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Certified Members

The top 15 things to know about becoming Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA)

  1. Getting certified tells other people that you know what you’re doing.

    • The CVA is based on your ability to apply 7 competencies in your job – see how you stack up by doing a self-assessment at http://cvacert.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CVA-Self-Assessment-Tool-2016.pdf .
    • To be eligible, you must have at least 3 years of paid or unpaid professional experience managing volunteers and at least 30% of your current job must involve volunteer management.
    • CVA is an international credential – as of 2015, more than 1600 people in 10 countries have earned their CVA.
  2. CVA materials beat out most Canadian radio stations for CanCon.

  3. “Certified” is different from “certificate” – it’s about demonstrating your professional competency, and has nothing to do with classes, panicked assignments done just before they’re due, smelly lockers, or tuition.

    • Becoming certified means that your knowledge, skills, and competencies have been assessed and that you meet a professional standard.
    • Earning a certificate is about participating in learning and training experiences to achieve learning outcomes.
    • When you earn your CVA credential, you become certified.
    • You can learn more about the difference between “certified” and “certificate” on the CVA website at: http://cvacert.org/cva-certification/certificate-vs-certification/ .
    • If you are new to volunteer management and want to earn a certificate, take a look at our professional development page at http://www.vmpc.ca/About_Professional_Development.html .
  4. If you meet the professional experience requirements, getting certified is as simple as applying for and taking the exam – there is NO REQUIREMENT for extra courses, essays, or a portfolio.

  5. Registering to take the exam is easy.

  1. Being a VMPC member means that you save money on the exam. In the 2016 exam year, VMPC members saved 10% on their CVA exam fee.

  2. There is lots of help for you as you prepare for the exam.

  3. Taking the exam is straightforward.

    • There are two 2-week long test periods each year when you can take the exam.
    • Within 10 days of CCVA receiving your application and payment, you will receive instructions on booking your exam.
    • On the exam day, all you have to do is show up at your chosen testing centre at your chosen time (don’t forget to bring any identification that your testing centre needs to see – details are in the certification handbook at http://cvacert.org/cva-certification/certification-process/ ).
  4. There are testing centres all over the country; there is at least one close to most communities.

    • Approved test centers for the CVA exam are located throughout Canada (there are more than 100) and you can see all of them by going to http://www.pearsonvue.com/ccva/ and clicking on “Find a Test Center” (in blue, right side of the page).
    • Each test centre sets its own hours, and you can pick the test centre and time that is most convenient for you.
  5. The exam is accessible and asks you to apply your practical knowledge (but it’s only available in English right now).

    • There are 100 multiple choice questions that count towards your score (plus 10 that CCVA is trying out that don’t count for or against your score).
    • Questions are clearly worded – there are no trick questions!
    • Questions are practical and ask you to use the CVA competencies to solve a real world volunteer management problem (no need to spend months memorizing facts and lists).
    • You can take a look at and try some sample questions at http://cvacert.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2016-Sample-Questions.pdf .
    • In the future, VMPC hopes to work toward developing a French version of the certification process for AGRBQ, our French speaking affiliate group and other French speaking members across Canada.
  6. You get some really neat stuff in the mail after you pass the exam.

    • You get a parchment for your brag wall or professional portfolio (check out some CVAs from around the world who have posted a #CVAselfie with their parchment at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.544994092270430.1073741827.170624533040723&type=1 ).
    • You get a lapel pin for days when you want to show the world that you are certified in your profession.
    • You get press releases and letters to your employer so that you can share your good news with your community and your organization.
    • Best of all, you get to put the letters “CVA” after your name on your business cards, correspondence, resume, and LinkedIn profile.
  7. If you don’t pass the exam, you get to try again at a discounted rate.

    • Exams can be scary and not everyone does well the first time – it’s okay to try again!
    • People who don’t get a passing score the first time WILL receive their score so that they know how close they are.
  8. Your certification is good for five years and recertifying is simple.

    • Once you pass the exam, your name goes on to the registry at http://cvacert.org/resources-and-media/cva-registry/ together with your certification date and the year that your certification expires.
    • In order to renew, you need to: earn 35 Professional Development Units (PDUs) over 4 years; complete the renewal form; submit the form and payment before December 31 in the year that your certification expires.
    • There are many ways to earn PDUs including: attending workshops, serving as a volunteer, independent reading, writing, and training. Check out the renewal guidelines at http://cvacert.org/current-cvas/renewal/ for full information.
    • It is your responsibility to keep track of your PDUs and to keep evidence of what you have accomplished in case your renewal application is audited. The renewal guidelines at http://cvacert.org/current-cvas/renewal/ tell you what documentation you need to keep for each type of PDU activity.
    • There is an early bird renewal fee – you will save money by renewing in the first half of your renewal year.
  9. VMPC and provincial affiliate professional development activities will help you get and renew your certification.

    • Attending a workshop or seminar earns 1 PDU for each contact hour.
    • Teaching or consulting on volunteer management earns 2 PDUs for each contact hour.
    • Serving on a board or chairing a committee earns 5 PDUs for each year of service.
  10. Becoming a CVA means that you get to be part of an amazing peer group dedicated to becoming better at their jobs.


You can reach out to the certification lead for VMPC at certification@vmpc.ca with any questions you may have.

The Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration will also answer your questions about your application, the exam, and renewing your certification (the only question that they won’t answer is “what was my score?” if you pass). You can contact them at CCVA office at 1-804-794-8689 or info@cvacert.org .