Allergy/Asthma Information Association

What is a Certified Asthma Educator (CAE)?

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Respiratory disease affects 1 in 5 Canadians. Canada has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, with an estimated three million Canadians living with asthma. Most Canadians with asthma do not have their asthma under control. Several Canadian studies have shown that proper patient education results in fewer symptoms, fewer trips to the emergency room and even a reduced number of asthma deaths.

For education to result in behaviour change, it must be provided by highly trained educators.


In 1999, CNAC established a national certification program for Canadian asthma educators – creating the Certified Asthma Educator (CAE). In 2007, the Certified Respiratory Educator (CRE) exam was developed for educators of both asthma and COPD.

Who Can Become a CAE or CRE?

Nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, dieticians, and medical doctors – are among the many healthcare professionals who have chose to become certified as asthma and/or respiratory educators.

Certified asthma and respiratory educators teach Canadians about their asthma and COPD, including preventative measures, how to avoid triggers, the proper use of medications, diet and lifestyle counselling, and the use of written action plans that allow rapid adjustment of medications when symptoms worsen.

How Do Educators Become Certified?

Educators are certified after successfully writing the national CAE or CRE exam. These exams are based on CNC National Learning Objectives as well as the most up-to-date Canadian asthma and/or COPD consensus guidelines.

The Canadian Network for Asthma Care (CNAC) is a non-profit charity. Its members are organizations and other associations with an interest in respiratory health. CNAC’s mission is to promote respiratory health care and education in Canada. Its vision is to reduce illness and death.

In order to write the CAE exam, educators must first graduate from a CNAC-approved asthma educator program. To write the CRE exam they must graduate from both a CNAC-approved asthma educator and COPD educator program or combined respiratory educator program. Applicants must also have a degree or diploma in healthcare or education.

For more information on the certification program, contact

Cheryl Connors, Executive Director
Canadian Network for Asthma Care
16851 Mount Wolfe Road
Caledon, ON L7E 3P6
Phone: 905-880-1092
Fax: 905-880-9733
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“Certified Asthma and Respiratory Educators (CAEs and CREs) perform a critical role in improving the lives of Canadians living with respiratory illness. Our highly professional, knowledgeable and skilled CAEs and CREs support the disease management approach: education, evaluation and reinforcement. Education takes time!”
— Harold Kim, President, Canadian Network for Asthma Care

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