The CVA Exam

  • multiple choice questions to assess candidate’s knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge to situations and scenarios
  • two-hour timeframe allowed
  • offered during two 2-week windows each year
  • taken via computer at local test centers or via live remote proctors
  • candidates schedule their own exam at the center or location of their choice

2019 Exam Dates and Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a continual basis, however there is a deadline for each exam window.

  • Spring Exam Window: April 1-12, 2019; application deadline: March 1, 2019
  • Fall Exam Window: Sept 30 – Oct 11, 2019; application deadline: September 1, 2019

2019 Fees

  • Regular Application Fee                         $ 350 US
  • Member Discount Application Fee       $ 315 US  **
  • Exam Re-test Fee                                     $ 95 US

** This special discounted rate applies to members of ALIVE, VMPC, Points of Light/HandsOn Network, VolunteerMatch, Volunteer Canada, Habitat for Humanity International, and NAVPLG.

Payment may be made through PayPal. To pay by check, mail check to CCVA at PO Box 2153, San Francisco, CA 94126.

Application Process

  1. Download the current 2019 CVA Certification Handbook (PDF)
  2. Review the complete the Documentation of Eligibility table
  3. Obtain one letter of professional reference
  4. Prepare your resume as a PDF
  5. Save your Documentation of Eligibility table as a PDF
  6. Submit your payment through PayPal or mail a check to PO Box 2153, San Francisco, CA 94126
  7. Submit your Application through this form: 2019 CVA Application

Once your application is reviewed and approved and we’ve received your payment you’ll receive additional information regarding scheduling your exam.



Preparing for the exam

Preparation for the exam is self-study. The CVA exam is designed to assess the candidate’s ability to apply the concepts of effective practice, rather than the memorization of information learned through direct study of any particular book or reference. A variety of resources are listed here:

Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice. This textbook is published by CCVA and written by CVA practitioners and academics in both the United States and Canada. Available from CCVA. The first and second editions were organized around the CVA core competencies established prior to 2014. A third edition, based on the new 2015 body of knowledge, is now available. In the meantime, both earlier editions continue to be relevant and valuable study resources.

Ellis, Susan. From the Top Down. (1996) Available from:

e-Volunteerism – The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community Available from:

Professional Ethics in Volunteer Administration. Download at: (free)

Candidates are encouraged to use the CVA Self-Assessment Tool to help them identify topics on which to focus their study.