How to Become a Board Member: the Untold Guide

I have no disagreements when I say some people are born with the talent to lead. They know when to step up and take charge of the work around them. It just comes naturally to them. Are you someone like this? 🧐

How about becoming a member of the board of directors of any organization? In my opinion, it is a position that requires you to be highly proactive and have great leadership qualities. The monetary benefits that accompany this career are also very advantageous. 

If you think you are cut out for it, read the blog I crafted so that you get a better understanding of the job. 😊 

Question and Answers

Before starting your journey to become a board member, I recommend you answer some questions that will help you be more sure about becoming one. 🧐

Any doubt you might have about it can be washed away if you think about these questions to yourself : 

  1. Do I want to bring change as a board member?
  2. Can I dedicate the time and money required to become a board member? 
  3. Will I be able to handle criticism and rejection well? 
  4. Can I socialize and connect with people well? 
  5. Will I be able to commit to this profession until I retire? 
  6. Am I ready to be strict and determined enough to bring change and defend the company?

If the answer to the majority of these questions is a yes, then congratulations! You will become a great board member. 

Let’s get to the process now, shall we? 

Who is a Board Member? 

Not a lot of people might have a proper, correct idea as to who a board member is and what they do.

I don’t know if the reader who is skimming through this article right now has enough understanding about the said job. But I will still help you understand right from the basics. 😉

A board of members or a board of directors consists of individual members who come together to form an executive committee, and their responsibility is to oversee all of the activities of the organization. These organizations can be profit-based, government companies, or even non-profit-based. 🏢

Their actions and decisions are dictated by the company’s policies as well as government regulations. None of their actions are for individual interest, and they are not affected by such issues ever. 

Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, and Elon Musk are all famous people who have made it big by becoming good members of society. 💯

Scope of Board Members

Almost everyone who becomes a part of an organization or corporation wants to be included in the board of members. This is because of the impact they have on the organization as a whole. 

According to Zippia, there are about 7,313 board members operating in the United States alone right now. This is a huge number, considering every company has about ten or so members on board. 

Another statistic from the same source tells us that while 54.9% of the total number are men, the remaining 45.1% include women board members. 👭

One other source, LinkedIn, tells us that 40% of the most effective boards are developing contacts with senior management, making it easier for a company to function. 

Skill Set required to become a Board Member. 

There are some skills that are an absolute must to learn if you want to become a good board member. I have compiled them below : 

  1. Learn how to work in groups as a leader. Leadership skills are a must to master. 
  2. Also, try to work on your communication skills. 
  3. Financial planning is also an important skill. 
  4. Conflict resolution is how you handle conflict and deal with it. This is crucial as well.
  5. You should learn how to raise funds and mobilize resources as well. 

If you want to learn fundraising, you can do so by using this platform and choosing the best one for yourself. 

How much can a Board Member earn?

This job is a great one as it promises you monetary benefit. The salary structures listed below are up to date and tell you the latest salary trends for a board member in the US as of June 2023.

The average earnings for a member of the board in the US is $75,311. The salary range starts from $58,057 and stops somewhere around $93,014. 

Of course, it is a given that more experience and credits warrant more pay. If you have been in the business for long enough, you can expect your pay to increase as much as $109,132. 🤑

How to Become a Board Member? 

This section will help you with the steps you need to take so that you will be able to qualify as a board member and the process involved. 🔁

Your Educational Qualifications

Education, as expected, is going to be the first stepping stone for your career. A bachelor’s degree is what will help you get the foundation and basics of certain required skills down.

A bachelor’s in Finance, Business, Accounting, Software Development, or Marketing is recommended. 

These are courses that are related to the fields of software, marketing, and finance, which are beneficial sectors for your future company. A master’s degree is also encouraged. 

Other than this, you can go for courses and certifications that can help add to your CV/Resume. The more skilled you are, the better. 🧑‍🎓

Researching companies and getting hired

Now comes the job-hunting process. The first thing you need to do in this step is to make a list of your interests and what you want in your future company. You have to make this list early on because you might get a lot of offers that can confuse you. 

It’s really to lose sight of original ambitions. So, we will make a list and pinpoint companies and offers that go with our preferences. 

I would have offered a list, but the preference depends on you. So, make sure you keep in mind to choose the ones that you like and not just any random ones.🔍

The Board process

The Board process is how board members meet up and decide about the processes to be undertaken for the sake of the company. This is done by the shareholders of the company. 

This process involves the election of new members, discussion about pending decisions, discussion of the objectives for the future of the company, creation and dissemination of certain rules and regulations, and other important activities.

Simply put, after getting hired, you have to build up your reputation and other soft skills so that you get elected as a board member. Getting hired is not the end of the process. 

