Program Overview

About the Program

For more than 40 years, NACD has served the directorship community and strived to advance the profession of directorship. Through proprietary research, comprehensive resources, transformative educational programming, and unparalleled networking opportunities, NACD equips directors with the knowledge necessary to lead with confidence in the boardroom.

In continued support of this effort, NACD Directorship Certification will:

  • set the standard for continuing education in the profession;

  • ensure that directors have a baseline understanding of the requisite knowledge and skills required of a board member;

  • enable stakeholders to view corporate directors as trusted stewards of long-term value creation, ultimately helping to bolster investor trust and public confidence in corporations; and

  • enhance the talent pool for public boards by recognizing individuals who have committed to continuous learning

Components of the Program

NACD’s certification program is threefold


Preliminary Director Education

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Directorship Certification Exam

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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:

The Role of the Board

  • Fiduciary Duties

  • Corporate Governance Requirements

  • Board Processes and Culture

  • Shareholder Engagement

The Board’s Standing Committees

  • Audit Committee

  • Compensation Committee

  • Nominating and Governance Committee

The Board’s Duty to Select the CEO

  • CEO Succession Planning

  • CEO Evaluation

  • Executive Compensation

Traditional Areas of Board Oversight

  • Oversight of Risk

  • Strategy

  • Financial Performance

  • Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Ethics and Compliance

  • Talent

  • Crises

Emerging Areas of Board Oversight

  • Oversight of Culture

  • Cyber-Risk Oversight

  • Environmental

  • Social

  • Governance Issues