Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility & Exam

How do I determine if I am eligible for the exam?
View the eligibility requirements. If after reading through our eligibility section you have further questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.
Do I need to be an NACD Member to become NACD Directorship Certified™?
Yes, at this time NACD Membership is required. If you are not yet an NACD Member, contact us about joining.
How do I apply for certification?
If you are an NACD Member, you can apply online. For additional details, you can view more information on our how to get started web page.
When can I schedule the Certification exam?

NACD members who meet the Eligibility Criteria and have satisfied the exam fee are eligible to complete the exam.

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 at a Pearson VUE testing center. Testing centers typically have availability, so these members should be able to schedule on or near a specific target date once they have access to exam scheduling.

What steps must I take if I have completed a prerequisite course and am ready to start the Certification process?
Members who have completed Director Professionalism or Virtual Director Professionalism are eligible to begin the Certification application process by accessing the login page
How do I begin the Certification process if I’m currently enrolled in Virtual Director Professionalism?
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 then eligible to begin the online application for Certification and to schedule the Certification examination.
How do I begin the Certification process if I’m registered to attend an upcoming Director Professionalism course?
Members who have enrolled in but 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 completion of the course, you are then eligible to begin the online application for Certification and to schedule the Certification examination.
How do I take the certification exam?
The NACD Directorship Certification exam is administered by Pearson VUE, the global leader in computer-based testing. Once you apply for certification, you will receive instructions on how to schedule and prepare for your exam. For more information on the exam, visit
How do I schedule my exam appointment?
The NACD Directorship Certification exam is administered via Pearson VUE, the global leader in computer-based testing. Once your certification application is complete, you will receive instructions from Pearson VUE on how to set up and schedule your exam. For more information on the exam, visit
How should I prepare for the exam?
Upon confirmation of your certification application, you will receive the NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide. At a minimum, NACD recommends that candidates schedule at least four weeks to prepare with this guide in addition to other NACD materials.
How do I access the NACD Directorship Certified Handbook?
If you’ve already applied for certification, you can access the Handbook on your Certification Status page. If you haven’t yet applied, but would like access to the Handbook, please click here.
Where do I take my exam?
Once you are eligible to take the exam, you will receive instruction on scheduling your exam. You can select from any of the nearly 300 Pearson VUE testing locations across the country.
What is the format of the NACD Directorship Certification exam?
The examination consists of two parts: multiple-choice items and case-management problems. For more details, visit
How long is the exam? How many questions does it entail?

The examination consists of two parts.

Part I consists of 95 multiple-choice-format questions.
Candidates will have 110 minutes to complete this part.

Part II consists of 10 case-management problems, each with three or four steps.
Candidates will have 110 minutes to complete this part.

For more information on the exam, visit

How do I know whether I have passed or failed the exam?
Upon completion of the exam, you will immediately receive a “Pass” or “Fail” score. Learn more about test results.
What if I fail the exam?
Should you fail the exam, you will receive feedback organized by test-content area. This feedback will help to inform candidates about the subject areas on which they may wish to focus in preparation for future exams. You will also receive detailed instructions on how to schedule the exam again. Candidates are required to wait three months before scheduling their next exam attempt, and they must pay a $750 retake fee. If they fail the exam again, candidates may retake the exam after an additional six (6) months have elapsed from that attempt, and must also must wait six months before scheduling their next exam attempt and pay a $750 retake fee. Candidates who fail a third time will no longer be eligible to take the exam.
How can I request Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accommodations for the exam?
If you require testing accommodations, you will be able to complete an official NACD ADA Accommodations Request Form at the time of your application submission. Upon approval, we will provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations related to the testing process.
I have applied for Certification. Now what?

Payments & Refunds

What is the cost of NACD Directorship Certification?
View all certification costs at
How do I pay?
During the online application process, you will get to a payment/checkout screen. You can process your payment online via credit card. If you need assistance or would like to pay by check, please contact us.
What do I need to do to cancel or reschedule my foundation course or certification exam?

