Since its founding, the CEPI's self study curriculum has served as the industry's educational standard. The curriculum focuses on the core disciplines of equity compensation: Accounting; Equity Plan Design, Analysis and Administration, Corporate and Securities Law, and Taxation. Candidates can elect to complete just the first level of the program - resulting in the ECA designation, or to continue on for the remaining two levels, at which point they will have earned the CEP designation. The CEP designation is granted to individuals who have passed all three exams, and have demonstrated mastery of equity compensation related issues in all of the core disciplines.
The Certified Equity Professional Institute became part of the Santa Clara University's Silicon Valley Executive Center in 1989. Santa Clara University alumni professionally involved in the equity compensation field proposed an education program for equity compensation. They saw that there was a need to create the professional body of knowledge for the equity compensation field. Since the institute's founding, thousands of individuals have benefited from the self-study certification program. Over 2000 people have achieved the Certified Equity Professional designation and that number continues to grow annually. The CEP designation is now a widely recognized professional achievement for those involved in equity
The CEP Institute started offering the CEP Annual Symposium in 2004 at Santa Clara University. The Symposium was designed to fulfill the need for educational and networking events within the equity compensation industry. It was also built to foster a closeness within the CEP community. The Symposium has grown from 84 attendees to over 400 over the past 14 years. The event was so well received that equity professionals on the East Coast requested a similar event closer to home. In 2016, The CEP Institute launched the East Coast Equity Compensation Symposium.
The Certified Equity Professional Institute is an integral part of Santa Clara University's Silicon Valley Executive Center (SVEC). The SVEC is a component of SCU's Leavey School of Business, with a direct reporting relationship to the Dean. It is this University affiliation that allows the multitude of professionals, many of whom work for competing organizations, to work together for the good of the equity compensation administration industry. The not-for-profit University status is a unique and appropriate venue for drawing on professionals who generously donate their time, knowledge and expertise. The University affiliation is also integral of the rigorous educational process that ensures mastery of an important body of knowledge.