Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a professional certification?
A certification program recognizes the specialized knowledge required for a given profession—in this case, the profession of directorship. Further, a certification program defines the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that enable individuals to do a specific job, and the NACD Certification program defines the KSAs necessary to become an NACD certified director. These KSAs guide curriculum, exam development, and test administration.
What does it mean to become an NACD Directorship Certified®? Why is it important?
NACD Directorship Certification® is more than a credential. It is a commitment to excellence in the boardroom and a declaration to your peers and stakeholders that you are prepared to meet the biggest challenges facing boards today.

Experienced directors must demonstrate that they are keeping on top of the emerging issues and trends impacting financial performance, disrupting business models, and changing the competitive landscape. Certification is a comprehensive way for these directors to highlight their commitment to staying current on the latest information necessary to contribute effectively in the boardroom.

Recent and upcoming directors who bring relevant skills must also show that they understand the board's unique role and responsibilities. Certification provides the baseline knowledge, skills, and abilities to contribute to the boardroom dialogue on day one.

Learn more about the importance of Certification.
Are there other programs like this?
NACD Directorship Certification is the premier directorship certification program in the United States. Director credentialing has become the norm in other countries, most notably in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and, more recently, South Africa and Brazil.
Is the exam available online?
Yes—NACD Directorship Certification can be completed entirely online. From the prerequisite course to the Certification exam, you can achieve Certification from the comfort and safety of your home.

Virtual Director Professionalism® serves as the prerequisite course for NACD Directorship Certification. Completion of the course achieves the eligibility required to proceed directly to the NACD Directorship Certification online exam, offered through the OnVUE platform. For more about the virtual prerequisite course, watch this Virtual Director Professionalism video and read the virtual learning FAQs.
If I am an NACD Fellow, can I apply for Certification?
NACD encourages members with the Fellowship credential to enter the Certification program. Those with an active Fellowship status have already met the eligibility requirements and can register for and take the exam.

For more information, or to discuss how Certification can support your board work, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Board Advisor with any questions or send an email to BoardAdvisor@nacdonline.org.
Can I still become certified if I live in a country outside of the United States?
Yes—NACD Directorship Certification is available to members based outside of the United States who can complete the entire program (prerequisite and exam) entirely online from the country where they currently reside.

Eligibility

Am I eligible to sign up for the Certification program?
To see if you are eligible, view the eligibility requirements. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Board Advisor or email BoardAdvisor@nacdonline.org with any questions. We are happy to help you.
Do I need to be an NACD member to become NACD Directorship Certified®?
Yes, NACD membership is required. If you are not yet an NACD member, contact us about joining.
How do I start the application process?
If you are an NACD member, you can apply online. Find out how to get started.
What if I have already completed the prerequisite course? How do I begin the application process?
Members who have completed Director Professionalism® or Virtual Director Professionalism are eligible to begin the certification application process by accessing the login page.
I’m currently enrolled in Virtual Director Professionalism. How do I begin the Certification process?
Members who are enrolled but have not yet completed Virtual Director Professionalism are not eligible to begin the online Certification application until after successful completion of the entire course. Once complete, you are eligible to start the online application for Certification and to schedule the Certification examination.
Can I apply for certification before completing my upcoming Director Professionalism course?
Members who have enrolled in but have not yet attended an already-scheduled Director Professionalism course are not eligible to complete the online application for Certification until the course has concluded. After successfully completing the course, you are then eligible to begin the online application for Certification and to schedule the Certification examination.

Fees & Payments

How much does the NACD Directorship Certification® cost?
The costs for NACD Directorship Certification can be found at certification.nacdonline.org/fees.
How do I pay?
During the online application process, you will be given an option for payment during checkout. You can process your payment online via credit card. If you need assistance or would like to pay using a different method, please contact us.

Exam Overview

Where do I take the test?
The NACD Directorship Certification® exam is administered by Pearson VUE, a global leader in computer-based testing. Once you apply for Certification, you will receive instructions on preparing for and scheduling the exam at a testing center or online. For more information on the exam, visit certification.nacdonline.org/exam.
When can I schedule the exam?
NACD members who meet the eligibility criteria and have satisfied the exam fee are eligible to complete the exam within the six (6) month eligibility window.

Members who are required to complete the Director Professionalism® course must finish the course in its entirety before they are granted access to schedule the exam with Pearson VUE. Testing dates typically have limited availability, so we recommend scheduling the exam date and time well in advance once provided access to exam scheduling.
How is the exam structured?
The examination consists of two parts: multiple-choice items and case-study problems. For more details, visit certification.nacdonline.org/exam.
How long is the exam and how many questions does it have?
The examination consists of two parts:
Part I consists of 75 multiple-choice-format questions. You will have 90 minutes to complete this part.
Part II consists of 10 case-study problems, each with three or four steps. You will have 95 minutes to complete this part.
For more information on the exam, visit certification.nacdonline.org/exam.
When do I receive the NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide?
Upon confirmation of your Certification application, you will gain access to the NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide. Certified directors tell us that they spent, on average, 25 to 50 hours preparing for the exam with the study guide. NACD recommends that you plan for at least four weeks of preparation time before scheduling your exam.

Recertification

Will I need to renew the NACD Directorship Certification®?
Recertification is required every two years. Directors need to earn 32 recertification credits within their 24-month recertification cycle in order to recertify. A recertification fee will apply. For more information, visit certification.nacdonline.org/requirements.
What is the recertification fee?
There is a $195 recertification fee every two years. You will be able to pay the fee online once you have met your recertification credit requirements.
How do I earn credits toward recertification?
To receive credits toward maintaining your Certification, attend NACD education programs

  • through the annual Summit, peer to peer roundtables, annual events, chapter programs, and on-demand learning opportunities, and
  • through the NACD Education Network™ by participating in leading director programs provided by world-class universities across the country and around the world.

For more information about recertification, visit certification.nacdonline.org/requirements.
Are programs from other institutions recognized for recertification credits?
NACD has partnered with several leading academic institutions to form the NACD Education Network. This Network enables NACD Directorship Certified™ individuals to earn recertification credits toward their certification through participation in leading director programs provided by world-class universities across the country and around the world.
I have read the FAQs and still have questions. Who should I contact?
We are sorry you couldn’t find what you were looking for, but we are happy to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Board Advisor or email BoardAdvisor@nacdonline.org with any additional questions you have.