A cancelled foundation course registration will be assessed a $500 cancellation fee. Please submit all cancellations and transfer requests via e-mail to or via fax to 866-536-9044.

Candidates are permitted to reschedule their exam appointment, provided their request is submitted within an acceptable time frame. Please be aware that certain conditions and limitations may apply. Rescheduling will be done through our authorized testing provider, Pearson VUE. Guidelines and instructions will be provided during the application process. Additional details will be provided upon launch of certification.

For more details, click here.


How do I maintain my NACD Directorship Certification?
Recertification will be required every two years. Directors will need to earn 32 NACD certification credits within their 24-month recertification cycle in order to recertify. A recertification fee will apply. For more information, visit
How much is the recertification fee?
There is a $195 recertification fee. This will be available for online payment when you have met your recertification credit requirements, every two years.
How do I receive education credits toward recertification?
Attend NACD education programs to receive credits towards maintaining your credential. For more information about recertification, visit
What happens if I don’t complete the recertification process?
If you do not complete the recertification process, you will become decertified and must start the certification process over again.

Other Questions

What is NACD?

NACD is a membership organization and currently empowers more than 20,000 directors to lead with confidence in the boardroom. As the recognized authority on leading boardroom practices, NACD helps boards strengthen investor trust and public confidence by ensuring that today's directors are well prepared for tomorrow's challenges.

World-class boards join NACD to elevate performance, gain foresight, and instill confidence. Fostering collaboration among directors, investors, and governance stakeholders, NACD has been setting the standard for responsible board leadership for more than 40 years.

Learn more at

What is a professional certification?
It is a certification program recognizing specialized knowledge 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) 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 and exam development, test administration, etc.
What does it mean to become an NACD Certified Director and why is it important?

Becoming NACD Directorship Certified distinguishes you as a director.

The certification program is designed as a framework for continuous learning. It equips certified individuals with the baseline knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to effectively contribute to the boardroom diaologue on day one. If you are an experienced director, Certification will provide a comprehensive way to highlight your commitment to staying abreast of the latest information and insights necessary to contribute effectively in the boardroom. Learn more about the importance of certification.

What precautions is NACD taking surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

NACD has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all in-person events through April. If you need to take the prerequisite course, we offer Virtual Director Professionalism® for your convenience. Your completion of this virtual course will satisfy the prerequisite for certification.

Our testing partner, Pearson VUE, has temporarily closed their company-owned U.S. and Canada-based Pearson Professional Centers (PPCs) starting March 16, 2020 for at least 30 days until April 16, or whenever conditions are deemed safe to re-open. If you are looking to schedule an exam, the registration windows for new exam appointments will not be available until April 16.

Is this the only program of its kind?
While NACD is offering the first true directorship certification program in the United States, director credentialing has been the norm in other countries around the globe, most notably in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and, more recently, South Africa and Brazil.
Do any other institutions offer education credit toward maintaining certification?
Select NACD partner events will confer credits toward NACD recertification. We know, however, that the only way to successfully scale this certification program is to expand our offerings. We are currently working closely with other institutions to do so. Stay tuned for more information coming in 2020.
I don’t live in the United States. Can I still become certified?
At this time, the NACD Directorship Certification exam is only offered in Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the United States. While you don’t have to reside in the United States, you will have to be here to take the test.
I have passed my exam. When will I receive my certificate?
Congratulations! You will receive a hard copy of your certificate within four to six weeks. If you have any questions or need help regarding your additional benefits, please contact us.
I am already an NACD Fellow. How does certification impact my Fellowship?

The NACD Governance Fellowship program will transition into the certification program by the end of 2020. All 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 and board and committee chairs.

For more information or to discuss your Fellowship or Certification path, please contact us.

My question hasn’t been answered on this website. Who should I contact?
We are sorry you couldn’t find what you were looking for, but we are happy to help. Please email or call 571-367-3700 to get in touch.