The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action, is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. We are a professional development organization and our mission is to assist our members to be more successful and productive in their careers. We are also an advocacy organization and work to promote understanding and support for affirmative action, equity and diversity programs to enhance equal opportunity in employment, government contracting and education.

AAAED’s Professional Development and Training Institute (PDTI) has been a primary sponsor of quality training in equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action law and policy since 1991. PDTI faculty consist of experienced educators who understand both the theory and the applications of EEO, affirmative action and diversity policy. PDTI offers the Certified Affirmative Action Professional (CAAP) and Senior Certified Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Professional credentials (Sr. CAAEP). PDTI also offers courses and certificate programs in areas ranging from “Diversity Management” and “Title IX Investigations” to “Latest OFCCP Compliance Developments.”  PDTI courses are eligible for continuing education credits awarded by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

AAAED offers virtual, classroom and on-site training at the facility of your choice. We will work with you to design the coursework that fulfills your needs, ranging from conducting effective internal investigations to developing a compliant workplace. AAAED also offers a series of webinars for the busy professional who does not have time or the resources to travel for classroom training. We are proud of the excellence of our webinar faculty and urge you to sign up for timely and topical programs.

PDTI Virtual


PDTI’s educational programs are designed to enhance legal knowledge and technical and administrative skills in equal employment opportunity (EEO), affirmative action, and diversity and to ensure that EEO/AA/diversity professionals and practitioners remain current in issues affecting their profession.

The PDTI classroom experience takes place approximately four times per year in locations geographically dispersed throughout the United States. Participants who successfully complete three core courses – EEO/AA Law; Complaint Processing, Counseling and Resolution; and Developing and Implementing an Affirmative Action Program for Women and Minorities – earn the Certified Affirmative Action Professional (CAAP) credential. Since 2012, PDTI has begun to offer the Senior Certified Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Professional (Sr. CAAEP) credential and instituted a recertification requirement for CAAP and Senior CAAEP professionals.

PDTI VIRTUAL is a program to deliver EEO and Diversity training in an online format. This program was developed in 2020, primarily for the benefit of practitioners who for various reasons, including travel time, cost, or the COVID -19 pandemic, are unable to travel for several days to receive a certificate or credential in their chosen field. AAAED PDTI will therefore offer both classroom (where possible) and virtual training in 2021 and beyond. After the online program is successfully completed, the participant will receive the requisite credential/certificate online.

For registration and for more information, click here:

In 2008, the Association added AAAED Webinars, web-based seminars to provide expert information on current legal, policy and regulatory matters. The one- to two-hour webinars are offered every month and are available to AAAED members and non-members alike.  Webinars have addressed such issues as Disability Issues in Higher Education; Workplace Safety; Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment and Title IX; EEO Record-Keeping; and Recruiting and Retaining Faculty of Color. AAAED Webinars are an excellent, cost-effective and time-saving addition to the tools that professionals may use to hone skills in the field of EEO, affirmative action and diversity.  For more information and to register for AAAED Webinars, click here:

AAAED On-Site Training, in which a training program is specially designed to fit the needs of the individual client, is an excellent option for institutions or companies that have specific needs or a group of employees who need targeted training. AAAED’s expert faculty works with the client to develop the curriculum and deliver the training at the client’s designated location or online.  For more information about on-site training, email: or telephone: 202-349-9855.


Basic Certified Affirmative Action Professional credential
The CAAP and Senior CAAEP credentials may be added as a suffix after one’s name and demonstrate one’s commitment to excellence in the affirmative action and EEO profession.

Required CAAP Courses:
Equal Employment Opportunity Law
Complaint Processing, Counseling and Resolution
Developing and Implementing an Affirmative Action Program

Basic CAAP Curriculum:

The Basic CAAP Program is open to all applicants. This program has an emphasis on the fundamental responsibilities of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action Professionals. The Basic CAAP Program provides 48 hours of instruction in three substantive areas: Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Law; Developing and Implementing an Affirmative Action Program; and Complaint Processing, Counseling and Resolution.

Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Law (16 hours): The introductory or basic Certified Affirmative Action Professional (CAAP) training curriculum has been developed for professionals seeking to learn the fundamental components of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action laws and policies, including the civil rights acts, Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Vietnam Era Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other relevant laws. As many EEO professionals working for colleges and universities also have responsibility for compliance with equal education opportunity laws, the Basic CAAP curriculum also introduces participants to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and relevant regulations and policies including sexual harassment and assault. The foundation of all these laws is the United States Constitution. Thus, the 16-hour program begins with an introduction to constitutional law.

Developing and Implementing an Affirmative Action Program (16 hours): The Basic CAAP program provides sixteen hours of instruction in the laws and regulations related to the development and implementation of affirmative action programs. The primary laws that form the basis for instruction are Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. All three laws require affirmative action as a means to achieve equal employment opportunity. Individuals who work at the federal, state and local levels often have comparable affirmative action or affirmative employment responsibilities and therefore the principal tenets of these laws are often translatable to those jurisdictions as well.

Participants learn about the Affirmative Action Program (Plan) Overview, Job Group Analysis preparation, Workforce Analysis preparation, Review of US Census Bureau website and Census tools, Determination of External and Internal Availability, Comparing Incumbency to Availability and Placement Goals, Identification of Problem Areas, Prior Year Goal Achievement, Action Oriented Programs, Internal Audit and Reporting Systems; Affirmative Action Programs for Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities including Utilization Goals for Individuals with Disabilities, Hiring Benchmarks for Veterans, Data Metrics, Assessment of External and Internal Outreach and Recruitment Efforts; Compliance Evaluations and general enforcement procedures Case studies will be used to study and illustrate the effects of non-compliance and what could have been done to change the outcome.

Complaint Processing, Counseling and Resolution (16 hours): The third major component of the Basic CAAP program is Complaint Processing, Counseling and Resolution. In most instances, equal opportunity professionals have responsibility for investigating internal complaints of discrimination or if complaints are forwarded to outside agencies, representing their institutions before such agencies as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), or comparable state and local entities. The Complaint Processing 16-hour course provides an overview of Federal, state and local statutory claims; theories and proofs of discrimination; court structures and the federal legal and administrative legal system; internal complaints and grievance procedures; the informal resolution process; the formal resolution process, including external agency processes; the investigative process; conciliation and settlement agreements; remedies for discrimination and professional ethics. Case studies are used to study the application of these procedures.

For more information about the Basic CAAP program and to register, click here:

The AAAED Program for Sr. Affirmative Action and EEO Practitioners (Sr. CAAEP)

While the Basic CAAP program introduces participants to the fundamentals of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action practice, the AAAED Program for Sr. Affirmative Action and EEO Professionals is offered to seasoned professionals who have ten or more years of experience not only in developing and implementing affirmative action programs but being engaged in the broader scope of equal opportunity and related compliance activities. Such individuals are seeking a credential that attests to their advanced level of expertise and accomplishment and the credential that AAAED confers at this level is re-titled the Senior Certified Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Professional or Sr. CAAEP.

This is an intensive, sixteen-hour program that reviews and expands upon the knowledge gained over ten or more years. The emphasis of this program is to update one’s knowledge, focus on what has been learned and what skills are necessary to advance to the next level. To obtain this credential, candidates must 1) submit information attesting to their experience as senior AA/EEO practitioners (curriculum vitae or resume and a questionnaire) to a Senior CAAEP Review Committee for approval; 2) once approved, successfully complete the training program and 3) obtain an 80% or higher pass rate on an examination that assesses what they have learned from the training.

Qualifications for Admission:

Knowledge of Equal Opportunity Laws: Senior Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity professionals must be able to demonstrate a broad and thorough knowledge of equal employment opportunity laws including, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Equal Pay Act; Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Executive Order 11246; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; and other relevant laws and regulations including the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP). They should also have knowledge of relevant court precedents, administrative decisions and agency rules.

For admission to the AAAED Program for Sr. Affirmative Action and EEO Practitioners, applicants must demonstrate that they not only have an understanding of the basics of equal opportunity laws, the contents of affirmative action programs and the fundamentals of complaint processing and investigations but have senior level experience in applying their knowledge to complex situations. They should also demonstrate knowledge of developments in equal employment opportunity law. Most importantly, candidates should have skill in fact finding, analysis, and applying the body of EEO and contract compliance principles and regulations in a manner that is sufficient to assess their organization/institution’s compliance status and to support the organization/institution if audited by a government agency. They should also demonstrate knowledge of the agencies’ administrative processes and potential sanctions in the event of noncompliance.

