Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility & Exam

How do I determine if I am eligible for the exam?
View the eligibility requirements. If you have further questions, please contact us, and we will be happy to help you.
Do I need to be an NACD member to be 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, learn how to get started.
I have applied for certification. Now what?
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 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.
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.
How do I begin the NACD Directorship Certified™ process if I’m registered to attend an 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 completing the course, you are then eligible to begin the online application for certification and 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 preparing for and scheduling the exam at a testing center or online. For more information on the exam, visit
Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is there an alternative to completing the program in-person?
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.
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 75 multiple-choice-format questions. Candidates will have 90 minutes to complete this part.

Part II consists of 10 case-management problems, each with three or four steps. Candidates will have 95 minutes to complete this part.

For more information on the exam, visit
How should I prepare for the exam?
Test Center
Upon confirmation of your certification application, you will gain access to the NACD Directorship Certification Study Guide®. At a minimum, NACD recommends that candidates schedule at least four weeks to prepare with this guide and other NACD materials.

If you have elected to complete your exam in the online format with OnVUE, before the scheduled exam date, you will perform a system test using the same computer and from the same location that you plan to use on the exam day. The system test will check your computer readiness, including your microphone, Internet speed, and webcam. To complete the system test, visit and access the “Test my system” tab. Please ensure that there are no firewalls present and that you possess the administrative rights on your computer needed to download the OnVUE software.
How do I access the NACD Directorship Certification® 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 can I take my exam?
Test Center
Once you are eligible to take the exam, you will receive instructions on scheduling your exam. You can select from any of the nearly 300 Pearson VUE testing locations across the country.

If you elect to take the exam online, certification candidates can complete the exam at home or in an office. Wherever you decide to complete the exam, you should be in a walled room, with a closed door, and without distractions. No one else is permitted in the room with you while you are testing.
Do I have to download anything on my computer?
You will need to download OnVUE, the online proctoring software. Follow the prompts in the application to complete the required check-in steps.
What are the hardware and Internet speed requirements for online testing?
View system requirements for online testing here.
How do I know my computer will work with the online proctored software?
Perform a system test to download the OnVUE online proctoring software to ensure that your system will work with our software. Please check our minimum system requirements, and shut down all nonessential applications before launching the software.
Does anything remain on my computer after the test?
No, applications or exam details are not stored on your computer after the exam.
Can I use a tablet or iPad to complete the online exam?
The online exam is accessible via a computer only (laptop or desktop). OnVUE is not compatible with smartphones or tablets, such as iPads.
Is my workspace acceptable to complete the exam?
During the check-in process, you will be asked to take photos of your work area, which will be checked by a proctor before the exam launch. Please ensure that your desktop is clean and that you are not within arm’s reach of books, notepads, sticky notes, papers, pens, pencils, and other writing instruments/objects. Additional monitors and computers must be unplugged and turned off. Items on the wall with writing on them, such as whiteboards, will be inspected. If your workspace does not pass a room scan, you are not permitted to take the exam.
What are the exam rules on personal belongings?
  • During the exam, you may not access the following types of personal items: mobile phones, headphones or headsets (wired or Bluetooth), handheld computers or other electronic devices, pagers, watches, wallets, purses, hats, bags, coats, books, notes, or any other materials not expressly approved. Note: Certain religious headwear is permitted during the online exam at the discretion of Pearson VUE personnel.
  • You cannot use exam-specific materials or scratch paper, erasable whiteboards, or any other physical writing object, such as a pen, marker, or pencil during the exam session.
  • All watches must be removed and placed out of sight/reach during the exam.
  • You will have the option to use the whiteboard feature in the OnVUE software while taking the exam online. Read more about this feature.
How do I check-in for my test on exam day?
  • You will be able to start checking in for your exam 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. To start, use this link to access the login page: Click the “Sign in” button to sign in to your web account.
  • The exam will appear once you log in to your account under “Open Online Exams.” Select the exam link and then select “Begin Exam.”
    Important: If the “Begin Exam” button is not visible, you are either too early or too late for your exam. Please check your appointment details to make sure you’re trying to start at the proper time.
  • You will be asked to download OnVUE, the online proctoring software. Follow the prompts in the application to complete the required check-in steps.
  • Have your acceptable identification available so that the proctor can verify your identity.
  • Shut down any nonessential applications such as email, chat, Facebook, and Skype.
  • You will be placed in a queue and connected with the next available proctor to begin your exam.
  • The check-in process takes approximately 15 minutes for candidates who have previously completed a system test.
  • Be punctual. To allow time for the check-in procedure, please be ready when the check-in window opens 30 minutes before starting the exam.
I can’t see the ‘Begin Exam’ button. What do I do?
Start your test within the exam window precisely 30 minutes before and up to 15 minutes after the specific appointment time. If you cannot see the ‘Begin Exam’ button within the exam window, please contact customer service by accessing
How do I prove who I am?
During the check-in process, you will be required to complete an ID verification process. During this process, the system will review your headshot image and compare it to the ID photo, to make sure that your ID
  • is valid,
  • contains an image matching the headshot photo,
  • has your name correctly listed, and
  • includes a signature matching the one used during the self-check-in process.
My exam has started. Where is my proctor?
Following successful self-check-in, you should be on a page that says, ‘You are ready for launch!’ Please be patient: proctors greet the majority of candidates within 10 minutes. If a proctor does not contact you after 10 minutes, please contact customer service by accessing
What do I do if I have a technical issue during my online proctored exam appointment?
If you experience a technical issue during your online proctored exam appointment and cannot resume your session after meeting with the greeter, Pearson VUE will automatically log a case on your behalf. Due to the current high demand for phone and live chat support, we ask for your patience by allowing three to five business days for our team to review the issue and contact you with appropriate next steps. You do not need to log a customer support case with Pearson VUE or your unique certification program if you met with the greeter.
What if I have a connection issue during the test?
If you lose connection during the exam, Pearson VUE will attempt to contact you via phone or OnVUE chat (if available). If unsuccessful, visit and complete the online form. Pearson VUE will assign a staff member to work with you to reschedule your exam.
I’m receiving an error message. What should I do?
Please read the system requirements for online proctoring (on very carefully before registering and complete a system check before the test day. Contact customer service via to troubleshoot any questions and reduce the likelihood of errors on test day.

