About Certification

Mission and Purpose 

The Higher Education Consortium for Student Affairs Certification promotes and advances student affairs and services in higher education by assessing and recognizing individual educators who demonstrate competency in established domains, commit to ongoing learning and professional development, and comply with the code of ethics. The Consortium was collaboratively established by student affairs professional associations to manage Student Affairs Educator Certification.

About Student Affairs Educator Certification

Screenshot 2024-02-28 at 9.53.48 AM.pngStudent Affairs Educator Certification validates the knowledge of professionals, informs intentional professional development, offers a formal type of recognition, and supports career advancement. Click the image on the left to download an article from Consortium founding member association, NASPA, exploring Certification's purpose, benefits, components, and background.

Certification includes seven credentials–the core student affairs educator certification and six specialty area certifications. The core certification serves as an important, independent credential as well as a required prerequisite for each specialty certification. All credentials were developed by subject matter expert practitioners and graduate faculty appointed by the Certification Consortium partner associations to benefit individual educators, institutions, professional associations, and the field.


Certification is designed to benefit individual educators at the mid-level and above, higher education institutions, and the larger student affairs and services profession. There have traditionally been limited means for educators to demonstrate their competencies and knowledge growth through ongoing work experience, and to then formally exhibit this growth in pursuit of lifelong learning and professional advancement. Certification offers a robust set of credentials to demonstrate this growth.

Learn more at these links:

  • Get all the details

    • Download our Candidate Handbook here. It’s your best guide to all information about certification, including important resources, policies, and procedures. 

  • Interested in Getting Certified? 

  • Learn more about the certification exams

    • Find information including exam content outlines, exam procedures, exam preparation, and more at this link.

  • Ready to Apply? Find all the information you need at this link.

  • Maintaining your certification

    • Read about the maintenance requirements here.
    • Get information about continuing education requirements here.
    • Looking for upcoming programs that have been approved for CE credit? Find them here.
  • Want to get our updates? Subscribe to our email list here.

  • Are you an educational program provider looking for more information about offering Continuing Education credits for certificants?
    • Learn about CE policies and access provider resources here.


Informational Videos

Check out the videos below to learn more about various aspects of the new Student Affairs Educator Certification program and its development.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is certification different from a certificate?

Certification is about lifelong learning. It is different from a certificate program, which measures learning outcomes associated with a specific course of study at one point in time. Certification, on the other hand, assesses and recognizes current competencies and knowledge, acquired through work experience, professional development, and education. No coursework or curriculum is required to apply for or earn certification. Certification also involves ongoing maintenance requirements, where a certificate is issued at a fixed point in time and cannot be revoked.

Are there required courses I need to take?

No. Certification assesses and recognizes current competencies and knowledge, acquired through work experience, professional development, and education. No coursework or curriculum is required to apply for or earn certification. External associations, including our founding member associations, may offer exam preparation and review courses or resources, but these are entirely optional and not required to earn certification.

What does it cost to get certified?

You can find information about all fees associated with certification at this link. The Consortium is committed to transparency in the certification fees that are necessary to support the ongoing operations and program maintenance with adherence to accreditor standards.

How do I start my application?

All applications are submitted online through our certification management system, Prolydian. You will need to create an online account and then can access the certification application. We encourage you to review the application checklist before starting your application.

How can I prepare for the exam?

We have a special page on our website dedicated to exam info, which includes some preparation resources (we have a suggested resource list here). You can also find complete exam content outlines here (these are also included in our Candidate Handbook). Our founding partner associations and other associations have also been developing optional exam preparation resources for the core exam and specialty exams to help support candidates seeking certification. Information about these efforts can be found on their respective websites. (Exam preparation courses are not required and are entirely optional.)

I'm having trouble with my exam appointment - what should I do?

If you are experiencing any issues connecting to your proctor for an exam appointment or other issues during your exam, please contact ProctorU directly via the Live Chat feature within your ProctorU window OR call 1-855-772-8678. Consortium staff are not able to provide technical support during exam appointments.

If you are having trouble accessing your exam link from Prolydian, please reach out to support@prolydian.com 

Can I reschedule my exam appointment?

You may cancel or reschedule your exam with no additional fee up to 24 hours prior to your scheduled exam appointment. Please visit https://app.prolydian.com/testattempts to cancel or reschedule your exam within the allowable window. Any request to reschedule an exam inside 24 hours before the originally scheduled exam time will incur a retake fee. Please view the Candidate Handbook for the full cancellation policy.

What happens if I do not pass my exam?

Candidates who do not pass a Core or Specialty Certification exam are encouraged to retake their exam. The Consortium supports candidates by offering feedback on exam results after the completion of an exam, and reduced rates for exam retakes. To register for an exam retake, log in to your Prolydian account and go to the “My Exams” section. Find the exam you’re like to retake and click the Register again button.

What do "CSAEd" and the other certification acronyms mean?

Eligible individuals who successfully pass the assessment and agree to the code of ethics then earn a certification credential and may use the designated acronym.

  • CSAEd™ (Certified Student Affairs Educator)

  • CSAEd-CA™ (Certified Student Affairs Educator-Campus Activities)

  • CSAEd-HRL™ (Certified Student Affairs Educator-Campus Housing & Residential Life)

  • CSAEd-CR™ (Certified Student Affairs Educator-Campus Recreation)

  • CSAEd-CU™ (Certified Student Affairs Educator-College Unions)

  • CSAEd-FSL™ (Certified Student Affairs Educator-Fraternity & Sorority Life)

  • CSAEd-SC™ (Certified Student Affairs Educator-Student Conduct Administration)