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
  • candidates schedule their own exam at the center of their choice

2016-17 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 3-14, 2017; application deadline: March 15, 2017
  • Fall Exam Window: October 2-13, 2017; application deadline: September 15, 2017

2017 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.

CCVA accepts electronic credit card payments, using the secure PayPal system.  Candidates wishing to pay by credit card will still need to submit their registration forms by hard copy mail or by email to the CCVA office. Payment by check and purchase orders are also accepted.

Application Process

Please Note: As of September 16, 2017, the application window for the October 2017 testing timeframe is closed. We will not evaluate any new applications at this time.

  1. Download the current 2017 CVA Certification Handbook (PDF)
  2. Complete the application form (fillable PDF)
  3. Obtain one letter of professional reference.
  4. Scan and email the form, the reference letter, and a resume to or mail hard copy to CCVA, P.O. Box 2153, San Francisco, CA, 94126 USA
  5. Mail check to CCVA, or pay with credit card via PayPal below.

Pay online



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.