Proud member Institute for Credentialing Excellence

Volunteer Administration book

"I'm impressed with the program and am using the textbook to write our volunteer policies at work. It is adding so much more direction and depth to our volunteer management. I'm very glad I've enrolled in this program. I know our non-profit has invested wisely by sending me through this."

Current CVA candidate

CVA Certification Process

The "Certified in Volunteer Administration" (CVA) credential is offered for practitioners in volunteer resources management. Originally developed by the international Association for Volunteer Administration, the program is now sponsored by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA).

Unlike many "certificate" or certification programs being offered by colleges and universities, this professional credentialing program is performance-based. It is not intended to teach individuals how to manage volunteers effectively. Rather, it is designed to measure an individual's "knowledge-in-use"--the application of knowledge and skills by those with real-life experience in this role. This includes the assessment of a candidate's ability to structure tasks, produce ideas, and solve problems. 

The CVA Program:

CCVA adheres to standards established by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) -- the primary body in the United States for quality assurance of credentials.

Core Competencies

Individuals pursuing the CVA credential are expected to demonstrate successfully their knowledge and ability to apply skills required for competent volunteer management, based on their actual performance in the role. Five core competencies have been identified that serve as a foundation for this profession, regardless of the setting or type of organization where volunteers are at work.

As the result of a Job Analysis study conducted in 2008, the five core competencies are:

The Credentialing Process

A two-part measurement methodology has been designed to demonstrate a candidate's knowledge and application of the core competencies.  This is a self-study process, requiring no travel or special classes.

Part I: Portfolio

Philosophy Statement: 100-250 words (personal reflection on beliefs and values related to your role as a leader and manager of volunteers)

Ethics Case Study:  100-250 words (description of a work-related situation involving ethics, and how it relates to the profession's core values)

Management Narrative: 1,500-1750 words (description and analysis of a project or activities focused on the core competencies)

All three pieces are written based on the candidate's experience within the field (i.e. observations, actions, insights, lessons learned) rather than on presenting information from textbooks or classes. All must be submitted at the same time and are then subject to a peer review process.

Part II: Multiple Choice Examination

The test consists of multiple choice questions based on a Content Outline.  It is a two-hour proctored examination, offered once a year on the 4th Wednesday in May.  Candidates take the exam via the internet, using a computer of their choice in their own community.

Once registered, CVA candidates may start the process with either the portfolio or the examination. However, they are required to sit for the exam in May.  Both the portfolio and the exam must be completed by December 31.


Individuals wishing to become credentialed must meet these requirements in order to register as a candidate:

Fees:  2015  


Special Discounted Rates for members of ALIVE,

Points of Light/HandsOn Network, VolunteerMatch, Volunteer Canada, and Habitat for Humanity International:


The primary reference for the CVA exam is Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice.   A list of secondary references is also provided.

Candidates are given a self-assessment tool to help them identify topics on which to focus their study.

CCVA accepts electronic credit card payments, using the secure PayPal system.  (It is not necessary to have a personal PayPal account in order to use this option.) Candidates wishing to pay by credit card will still need to submit their registration forms in hard copy by mailing them to the CCVA office.


Registration for the 2015 cycle will open on October 1, 2014.

Download the 2015 Candidate Handbook for details and the registration form.