Why NACD Certification?


Becoming NACD Directorship Certified® distinguishes you as a director. The program is designed first and foremost as a framework for continuous learning. It equips certified individuals with the baseline knowledge, skills, and abilities to contribute to the boardroom dialogue on day one. For experienced directors, certification is a comprehensive way to highlight your commitment to staying current on the latest information necessary to contribute effectively in the boardroom.

"You have to be sure you and your team have the tools they need to succeed in a very competitive marketplace. The Directorship Certification provided me with the knowledge and insights to successfully navigate regulatory framework and public markets."

- Seth Goldman, NACD.DC; Chair, Beyond Meat


In the 2018-2019 proxy season, 77 percent of all newly-elected public company directors had never before served in that capacity. That means that a staggering three out of every four new public company directors took on this leadership role for the first time. In the two previous proxy seasons, that number was 54 percent.

If directorship ever was simply an ad hoc responsibility, it no longer is. Today, directorship continues relentlessly to increase in complexity making it a true profession that demands the right knowledge and skill set.

By setting industry standards that everyone can agree on, NACD Directorship Certification® will provide a strong foundation for future directors and help today’s directors grow and elevate our profession into the future.


Directorship is no longer an honorary position—it is a profession. 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. New directors who bring relevant skills must also show that they understand the board's unique role and responsibilities. Directors at every level must demonstrate their ability to oversee corporate transformation, organizational culture, cybersecurity, long-term value creation, and other issues impacting strategy and risk. This program provides the cornerstones for this knowledge, backed by comprehensive coursework and a robust study guide and exam that tests the baseline knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to serve on a board confidently.


Whether you're focused on establishing your directorship skills, furthering your directorship career, or staying relevant, becoming certified is a tangible mark of your growth and advancement.

Learn More About NACD.DC™ 

To learn more about the benefits of earning the NACD.DC designation, download the recording from our recent informational webinar.

Hear from current NACD.DC Directors as they share their personal experiences in achieving the credential and discuss the impact it’s had on their board service. 


Hundreds of directors from all over the United States were involved in developing the exam, tailoring the content towards skills and abilities they would want prospective colleagues to demonstrate.


Annual proxy statements in the United States must include a description of the qualifications of board candidates up for reelection. Being NACD Directorship Certified® is a signal to shareholders that you have committed ongoing professional development as a director, distinguishing you in a board search. 


Being a certified director will help you compete and engage with a global community of directors, where exam-based certification is already in practice.


NACD is partnering with Pearson VUE, part of Pearson, the world's largest learning company, to bring you the convenience of nearly 300 testing centers worldwide.


As the recognized authority leading over 22,000 board directors, NACD is the ideal organization to convene this certification program. The course content, study guide, and exam have been curated from over 40 years of best-in-class NACD education programming.


Excerpt from NACD Directorship Magazine

Over the last two years, NACD has worked hard to define a new standard for director education in response to the convergence of a fast-moving, dynamic business environment with changing expectations for the role of the board. This recent cover story details the advent of NACD certification, the process in which it was created, and the power behind the program.