Internal Investigations and Audits. Candidates for the senior credential should know how to conduct or lead internal reviews and investigations of their organization/institutions’ compliance with applicable equal employment opportunity regulations, prepare written reports of findings, analyze and synthesize data into findings of fact, understand their personnel systems and work with their IT and compensation counterparts to analyze compensation data to determine if there are disparities or indicators of pay discrimination. Senior EEO/AA professionals should also demonstrate knowledge of conciliation practices in environments where issues are strongly contested and that may involve senior officials, union officials, and their attorneys, and they should be able to use applicable precedents to negotiate remedies for discriminatory practices and other noncompliance, where necessary, with government agencies. They should also have knowledge of recruitment and selection processes at their organizations/institutions or companies, labor relations, pay and classification, employee relations, personnel records systems, and other personnel practices. Most importantly, Senior EEO/AA professionals should know how to apply the principles of affirmative action to prevent discrimination with the express purpose of promoting equal employment opportunity.

Candidates for the Senior CAAEP should demonstrate some experience in Identifying systemic discrimination where it exists based on facts developed through internal reviews and investigations. They should also be able to present evidence of systemic discrimination, compensation disparities or other indicators of noncompliance to senior officials and evidence relied upon should meet applicable standards of proof. Such experience should also include Identifying and defining persons and classes affected by possible discrimination, calculating the extent of the organization’s/institution’s potential liability and proposing remedial actions where necessary.

Managing Affirmative Action Programs. Candidates for the Sr. CAAEP credential should have experience managing and interpreting affirmative action and related plans where the plans are outsourced or prepared by subordinate staff, and have knowledge of requirements and methods for developing, implementing, and evaluating the progress of affirmative action programs. Where affirmative action goals are indicated, candidates should be able to fashion such goals, monitor their organizations’/institutions’ good faith efforts and be able to defend their efforts if questioned by government agencies. Disability awareness, promoting self-identification for affirmative action purposes as well as reasonable accommodations where indicated are also skills that senior EEO/AA professionals should have.

Complaint Processing, Counseling and Resolution. Candidates should demonstrate experience in factfinding and analysis to determine the meaning, relevancy, veracity, and importance of a large body of complex and interrelated facts; weigh evidence, make conclusions, and recommend decisions. They should also demonstrate skill in negotiating settlements in complaint cases and skill in writing to clearly present complex and interrelated concepts and information. Lastly, they should have skill in dealing effectively with witnesses, complainants, respondents, and their representatives and have a basic knowledge of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods including mediation and arbitration.

Diversity and Inclusion; Implicit Bias. As the concepts of diversity management and inclusion have become an integral part of an organization’s/ institution’s human resources, recruitment and retention policies and programs, Senior Affirmative Action and EEO Professionals should have a knowledge of such principles and programs and a demonstrable understanding of the intersection between Diversity and Inclusion and Affirmative Action law and policy. Implicit bias (or unconscious bias) refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Implicit bias is also emerging as a behavior to expose and eradicate, and Senior EEO/AA professionals should be conversant with the growing body of research and practice in this area.

Making the Business Case. Senior AA/EEO Professionals should demonstrate their knowledge of methods used to attain support by building the business case for diversity as well as EEO and Affirmative Action. Such a skill is essential to achieving success in advancing a program that supports diversity, affirmative action and equal opportunity in recruitment, retention, hiring, promoting and cracking the glass ceiling.

Other “Intangibles.” Individuals who have progressed to the senior level as EEO and Affirmative Action Professionals understand that in order to be successful, they must know how to form alliances with other offices within their organizations/institutions, including the Chief Diversity Officer and the office of Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources, Legal Department, Information Technology, Compensation and Payroll, and in academic institutions, the Dean of Students, Office of Public Affairs and Campus Security office. They also need to develop skills in making themselves heard up to and including the C-Suite or the President’s Office. Candidates for the Sr. CAAEP should be able to explain how they have acquired these skills.

