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How to Become Certified


With over 1,110 Certified Economic Developers (CEcD) worldwide, IEDC's certification program is the industry gold standard for excellence in the profession.

The CEcD exam intends to unite the field by establishing a baseline of core knowledge for economic development professionals. By offering this highly sought after and comprehensive designation, IEDC strives to promote the status and credibility, as well as enhance the knowledge and performance of economic developers.

Interested in earning the CEcD designation? Here is what you need to know:


Requirements to Sit for the CEcD Exam

IEDC has developed a process to prepare professionals to take the CEcD examination which combines experience, professional development activities, and preparation.


1. Experience as an economic development practitioner

Candidates are required to have at least four (4) years of consecutive, paid, full-time economic development related experience. Positions should be directly related to economic development activity. Candidates must provide a recent, detailed resume to verify this criterion.

In the event that a candidate's years of experience is sufficient, but is interrupted before submission of the application, the four consecutive years must come within six years of the application.


2. Professional development activity

IEDC emphasizes professional development for the Certified Economic Developer. In order to qualify for the exam and ensure that the candidate is exposed to the various aspects of economic development, individuals are required to attend practitioner-based training courses. These training courses are available through:

IEDC Training Courses
University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute (EDI)
Accredited Basic Economic Development Courses (BEDC)

Candidates are required to take a minimum of six courses or graduate from EDI.

Course requirements:

Core Competency courses (required):

• Introduction to Economic Development or Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC)1
• Business Retention and Expansion
• Economic Development Credit Analysis2
• Real Estate Development & Reuse3

Elective Competency Courses (must take a minimum of 2):

• Economic Development Finance
• Economic Development Marketing & Attraction
• Economic Development Strategic Planning
• Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies
• Neighborhood Development Strategies
• Management Economic Development Organizations
• Technology-led Economic Development
• Workforce Development
• Foreign Direct Investment & Exporting


1 Individuals with five (5) or more years of full time, paid economic development experience may waive Introduction to Economic Development. Waiving this course requires the candidate to pick up one additional elective for a total of three (3) or the equivalent number of hours at EDI.

2 Practitioners who have attended the National Development Council's (NDC) ED101 or have obtained the Economic Development Financial Professional (EDFP) designation may waive the Economic Development Credit Analysis requirement.

3 Individuals who have obtained the CCIM designation or demonstrated mastery through the Society of Industrial & Office Realtors (SIOR) in the field of Real Estate Development may waive the Real Estate Development and Reuse requirement.

Additional Waiver:

Individuals with a graduate degree in economic development must take a total of four (4) courses and may waive:

Introduction to Economic Development
One elective


3. CEcD Exam Essentials Workshop

Candidates applying to sit for an exam must participate in a CEcD Exam Essentials Workshop, either in-person or via webinar. This workshop provides candidates with a complete overview of the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam process, from application to the oral examination. They will learn tools and techniques for preparing for the exam and witness a mock oral interview.

This workshop is offered at the Annual and Spring Conference, free of charge. It will also be offered at least once a year in webinar format.

Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page.


Application Forms

Completed exam applications with payment must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the exam date for which you would like sit. Candidates will be notified of their approval or non-approval status one month before their exam date.

Please be sure to read the entire booklet before submitting the application.

Application Forms:

» Download 2021 CEcD application form (PDF)
» Download 2021 CEcD exam retake application (PDF)