Switch to Full View

What Employers Should Know About the Certified Economic Developer Program

The Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) program recognizes an economic development practitioner’s personal and professional commitment to the economic development profession. The CecD is the leading industry designation and represents demonstrated competency in economic development with a high-level of knowledge and practical experience in the field.

For an employer, this credential provides a standard by which to measure job-seekers' experience and readiness. The CEcD designation symbolizes a practitioner’s ability to find solutions to problems and move communities towards their short and long term goals.


Who are Certified Economic Developers?

Certified Economic Developers are part of a network of more than 1,200 professionals who have demonstrated a high-degree of knowledge and applicable practical experience in the field of economic development. The program recognizes achievements in the core competencies for the economic development profession. By meeting the program’s recertification requirements, Certified Economic Developers remain at the cutting edge of the field.


The Value of Certified Economic Developers to Employers

You want to show your stakeholders and community that you are committed to professional excellence.The Certified Economic Developer program is designed to elevate the standards of the profession as a whole and enhance individual and organizational performance. Therefore, having one or more Certified Economic Developers on your team demonstrates your organization’s competency and enhances your credibility.

As an employer, your investment in certification can have long-lasting benefits to your organization, including:

• Boost your staff’s level of confidence and professionalism.
• Improve your staff’s education and knowledge.
• Enhance the image and credibility of your organization
• Ensure that your organization is rich with staff who can translate development opportunities into results.


Employ Experience: Hire a Certified Economic Developer

When you hire a Certified Economic Developer, you get knowledge, experience and confidence. You also get an employee who is well-connected and well-informed of innovative strategies and industry trends. Seeking a Certified Economic Developer in your recruitment efforts can help you:

• Gain access to a network of top employees
• Attract candidates who are invested in the profession
• Reduce the risk and expense of a hiring mistake
• Select your next employee from among the best candidates – add “Certified Economic Developer preferred” to your next job posting.

Reach more than 25,000 professionals by advertising your job opening through IEDC’s Job Center. Our job postings are updated weekly and are available to job seekers through Economic Development Now- our member newsletter - IEDC News, which goes to our member and non-member subscriber list, and our web site.


Help Your Staff Become Certified

Help your employees help you! Make an investment in your staff and their future in the profession by encouraging them to seek professional development through certification.

It takes approximately 18-24 months to complete the course work and prepare for the exam, so the costs may be spread over two or more fiscal years. IEDC’s education program is the place to start, as candidates need to complete six courses as one of the prerequisites for the exam.


About the Certified Economic Developer Exam


All candidates for the Certified Economic Developer exam must first meet both an experience requirement and an education requirement. We offer a number of equivalencies and special waivers.

Experience Requirement – completion of four years of consecutive, paid, full-time economic development or related experience.

Education course Requirement – completion of four core courses and two elective courses:

Core Courses

• Introduction to Economic Development (or an accredited Basic Economic Development Course)
• Real Estate Development and Reuse
• Business Retention & Expansion
• Economic Development Credit Analysis

Elective Courses

• Economic Development Finance Programs
• Economic Development Marketing & Attraction
• Economic Development Planning
• Entrepreneurial & Small Business Development Strategies
• Managing Economic Development Organizations
• Neighborhood Development Strategies
• Technology-Led Economic Development
• Workforce Development

The Test

The three-part exam takes place over two days, with a cut occurring at the midpoint. Day one consists of two sections: an essay portion and a multiple choice and short answer portion. Candidates may pass the exam in parts, but must pass both parts of Day 1 before moving to Day 2.

Day One

1.5 hour Multiple Choice and Short Answer Exam
2.5 hour Essay Exam

Day Two

1 hour Oral Exam

The exam tests the candidates’ broad based knowledge of economic development based on the core competencies for the economic development profession.


Maintaining the Certification

Certified Economic Developers must earn 12 recertification credits every three years through a variety of IEDC, national, regional, and local activities. IEDC maintains a list of more than 20 activities and more than 30 local regional events that qualify for recertification credits. A recertification fee is paid once every three years. Refer to the recertification page to view eligible activities and to estimate the annual certification maintenance costs.

» Employer FAQs
» What Employers Need to Know About the Certified Economic Developer Program (PDF)