For more information about the Sr. CAAEP program and to apply, click here:

In 2012, AAAED instituted a recertification program for professionals who earn the CAAP and Senior CAAP credentials. For the CAAP (Now SR. CAAEP) credential, the recertification requirement takes effect beginning October 1, 2012. Thus, professionals who already have earned the CAAP credential or who earned the CAAP credential at the PDTI training sites in March 2012 (Tampa) and July 2012 (Chicago) will not be subject to the recertification requirement to maintain their CAAP credential. Any professional who earns the CAAP or Senior CAAEP credential after October 1, 2012 will be required to recertify every three years in order to maintain a valid CAAP credential.

A recertification program is designed to ensure that EEO/AA/diversity professionals keep up to date on issues affecting their profession. AAAED requires certified CAAP and Senior CAAEP professionals to recertify their credential every three years through continuing education activities, professional association involvement, or both. Professionals are required to accumulate 36 hours of activities in one or more of the following areas: continuing education, instruction, leadership, and professional membership.

AAAED has adopted a self-report model for its recertification program. Professionals must keep track of their activities and report those activities to AAAED, along with payment of a recertification fee, to maintain the CAAP or Senior CAAEP credential. The recertification fee is $150.00.  For additional details, contact the AAAED National Office.


 Activity Category  Available Credit  Notes
 Continuing Education  All 36 hours may be achieved through continuing education  Available through AAAED programs. May gain CE credits through non-AAAED programs
 Instruction 15-hour maximum   
 Leadership 10-hour maximum  
 Professional Membership 8-hour maximum  
 PDTI Coursework  All 36 hours may be achieved through PDTI classroom training  Available through AAAED PDTI 8-hour and 12-hour classroom programs.

Continuing Education Credits
Professionals may gain recertification credits for educational activities related to equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, or diversity. Credit is awarded on an hour-for-hour basis (excluding meals and breaks) for conferences, PDTI classroom training, seminars, workshops, symposiums, and on-line training (videoconferences, webinars, and podcasts). For courses at an accredited college or university, a one-semester credit course (15 weeks) equals 15 recertification credit hours, one quarter credit course (12 weeks) equals 12 recertification credit hours, and one audited college course equals 10 recertification hours. No credit will be awarded for general sessions at conferences or for attendance at meetings of professional associations. 

Instruction. Professionals may earn recertification credits for serving as an instructor of a course, workshop, seminar or conference session (excluding presentations within your own organization). Professionals may receive credit only for the first presentation. Instructors earn 1.5 credit hours for every hour of the presentation to take into account preparation time. For example, a two-hour presentation is awarded 3 credit hours toward recertification.

Leadership. Credit may be earned for leadership activities in an EEO/AA/diversity-related association or for community volunteer work in which a professional uses his/her EEO/AA/diversity expertise. Examples include officer positions on boards, committee chair assignments, committee membership, Capitol Hill visits, testimonies before Congress or state legislatures, meetings with regulatory agency officials, and preparation of comments on regulatory proposals.

Leadership activities are subject to the following limitations on available credit:


 Activity Categories    Available Credit    Recertification Maximum  (3 Years)
 Officer Position   5 per year of service   10
 Committee Chair   3 per year of service   6
 Committee Member   2 per year of service   6
 Capitol Hill Visit; Agency Visit  1  3
 Testifying before legislative body   1  3
 Drafting comments on regulatory proposals   1  3

Professional Membership. A professional may earn recertification credit for being a member of a national organization that promotes equal employment opportunity, access, and diversity; an EEO/AA/diversity- related organization, or a regional/area affiliate of a national organization. A professional who is an AAAED member may earn 2 hours per year toward recertification. Professional membership in a non-AAAED organization earns 1 hour per year toward recertification, provided the professional is an AAAED member. There is an 8-credit hour maximum permitted in this category.


AAAED PDTI also offers certificate programs in Title IX Investigations, Federal EEO and Diversity Management, among others. These courses range from 8 hours to 16 hours in length.

PDTI courses count towards the Sr. CAAEP and continuing education requirements. Attendees will receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of each course.

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