NACD Directorship Certification™

NACD Directorship Certification™

NACD Directorship Certification™

 

About the Program

Since our founding more than four decades ago, NACD has been committed to equipping our members with the knowledge and skills required to serve in the boardroom. Later this year, NACD will launch the first-ever US-based certification program for public company directors: NACD Directorship CertificationÔ. Directors who successfully complete the program will be considered to be NACD Directorship Certified™.

Why Now?

The profession of directorship continues to increase in complexity, and the roles and responsibilities of the board have expanded in the past several years. At the same time, we have more new directors serving in the boardroom than ever before.

"In any other industry where individuals serve as professional fiduciaries, there are typically degree programs, mandated training, certification, and continuing education. This includes diverse fields like medicine, law, accounting, real estate, and so on. It is definitely time to institute these practices for board directorships, and the leadership taken by NACD in launching a board director certification program is something that the private and public investing community should wholeheartedly support." – Scott Lenet | Touchdown Ventures Inc.

Elevating the Profession of Directorship

Certification will elevate the profession of directorship by:

Designed by Experienced Corporate Directors and Governance Experts 

The certification exam content is informed by input from more than 2,000 board members representing a broad range of companies and industries. To provide guidance and direction for the new certification program, NACD has formed and is leveraging a steering committee of highly experienced corporate directors and corporate governance practitioners:

Components of the Program

NACD’s certification program is threefold:

  1.  A three-day course covering the fundamentals of board service
  2. An exam covering key areas of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to serve on a board
  3. A study guide that both helps members prepare for the exam and provides additional information and resources to augment learning beyond the exam questions

Experienced directors from around the United States have written the exam questions and scenarios.

Areas of Competency

NACD’s certification program is designed to update and educate directors, whether or not they proceed to the exam in order to be formally certified. The content covered by the study guide and exam comprises these areas of competency for study:

  1. The Role of the Board: “Fiduciary Duties,” “Corporate Governance Requirements,” “Board Processes and Culture,” and “Shareholder Engagement”
  2. The Board’s Standing Committees: “Audit Committee,” “Compensation Committee,” and “Nominating and Governance Committee”
  3. The Board’s Duty to Select the CEO: “CEO Succession Planning,” “CEO Evaluation,” and “Executive Compensation”
  4. Traditional Areas of Board Oversight: “Oversight of Risk, Strategy, Financial Performance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Ethics and Compliance, Talent, and Crises”
  5. Emerging Areas of Board Oversight: “Oversight of Culture,” “Cyber Risk Oversight,” and “Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues”

Eligibitiy Criteria

All NACD members are eligible to become certified. Directors must first take NACD’s foundation course, Director Professionalism®, which serves as a prerequisite for the exam. Once they have completed the course, they schedule and prepare for the exam. Upon passing the exam, they will become NACD Directorship Certified.

In some cases, members may bypass the prerequisite course and go right to the exam. Those exceptions include:

Cost

Complete Certification Package: $7,500. 
Includes prerequisite NACD Director Professionalism course, exam study guide, and all exam application and assessment fees.

Certification Exam: $3,000. 
Only for those who are eligible to bypass the prerequisite course; fee includes the exam study guide and all exam application and assessment fees.

Recertification

In order to maintain certification status, certified directors must complete 32 NACD certification credits every 24 months. Nominal recertification fees may apply.

In the News

June 20, 2019: Forbes: Venture Capital Desperately Needs More Governance

May 8, 2019: Bloomberg Law: Directors to be Tested on Whether they are Corporate Board Ready

April 25, 2019: LRN: E&C Pulse: Certification Program Aims to Ensure Directors Know Their Stuff

April 2, 2019: NACD to Offer New Certification Program for Corporate Directors

Stay Connected

If you are interested in signing up for updates regarding this program, please click here.

 

FAQs

What is a professional certification?
 
  • A certification program recognizes specialized knowledge required to perform the tasks of a given profession—in this case, the profession of directorship.
  • Further, a certification program defines the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to do a specific job, and the NACD certification program defines the KSAs necessary to serve as a certified professional director. Then, these KSAs will guide curriculum and exam development, test administration, etc.
What is the purpose of the program?
 
  • The purpose of NACD’s certification program is to elevate the profession of directorship by
    • setting the standard for continuing education in the directorship profession;
    • ensuring directors have a baseline understanding of the requisite knowledge and skills required of a board member;
    • enabling stakeholders to view corporate directors as trusted stewards of long-term value creation, and ultimately helping to bolster investor trust and public confidence in corporations; and,
    • enhancing the talent pool for public boards by recognizing individuals who have committed to continuous learning.
  • This very much aligns with the mission of NACD: to elevate board performance by providing members with practical insights through world-class education, leading-edge research, and an ever-growing network of directors. And with our vision: to aspire to a world where corporate directors are recognized by all stakeholders as trusted stewards of long-term value creation.
Why now?
 
  • Business conditions continue to change, so yesterday’s knowledge may not meet the demands of today’s business environment. With this initiative, we are equipping current and aspiring directors with the knowledge and skills they need to lead in the boardroom.
  • Directors on average are already devoting 20 hours per year to furthering their education, but they have little or no formal, tangible evidence of their knowledge and competence. By providing formal testing and certification, the NACD Directorship Certification program can provide such evidence.
Is this the only program of its kind?
 
  • This is the first and only director certification program of this scope and level in the United States.
  • The process and the exam will be informed by and written by sitting directors.
  • For decades, NACD has been the preeminent source of educational content for corporate directors—including chapter events, peer-to-peer forums, prestigious roundtables and commissions, specialty events, online learning opportunities, and annual summits—and with this certification we are taking our educational offerings for new and aspiring directors to the next level.
  • Several organizations in the Global Network of Director Institutes (GNDI), such as director institutes in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, already offer director certification; this US initiative can build on their successes.
What is the eligibility criteria?
 
  • All NACD members are eligible to become certified. Directors must first take NACD’s foundation course, Director Professionalism®, which serves as a prerequisite for the exam. Once they have completed the course, they schedule and prepare for the exam. Upon passing the exam, they will become NACD Directorship Certified.

  • In some cases, members may bypass the prerequisite course and go right to the exam. Those exceptions include:
    • Exception 1: Directors who have taken NACD Director Professionalism since 2016.
    • Exception 2: Directors who have served on a public company board for three or more consecutive years.
    • Exception 3: Directors who have served for three or more consecutive years on a private or nonprofit company board with more $250 million in revenue.
What is the cost of the program?
 
  • Complete Certification Package: $7,500. Includes prerequisite NACD Director Professionalism course, exam study guide, and all exam application and assessment fees.

  • Certification Exam: $3,000. Only for those who are eligible to bypass the prerequisite course; fee includes the exam study guide and all exam application and assessment fees.
How does the certification program impact NACD Fellowship?
 
  • The NACD Governance Fellowship program will transition into the certification program by the end of 2020.

  • Current and rising NACD Governance Fellows will be eligible to bypass the prerequisite course and be the first to take the exam and become NACD Directorship Certified.

  • The NACD Board Leadership Fellows program will continue to be an option for our most seasoned lead directors, board, and committee chairs.

  • For more information or to discuss your next steps towards certification, please contact Fellowship@NACDonline.org.