six months to CAM - certified aviation manager certificate - sheryl barden


That is, I completed NBAA’s Six Months to CAM program, passed the exam, and I’m now an officially Certified Aviation Manager (CAM).

For those unfamiliar, many equate a CAM credential in Business Aviation to an MBA in the business world. It’s an accredited credentialing program that provides aviation professionals with a broad range of knowledge about the industry—from HR to operations to leadership. It also demonstrates that a person is committed to professionalism in the industry in general.

The typical CAM candidate is a current aviation professional aspiring to take on a leadership role in business aviation. It’s also for current business aviation leaders who desire to document their broad range of knowledge and skills.

Why the CAM Is Right for Me…

When the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) launched the CAM program in 2003, I was a huge proponent of it. And I was in awe of CAM awardees who, at the time, were almost exclusively Aviation Directors with such a vast amount of knowledge. They were brave to put their own knowledge to the test. For years, I’ve been encouraging aspiring leaders to get certified.

Soon, others—like schedulers and maintenance professionals—began to earn the distinction. But I doubted that I, myself, could.  After all, I have never been a part of an aviation department.

Then, earlier this year, Mike Nichols of NBAA and I were talking. He is a CAM, and, like me, has never has been part of an aviation department. He told me that NBAA was setting up a program to help candidates pace themselves through a study program and eventually take the exam. A perfect solution for procrastinators like me!

So why does an HR Consultant/Recruiter become a Certified Aviation Manager? For the same reason I encourage aviation department members to do it. Because I now know that I possess a broad body of knowledge about business aviation, not just knowledge in my specialized niche. And I must say, in the process, I learned a lot. I developed an even greater understanding of all of the jobs that API regularly recruits for.

About “Six Months to CAM”

Earning a CAM certification demands a serious commitment to enhancing one’s knowledge base and preparing for the exam. And the pathway there isn’t easy. NBAA’s program “Six Months to CAM” helps aviation professionals balance their work and personal responsibilities. And it gives them a guided, step-by-step process to prepare for the exam.

The Six Months to CAM program does not guarantee success on the CAM exam. Nor does it take the place of the hard work expected of potential CAMs. What it does offer is a streamlined study process designed to help working professionals maximize their efficiency.

The program components include:

  • Detailed six-month study outline to help keep you on track with your exam preparation.
  • CAM self-assessment tool to help you quickly identify your strengths and weaknesses within the program’s five knowledge domains.
  • Domain-specific content to jumpstart your studying.
  • Digital study group with peers on the same exam schedule.
  • Scheduled calls with industry subject matter experts who can help bolster your knowledge of the CAM domains.
  • Webinars covering study best practices, how to break down test questions and much more.
  • Discounts on NBAA’s educational offerings (conferences, seminars, PDPs, on-demand education) during a six-month period.

Benefits of a CAM Credential

In case you’re interested in testing for the CAM, following are several professional benefits.

  • Opens Career Doors – In a competitive job market, your CAM credential shows potential employers that you are dedicated to being the best business aviation professional you can be.
  • Ever-Growing Network of Like-minded Peers – You’ll join a community of over 500 CAMs, a group of passionate business aviation professionals who help strengthen each other.
  • Enhanced Knowledge of Industry Best Practices – Business aviation moves fast. Preparing for the CAM certification exam (and re-certification) will help you keep up with the latest best practices and broaden your knowledge base.
  • Creates a Foundation for Lifelong Learning – Earning your CAM certification is just the beginning of a long professional development journey. Plus, you’ll keep honing the skills and professional attributes necessary for today’s modern aviation manager.
  • Pressure Makes Diamonds – Challenging yourself is the best way to unlock your true potential. It demonstrates to others that you have what it takes to be the best.

Still unsure if the CAM is right for you? Check out our blog about weighing the benefits of a CAM credential.


Click here to learn more and to sign up for updates about the Summer/Fall 2021 program.

And remember, if I can do it, you can too!




  • Congratulations, Sheryl! Very well deserved! Our industry has long valued professional development and earning this credential is a great way to recognize people in all roles within business aviation who strive to be at their best.

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