended for mid-level educators and above. 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; talent management; crisis and risk management; and financial and facility management.

This credential is for eligible student affairs educators regardless of functional area or institution type. The CSAE credential is a foundation and required prerequisite for all specialty area credentials. The CSAEd's development was led by NASPA in partnership with the Higher Education Consortium for Student Affairs Certification’s member association subject matter experts.

The overall objective of these materials and opportunities is to help learners to successfully prepare for the CSAEd exam by providing a variety of resources for different learning and preparation styles.


“Passing the CSAEd exam provided a credential and affirmation associated with my experience and ability to contribute as an administrator. I am grateful to the NASPA Foundation for the scholarship to support the exam and for the Consortium for helping to tell the Student Affairs story through this certification.”

About Core Certification

About Certification

The Higher Education Consortium for Student Affairs Certification promotes and advances student affairs and services in higher education by assessing and recognizing individual educators who demonstrate competency in established domains, commit to ongoing learning and professional development, and comply with the code of ethics. The Consortium was collaboratively established by student affairs professional associations to manage Student Affairs Educator Certification.

Certification is designed to benefit individual educators at the mid-level and above, higher education institutions, and the larger student affairs and services profession. There have traditionally been limited means for educators to demonstrate their competencies and knowledge growth through ongoing work experience, and to then formally exhibit this growth in pursuit of lifelong learning and professional advancement. Certification offers a robust set of credentials to demonstrate this growth!


Informational Videos

Check out the videos below to learn more about various aspects of the new Student Affairs Educator Certification program and its development. Learn more about the benefits to individual educators, associations, institutions, and the profession as a whole.

About Specialty Certifications

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. 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.


Campus Activities

Campus Housing & Residential Life

Campus Recreation

College Unions

Fraternity & Sorority Life

Student Conduct Administration

Becoming Certified

In order to become CSAEd certified, interested professionals must apply through the Higher Education Consortium for Student Affairs Certification. Bothe the Consortium and NASPA have gathered a variety of resources and reference materials to help candidates prepare for the core certification exam.

Higher Education Consortium for Student Affairs Certification References


Exam Preparation

NASPA Resources for Continuing Education and Maintaining Certification

Certification maintenance includes ethical practice and continuous learning. While certificants are required to demonstrate continuous learning through recertification every five years, engaging in certification maintenance is an ongoing process. A certificant’s maintenance period begins once they become certified or upon approval of recertification. Certificants must recertify every five years to maintain active certification status. During this five year period, certificants should be seeking and engaging in the variety of approved continuing education activities. NASPA provides a number of resources to assist with this process.  

“I primarily work with faculty and faculty-administrators and certification is common in many academic fields. So, the certification adds a certain amount of credibility to what I do in the eyes of those who often do not understand student affairs.

The feedback I received at the completion of the certification process provided me with a more concrete idea of the competencies in which I excel and areas I can grow. To me, this is where the certification process is phenomenal for mid-level administrators. I have a better sense of how I might shape future professional development opportunities to maximize competency growth. It is a map of sorts so I can continue to grow as a professional.”

  • Dr. Justin M. Sipes, Director, Center for Community-Based Learning. University of North Florida