How to Become a CAWA

In order to achieve CAWA Certification, all applicants must meet the eligibility requirements demonstrated through an online application process and pass the CAWA Exam. The CAWA Exam is taken online via a proctored online exam process.

For complete program details, please download our current Applicant Guide.

Please review this Definition of A Minimally Qualified CAWA Candidate as defined by the CAWA Exam Committee. This document explains what knowledge a CAWA should have and be able to do or explain on the job.

Making the Case for CAWA Support

Sometimes it’s not just up to you to decide if you have the time and resources to put towards CAWA exam prep. Sometimes you need to get your supervisor on board first. 

Please read this short blog, Making the Case for CAWA. It contains tips for speaking with your org about becoming a CAWA, plus a sample letter to your supervisor which you may customize for your individual needs. We hope this helps you move forward with your personal and professional growth.

How to Apply for CAWA (New Application as of 6-2021)

Complete the application. 

You will include relevant paid, supervisory employment experience (within the past 10 years) and attach one reference for each paid supervisory employment position — we require the reference to be from a supervisor or board member. (If the supervisor is no longer accessible, use their supervisor or an HR Manager as the reference.) 

Provide each reference with this reference document. Your reference should return a PDF-version of the document to you which you will upload when you submit your application.

You may save your application without submitting it for up to 30 days, but file uploads do not save and will need to be resubmitted. 

Once your full application has been submitted, it will be reviewed. If your eligibility is verified, you will be approved for testing by The Association certification staff — you will receive an email verifying your eligibility with instructions on how to proceed – the next step is to purchase the CAWA Exam Prep Package. 

CAWA Exam Preparation Resources

Once your application is approved, you will purchase the CAWA Exam Prep Package which includes:

  • 100-question practice exam
  • Flashcards of terms from the Exam Specifications/References List
  • Invitation to a private Facebook group for others preparing for the exam
  • Proctored online exam scheduling tool and resources, including up to two exam attempts within the one-year window

How to Prepare for the CAWA Exam

​CAWA Fees

2023 CAWA Application Fees:

  • Professional Member rate:  $395  
  • Learning Member rate:  $790

Includes access to the CAWA Exam Prep Package and access to the CAWA Exam scheduler for one year.

Fee does not include a $34 per-exam attempt fee payable to the proctored exam vendor.

To take advantage of the Member rate, applicants must be a full Member of The Association in good standing when the application is submitted; the difference between the Member and nonmember rate will not be refunded if a membership is subsequently purchased by an applicant who was a nonmember at the time of application. For more information regarding membership in The Association, please visit The Association's Become a Member page.

If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt you may retake the CAWA certification exam one additional time within the one-year window of your application, with a thirty-day waiting period between exams. You must pay the current exam fees each time. If an applicant wishes to retest outside of their original one-year eligibility period, they must reapply, pay new application fees, and must meet the eligibility requirements in effect at that time, unless otherwise specified by The Association staff.

The CAWA Certification Exam Fee is not refundable under any circumstances. Once you schedule an exam time, you may change the appointment but not within 24 hours of the appointment.

​Special Accommodations

Reasonable special accommodations for administration of the CAWA exam will be made for eligible candidates with documented disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.)  Only those accommodations that do not, in The Association’s sole discretion, compromise the validity of the exam results will be approved.  If circumstances indicate that administration of the CAWA certification exam would jeopardize the security of exam materials or the integrity of exam results, The Association may cancel the administration of the exam. 

If special accommodation is requested, supporting documentation from a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed healthcare professional who possess expertise in the disability for which the modifications or accommodations are sought, must accompany the application.  For accommodation requests based on mental or cognitive impairment, supporting tests must have been conducted within five years prior to the date of the accommodations request.  Review the Applicant Guide for more information on special accommodations.