The RCE Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

The REALTOR® association Certified Executive has become known as the distinguishing mark that sets an association executive apart from his or her peers. REALTOR® associations look for it in AE applicants and our colleagues support one another in the pursuit of it. Since 1991, there have been 702 RCE designees certified and there are currently 432 active designees covering 50 states and territories.

Formation of a professional designation program for REALTOR® association executives was approved by the NAR Board of Directors in 1987, and the first RCE exam was offered in 1991. In 1997, the Sourcebook for Association Management (now known as The Answer Book) was created and became the primary reference for the RCE exam. Since then, The Answer Book, applicant data form, and RCE exam have taken on many different forms. Through its many transformations, the designation’s purpose has held true.

Why Does the RCE Matter? Travis Kessler, RCE, CAE, CEO of the Texas Association of REALTORS® and original RCE certification board member, says, “I am proud to know that we have over 700 association executives and staff specialists in the REALTOR® association who have earned this prestigious designation. Achieving the RCE designation shows our REALTOR® leadership and membership that we care about the success and well-being of the REALTOR® organization.”

The REALTOR® AE community and associations are stronger because of the RCE designation. This designation has unified the AE community and provided a platform for ideas and exchanging resources. This sense of community is absent within other industries, and we are fortunate to have a consensus of purpose and pool of passionate and knowledgeable colleagues to learn from. With each RCE study group and material update, REALTOR® AEs directly benefit as professionals, and it helps make their associations stronger.

Andrea Bushnell, RCE, CEO of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, shares her experience with the RCE: “The truth is that I really didn’t think after many years in the industry and with a law degree that I needed the RCE designation. And then I found out exactly how important the education and knowledge has been to my ability to be the best I can be. I learned about aspects of the industry that I hadn’t previously focused on, which has helped me better understand issues and problems that others have to deal with. It has allowed me to be more empathetic and helpful to other AEs. What a gift.”

As Core Standards continue to elevate our associations to the next level, the RCE designation stands out as an achievement every AE should strive for. Who wouldn’t want to benefit from 25 years of collected best practices? If you have been looking to add this designation to your list of goals, you’re highly encouraged to do so. You and your association will benefit greatly. You can find out more about the designation by visiting

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