Accredited Airport Executive Program


Becoming an Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) is a great way to command respect in the airport industry. Since 1954, AAAE has been committed to the advancement of aviation professionals by granting the A.A.E. designation to those who have demonstrated their ability to handle the responsibilities of airport management.  The program is open to Affiliate members of AAAE and IAAE. The Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) is a useful credential when seeking employment within the airport management profession. 

Candidates in the A.A.E. program will obtain the designation by completing a three step process - (1) a 180-question, multiple-choice examination; (2) a management research paper, case study, proctored essay examination, or proof of an advanced degree; and (3) a final interview with a panel of A.A.E.s.  You can complete the program in any order, but the final interview must be the final step.  There are no time limits for program completion; however, after five full years in the program, you must pay an administrative fee of $100 annually until the program has been completed.   Should you cancel your enrollment or fail to pay the $100 administrative fee, and wish to resume your program studies at a later date, you will need to pay a $250 re-enrollment fee.  
AAE Program Application
(Adobe PDF File)

*You must be an Affiliate member of AAAE or IAAE to enroll in the Accreditation Program.
Click here to join, if you are not an active Affiliate member.

Determine your eligibility for the program.
A prospective accreditation candidate must:

  • be at least 21 years old;
  • have current affiliate membership in AAAE or IAAE; Click Here to Join, if you are not an Affiliate member
  • have worked full time for a public-use airport for at least one consecutive year *
  • have either a four-year college degree or eight years of civil airport management** experience

*Prior military experience may exempt you from the one-year of public-use airport experience.
**Accreditation candidates may substitute civil airport management experience on a two-years-for-one basis, with a total of eight years of experience substituting for a four-year college degree.

Candidates upgrading from the Certified Member Program:
Candidates enrolled in the Certified Member program who wish to upgrade to the accreditation program may do so at any time, provided that the above pre-requisites are met. The fee to upgrade to the accreditation program is $50; successful completion of the C.M. program and / or multiple-choice exam is not necessary provided that you’ve met the pre-requisites listed above. Candidates who are C.M.’s and have completed the multiple-choice exam will advance to the writing phase of the accreditation program.

2. Submit your application.
Once you have determined whether or not you meet the program pre-requisites, please submit your application on-line or by mail/fax along with the program fee (and affiliate membership dues, if needed). Fees are as follows:

  • Affiliate Membership - $275/yearly (new members only)
  • Accreditation Program Fee - $250 (one-time fee)
  • Accreditation Program Upgrade Fee - $50 (one-time fee)

The one-time program fee includes access to electronic study materials, a one-time access to the paper or Internet based exam and all other examination and evaluation fees. Hard copies of the study materials may be purchased here.

3.  Begin Studying ASAP!
Candidates are encouraged to download and print (or purchase hard copies) of the following accreditation study materials:

  • The Body of Knowledge modules strictly pertains to the multiple-choice exam, although they are a very good reference point for the writing and final interview phases of the program. Some individual knowledge and experience, as well as other sources of reference will be needed to successfully complete the writing and final interview phases.
  • The AAAE Accreditation Study Guide is a detailed guide of what to expect, and to assist you in completing each phase of the program.
  • Hard copies of the study materials may be purchased here.

4.  Arrange to take the multiple-choice exam.
Candidates attending the Loretta Scott, A.A.E., Accreditation/Certification Academy will be given the opportunity to take the exam at the conclusion of the review course.  For all other candidates, you will need to select a certified proctor.  It is the candidates' responsibility to contact an eligible proctor and ask him or her to comply with the procedure outlined in the FAQ list. Please refer to the FAQ’s for detailed information.

The multiple-choice exam is identical to the one designed for the Certified Member program. If you are already a Certified Member, you do not need to re-take it upon enrollment in the accreditation program.

5. Fulfill the Writing Requirement.

Select one of the four options to complete the writing requirement:

  • Management Research Paper - Write a management research paper of 20-30 pages on a topic that is broadly applicable to airport management to propose a set of guidelines for managing a problem or set forth an argument for implementing a project or using a methodology.
  • Case Study - Prepare a case study of 20-30 pages to recount/analyze the steps or measures taken by a specific airport or airport system in implementing a project or managing a problem.
  • Proctored Essay - Respond to two industry-related questions within a four-hour time limit via our on-line proctored essay system. You will be required to find a certified proctor according to the guidelines found here. Kindly be advised that proctors are only necessary to provide technical support and security of the exam. It is up to the candidate to prepare the two responses for review.
  • Master's Transcript or Above - Submit an official transcript of record from an accredited university or college to AAAE's accreditation department to verify that you have earned an advanced degree.

For more information on completing the writing requirement, and/or to get started on completing the writing phase, please click here.

6. Complete the Final Interview.
All A.A.E. program candidates, under the guidance of their regional examiner, are required to be interviewed by a panel of at least three active accredited airport executives to determine the candidate's overall knowledge of airport management. Depending on your experience, and the schedules of you and your regional examiner, this process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to complete. All candidates will be evaluated by their regional examiner to determine their readiness to complete the final interview phase. The format for the Final Interview is similar to that of a high-level job interview.  Be prepared to frame your answers as if you are the Executive Director at a commercial service airport. Candidates must have accrued at least three years of full-time public airport management experience before sitting for this interview. For more information on completing the final interview phase, click here.

7. Life after the program
As an Accredited Airport Executive, you will have earned the respect of your professional peers and the privilege of using the A.A.E. designation after your name. You will receive several awards, notifications and privileges especially for earning the A.A.E. designation.

For more information on what to expect after you’ve completed the program, please click here.

You will also need to maintain your title by accumulating CEU credits, which demonstrate that your knowledge is keeping pace with changes in the industry. For more information on accumulating and reporting CEU’s, please click here .

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