Maybe this article can help you understand the process better. 🤪

How to Become a Board Member? (More Tips)

Becoming a board member doesn’t entirely depend upon your educational qualifications. You need to develop other skills so that you shine differently from the rest of the people around you. ⭐

Build your network 

  • Networking is a skill people always overlook. While it is true that, in the end, your hard skills are what are always going to see you through, soft skills are equally important. 
  • When you create a network, you become able to provide as well as receive useful information that is going to add to your understanding of your company and other peoples’ too. 
  • You should create as many networks as you can and exchange goodwill so that you can maintain a bond in between. 🤝
  • Networks inside your own company will make you aware of the situation in the company itself. This can help in the execution of regulations. 
  • Networks with people outside will provide an outlook as to what other companies look like. 
  • While the offline process is in your hands, you can do so online via platforms like LinkedIn

Start with small investments.

  • If you want to climb up the ladder quickly, you have to invest your time and efforts readily from the very beginning of your corporate career. 
  • These investments need not be so big that you overwork yourself or make a mistake somewhere. 
  • Start slowly by understanding the workings of the company first, then proceed to understand other factors such as the shareholders, etc. 
  • Small steps also look like beginning your career with smaller companies. These can be non-profit, too. You need not bag some big hotshot company. 
  • What matters is that you get the hang of the job and get more experience and credit. 📈

Find your special skill.

  • Now, in a sea full of corporate employees and aspirants, how do you make sure that you make it and not them? 
  • Simply put, you have to be different from everyone else around you. This might seem like a very difficult task, but you can achieve it quite easily. 
  • All you need to do is find your special skill. This special skill does not need to be something new or very unique. It can be something everyone does. 
  • You need to make sure that you are better at that skill than the rest. For example – it can be networking. 
  • This is something that every aspirant might do. But if you do it better, you are the one who first comes to mind whenever the opportunity to utilize the skill arises.
  • Maybe this guide can help you identify the right skill you have. ✨

Don’t risk it. 

  • The journey to becoming a member of the board is not easy, nor is it short. You might get uneasy and impatient. But this doesn’t mean you lose focus on your goals and preferences. 
  • Throughout this journey, you are sure to get a lot of opportunities to join the board. 
  • Before diving head first into such offers, take a step back and access all such offers you get. Make sure that they align with your interests, and only then, go for them. 🥅

Responsibilities of a Board Member

A good job, which is beneficial both legally and financially, always comes with its fair share of responsibilities.

Given below are some things you need to keep in mind after successfully becoming a member of the board. ⤵️

Take care of the shareholders.

  •  Shareholders are those who have invested hundreds and thousands of their money into the company. Many shareholders have just one or two, but many others can have up to 100 shares in your company. 
  • These people have invested in your company because of similar interests and aspirations. Hence, it falls upon the board to take care of the interests of the shareholders. 
  • You have to maintain your networks with the shareholders and understand their needs. 
  • It is also your responsibility to speak up about anything related to the gain of the shareholders and defend their interests if the need arises. 🙌

Keep an eye on all senior position holders. 

  • As someone who is going to be monitoring even the CEO of the company, you need to keep an eye out and see if the senior members, such as the CEO, etc., are people worthy of their position. 
  • It might sound harsh, but these posts, especially those of a CEO, are at the very top and quite important. Hence, you might also need to keep a backup plan ready in case you ever have to replace these people. 🔙

Be committed 

  • You have to be a responsible member of the board. 
  • People who have elected for you have put their utmost trust in you and hope for you to be a very good member. So, it is a given that you have to be committed to your work and not slack off. 😴

Monitoring all financial resources 

  • Taking care of the company’s financial resources also comes under the list of your duties. 
  • You would have to make the budget for the company to follow so that they have a clear-cut idea about the expenditure. 
  • You also need to have proper control over the funds that go in and out of the company and ensure that no money is getting swindled somewhere else. 
  • You can perform regular internal audits so that you find information regarding such financial affairs. 
  • This course will be very helpful to understand how financial modeling works. 

Watch out for legal issues. 

  • Lastly, you have to keep an eye out for legal rules and regulations. 
  • Be aware of such information and confirm that your company and its actions are in legal compliance. 📃

Top Board Member Courses in the United States

While educational qualifications are always necessary, you might just need to be a step above the other people in this business, and for that, you need to delve into extra courses and programs that specifically focus on the building of a skill set. 🧑‍💼

Women on boards: Succeeding as a corporate director

  • This course is offered by Harvard’s Law School and has an enrollment fee of $12,500. It is located in Cambridge and can go on for about five days. 
  • It is specially designed for women who are active in the field of business and hold seniormost positions such as being a director or a CEO of a big profit or non-profit company, or even a senior executive in any of these as well. 
  • It aims to introduce the specific issues they might face as women and also teaches about the general stuff, such as board structures, etc., to the applicants. 

NACD Directorship Certification

  • This course is available to members of NACD. The program has an enrollment fee of $7,500 for members of the NACD, and if you are a full board member or current NACD fellow, the fee for you comes down to $3,750. 
  • It is completely self-paced and requires you to attempt the Director Professionalism course and pass it. 
  • It is very helpful as just his one certificate speaks volumes about your dedication to becoming a director and, eventually, a member of the board. 

