Program Overview

About the Program

NACD equips directors with the knowledge necessary to lead with confidence in the boardroom through proprietary research, comprehensive resources, transformative educational programming, and unparalleled networking opportunities.

In continued support of this effort, NACD Directorship Certification® ("Certification") will:

  • set the standard for continuing education in the profession;

  • allow certified directors to demonstrate that they have a baseline understanding of the requisite knowledge and skills required of a board member;

  • help bolster investor trust and public confidence in boards with certified directors; and

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

Learn More About NACD

NACD membership is required to become NACD Directorship Certified. If you are not currently an NACD member and are interested in learning more about NACD Directorship Certification and membership benefits, please submit the interest form below.

Learn More

Components of the NACD Directorship Certified® Program

The NACD Directorship Certified® program is threefold. Components include study and education, an exam to test your knowledge, and ongoing professional development in the field of corporate governance.


Preliminary Director Education

Learn More


Directorship Certification Exam

Learn More



Learn More

“To be a successful corporate director, one needs to be constantly learning from peers, thought leaders and industry experts. I’ve always seen NACD as the premier resource for that.” 

Julian Ha, NACD.DC; Director, AESC, Public Affairs Council, and US-ABC    

Areas of Competency

NACD’s certification program is designed to update and educate directors, whether or not they proceed to the exam 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