If, on test day, you are receiving an error message, please contact customer service via for support. You can submit a web form (email) about your issue online 24/7.
Can I take a break during the exam?
Once the exam begins, you are not permitted a break until the optional 15-minute break between Parts 1 and 2 of the exam. Be sure that when you click to start the second half of the exam that you are ready to do so, as you cannot pause the exam if you click in error.
Am I allowed to drink water during the exam?
The exam includes a scheduled optional 15-minute break between Parts 1 and 2. During that time, you will see the scheduled break message appear during your exam, and at that time, you may leave your desk to use the restroom.

Water in a clear glass is allowed during testing; however, eating, smoking, and chewing gum are prohibited.
How will I receive my score?
Test Center
Upon completion of the exam, you will immediately receive a “Pass” or “Fail” score. Learn more about test results.

Upon completion of the online exam, your score will show on the screen. Or you may also log into your Pearson VUE account to download the Score Report. For more information on the subject matter, format, and scoring of the exam, please reach out to the NACD Credentialing Team for an emailed copy of “Understanding the NACD Directorship Certification® Exam" video.
What if I fail the exam?
Should you fail the exam, you will receive feedback organized by test-content area. This feedback can help candidates determine their weakest subject areas and inform future exam preparation. You will also receive detailed instructions on how to schedule the exam again. Candidates are required to wait 30 days before scheduling their next exam attempt, and they must pay a $250 retake fee.

If they fail again, candidates may retake the exam after an additional 30 days have elapsed from that attempt, paying a $250 retake fee. Candidates who fail a third time will no longer be eligible to take the exam.
Are there Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accommodations for the exam?
Test Center
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.

ADA accommodations are not available for the online exam.
What other important information do I need to know?
  • By taking this exam, you acknowledge that the proctor will continuously monitor you by video and audio during the exam. You must consent to audio and video recording of your face, voice, the physical room where you are seated, and the location during exam delivery. You recognize that you have no right to privacy at your current location during exam delivery and that you waive any and all claims asserting a right to privacy. If you do not wish to be recorded (either by video or audio), please notify the proctor immediately that you will not be proceeding with the exam.
  • If you do not follow the online proctored policies, are suspected of cheating or tampering with Pearson VUE’s or its subcontractor’s software, or a third party is detected in your exam location, the exam will be immediately terminated. Any violations will be reported to Pearson VUE and the testing sponsor/program, with audio and video evidence of the infraction. Your exam may be invalidated, and the testing sponsor/program may take other actions, such as decertifying you and precluding all future participation in the testing program.

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 certification exam?
Test Center
Candidates are permitted to reschedule their exam appointment, provided they submit their request within an acceptable time frame. Please be aware that certain conditions and limitations may apply. Pearson VUE, our authorized testing provider, manages the rescheduling process and will provide guidelines and instructions during the application process. For more details, click here.

You may cancel the exam up to 15 minutes before the online exam begins. To do so, log in to your Pearson VUE account and cancel the scheduled exam time. If necessary, you are eligible to reschedule the exam for a later date and time.
Will I incur the $250 rescheduling fee if there are issues during the check-in process for OnVUE?
If you begin the check-in process to access your online exam and experience problems, you will be given time to correct any issues. If you cannot fix the problem before the scheduled exam time, you will be permitted to reschedule the exam without penalty.


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 to recertify. A recertification fee will apply. For more information, visit
How much 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 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 21,000 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?
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 be NACD Directorship Certified™? 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 contribute to the boardroom dialogue effectively 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.
Is this the only program of its kind?
NACD is offering the premier directorship certification program in the United States. Director credentialing has become the norm in other countries worldwide, 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?
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. Learn more here.
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 US who can complete the entire program (prerequisite and exam) entirely online from the country you currently reside.
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 transitioned into the certification program at the end of 2020. All current 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, and we are happy to help. Please email or call 571-367-3700 to get in touch.