"Near Miss Hurricane Party" in Hollywood, FL in August 2011

Certified Grant Writer® Credential

The Certified Grant Writer® credential is the industry standard for professionals in the field of grant writing.  The credential documents that the professional has demonstrated proficiency in grant researching, proposal writing, budgeting, and professional ethics.  The credential is valid for a period of 5 years and may be renewed by earning 30 CGW Renewal Credits every 5 years.

American Grant Writers' Association, Inc. was awarded a Trademark Registration for "Certified Grant Writer" on March 15, 2011 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Certified Grant Writer® Review Course

This one-day course is always offered the day prior to the Certified Grant Writer® Examination.  The review covers study tips as well as content for all 5 sections of the exam.  Course materials is distributed in the meeting room before the course begins.  The course begins at 8:30 AM and concludes at 5:30 PM with a one hour break for lunch on your own.  Morning and afternoon breaks are provided.  

Students should bring the following to the Review Course:

  • Sweater or jacket because meeting rooms often feel chilly
  • A handheld calculator 
  • Pencils with erasers

Certified Grant Writer® Examination

The Certified Grant Writer® Exam is always administered by American Grant Writers' Association, Inc. and proctored by person who has earned the Certified Grant Writer® Credential, as well as trained to proctor a professional examination.  Questions are either objective (such as multiple choice or true/false), short answer, budget problems, or writing samples.

The exam is comprises of 5 sections that are administered in 3 sessions as follows:
  • Session 1:   
    • Section 1:  Program Development and Proposal Writing 
    • Section 2:  Researching Grant Opportunities
    • Section 3:  Professional Standards and Code of Ethics 
  • Session 2: 
    • Section 4:  Preparing Budgets
  • Session 3:
    • Section 5:  Writing Samples

Passing the Exam

Each section of the Certified Grant Writer® Exam is scored by 3 graders and the composite score is the final score.  Effective April 1, 2011 a minimum score of 80% is required to pass the following exam sections: Program Development and Proposal Writing, Researching Grant Opportunities, Preparing Budgets, and Writing Samples.  Effective April 1, 2011 a score of 90% is passing on the Professional Standards and Code ofEthics Section.   On average, 80% of the students taking the Certified Grant Writer® Exam the first time receive a passing score in all 5 sections. 

Students receive their scores and Certified Grant Writer® Credential 4 weeks after the exam.

Members who do not pass all 5 sections during the first sitting, may reschedule a second sitting anytime during the following 12 months, free of charge.  A one year grace period is available for a total of 24 months to schedule the free second sitting.  Members must only RETEST in the Sections that he/she did not receive a passing score.  Members are also entitled to attend the Review Course a second time free of charge.  A private second sitting is available for $299 plus travel expenses for the proctor.

To sit for the exam a third time, a student must wait a period of 12 months after the 2nd testing and register for the Certified Grant Writer
®Review Course and Examination for $499 as well as be a member of the association at the time of registration and the date of the exam.  Members need only RETEST in the Sections that he/she did not receive a passing score during the first or second sitting.


  • Valid membership in American Grant Writers' Association is required on the date of registration, and date of examination.
  • Minimum age is 21 years old on the date of the examination.
  • A State Issue Photo ID, such as a driver's license, or Passport must be shown to the proctor, as proof of identity and mimimum age.
  • Students are required to provide a laptop computer (with USB port and Word software) for the Writing Sample Section and a handheld calculator with no text capability for the Budget Section.
  • Students must know how to save a Word file to a USB drive and print it on the printer provided in the examination room for the Writing Sample Section.


  • Attendance at the Certified Grant Writer Review Course is recommended, but not required.
  • Although members who are experienced grant writers may register for just the Certified Grant Writer Review Course and the Examination, we strongly recommend taking the Program Development and Proposal Writing Course, either online or in person, prior to sitting for the exam.
  • When students take AGWA's 2 courses, "Intro to Grant Writing" and "Program Development and Proposal Writing" prior to sitting for the Certified Grant Writer Exam, the passing rate on the first sitting is about 80%.  When students do not take both courses, but have 5-10 years of experience sit for the exam, the passing rate on the first sitting is about 50%.  
  • Students do not need to show proof of prior grant writing experience to register for the exam.
  • A Bachelor's Degree is recommended, but not required.
  • Students should be familiar with APA Style prior to attending the Review Course.  We recommend the booklet Concise Rules of APA Style available at www.apa.org
Students, or prospective students, with questions about registration, requirements, technical support, or the examination may contact AGWA's Customer Service by phone or e-mail.

CEU Certificate:
As an IACET Approved Provider, AGWA offers CEUs.  Students must purchase the CEU Certificate for .7 CEUs prior to the beginning of the Review Course.  Full attendance is required and all course assignments must be completed to earn the CEUs.

Review and Exam Dates and Locations

Review and Exam Dates and Locations

Registration closes 2 weeks prior to the Review / Exam Date.  Some locations sell out, so be sure to make your reservation as early as possible. Remember you must be a member on the date of registration and date of the exam.

  •      May 9-10, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Northbrook in Chicago, IL  
    • The last day to register is Friday, Apr 25, 2014
  • ​     Aug 22-23, 2014 at the Astor Crowne Plaza French Quarter in New Orleans, LA
    • The last day to register is Friday, Aug 8, 2014
  • ​     Oct 24-25, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD
    • ​The last day to register is Friday, Oct 10, 2014
Persons with Disabilities
Persons with disabilities may request accommodations.  Requests must be in writing (mail or e-mail) and need to be received two weeks prior.

Rescheduling, Cancellation, Refunds
Prior to making your purchase, we recommend you read our web pages
  • Refund and Rescheduling Policies
  • Debit/Credit Card Purchases
  • Professional Ethics and Standards

Renewing the Certified Grant Writer Credential

Renewing the Certified Grant Writer Credential

Link to current CGW Renewal Guidelines

If the document fails to load, please click the REFRESH button on your brower several times.
Certified Grant Writer Member Benefits

Certified Grant Writer Member Benefits

Once the Certified Grant Writer® Credential is earned, AGWA members are entitled to additional opportunities such as:

  • Use of AGWA's Certified Grant Writer® logo on their website, business cards and promotional materials
  • Eligible to purchase Lands End merchandise with the Certified Grant Writer® logo at AGWA's Lands End online store
  • Participate in AGWA's Mentor Protege Program as a Mentor
  • Sign up to receive Client Referrals from AGWA
  • Sign up for AGWA's Speakers Bureau
  • Author articles for AGWA's Member Newsletter
  • Serve as Chairperson of a Field of Interest Group
  • Serve as a State Networking Chairperson
  • Serve as an Officer of an AGWA State Chapter
Copyright © 2009-2013.  All rights reserved.  American Grant Writers Association, Inc. Seminole, FL