Governance Executive Programs

  • These are a set of programs that are offered by Northwestern Kellogg located in Evanston or Miami, and each program has a duration of 3 to 4 days. 
  • The price range for the programs starts from $6,750 and can go up to $11,500. 
  • So, you have a variety of choices to choose from. You can go for any course that you deem best for yourself. 
  • The topics you can choose for this job can be about board structures, their responsibilities, and other duties. 

Stanford Directors’ College conference

  • This is a three-day program that happens in Stanford, California. 
  • It is offered by the Stanford Law School and is an annual program which is attended by CEOs, executives, directors, regulators, and jurists. 
  • These are people who are experts in their fields and provide insight into topics such as management, law regulation, shareholder challenges, and more. 
  • The fee for enrollment in this program is $8,950.

Boards that lead: Corporate governance that builds value 

  • This is a two-day course that is provided by Wharton Executive Education and takes place in Philadelphia. 
  • It is a course that has been made with the objective that it will help senior executives in the company, such as the CEO, etc., understand and gain the knowledge required to become a good member of the board. 
  • The sessions in this course include topics like how to design effective boards, the general principles of board leadership, and more. 
  • The fee for enrollment in this program is $5,500.

Top Board Member Schools in the World

Since we are done with extracurricular courses, we should now take a look at proper programs and the colleges that are offering them. 🏫

University of Pennsylvania

  • Located in Philadelphia, USA, the University of Pennsylvania offers you a finance or a business program readily. 
  • The median salary you can expect six years after graduating from here is $91,200 Per Year. 
  • The acceptance rate of this university is 8.41%. If you want to enroll in this program, you need a Sat score of 1492 and an ACT score of 34. The tuition fee here is $55,584. 

Northwestern University

  • Northwestern University offers you an economics, law, or business program at its premises located in Evanston. 
  • The median salary you can expect six years after graduating from here is $71,900 Per Year. 
  • The acceptance rate of this university is 8.47%. If you want to enroll in this program, you need a Sat score of 1502 and an ACT score of 34. 
  • The tuition fee here is $54,568.

University of Texas at Austin

  • The University of Texas at Austin offers you an economics, accounting, or business program at its premises. 
  • The median salary you can expect six years after graduating from here is $52,200 Per Year. 
  • The acceptance rate of this university is 38.52%. If you want to enroll in this program, you need a Sat score of 1367 and an ACT score of 30. 
  • The tuition fee here is $52,200.

SUNY at Binghamton

  • The State University of New York offers you an economics or accounting program at its premises in Binghamton. 
  • The median salary you can expect six years after graduating from here is $47,700 Per Year. 
  • The acceptance rate of this university is 39.81%. If you want to enroll in this program, you need a Sat score of 1376 and an ACT score of 30. 
  • The tuition fee here is $9,808.

University of Southern California

  • The University of Southern California offers you a business, social work, or communication program at its premises in Los Angeles. 
  • The median salary you can expect six years after graduating from here is $61,400 Per Year. 
  • The acceptance rate of this university is 12.96%. If you want to enroll in this program, you need a Sat score of 1445 and an ACT score of 32. 
  • The tuition fee here is $56,225.
  • Looking at these fee structures makes it obvious that the quality of the offered courses is going to be top-notch. 
  • Looking at it carefully, we can see that SUNY and the University of Texas are good options if one considers low tuition fees as an option. 
  • Still, you should sit down, think about it, and choose the best one for you properly, as it will pave the path for your career. 💻

Where to find Board Member opportunities online?

It is important to keep track of whatever sources you might have that will help you secure your career. 💼


  • BoardSource was founded in 1988 and is an American non-profit organization. It was previously known as the National Center for Non-profit Boards. 
  • The primary purpose behind the creation of this source was to promote and inculcate excellence in board, staff leadership, and governance. 
  • This source is available to access online. It provides a membership program, publications, and even consulting sessions so that you can talk and solve queries related to this job. 


  • BoardStrong was previously known as BoardNetUSA. It is another source on the internet that is completely non-profit and is based in New York, USA. 
  • They have the same motive as BoardSource, that is, bringing together individuals who want to step up and get involved in the fields of board and staff governance. 
  • It offers webinars as well as a public library, which one can access online. 
  • More services include services for corporations, board consulting, and board matching. Hence, it is one of the three safe spaces we are going to talk about that will offer you guidance in this field. 


  • This source is also known as ImpactOnline. It was founded 25 years ago in 1998 and is, again, a non-profit organization based in the US. 
  • This organization focuses more on providing help to companies, corporations, and other volunteering programs by providing them with services. 
  • They primarily support corporate social responsibility (CSR) endeavors. This means that a member of this organization will most probably be told to provide their services to such companies. This is a very great way of building networks and getting more experience.  


In conclusion, we realize that this job requires a very well-thought-of and elaborate skill set along with the normal educational requirements. You also have to be immensely focused and committed to what you’re doing because it is not a one-day journey. 

I am sure you will become a very good board member, and I am here to help along the way. If you have any additional queries regarding this profession, feel free to ask them in the comments section below. I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

It will take time and commitment. And if you have both, you will surely be able to climb to the top of the corporate ladder and succeed. 🎉

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