Nuts and Bolts of Achieving Your Economic Development Certification

I think every economic developer should be certified, work at it, get it, because it is a mark that you’re a professional in the field. – Steve Jenkins

So for those who need directions, here is the road map to navigate the CEcD process. In order to be eligible to take the test, you must have completed four years of full time work in economic development. While you get the necessary work experience, you can take the required classes. There are two ways to take these classes: through IEDC or the University of Oklahoma (OU) Economic Development Institute (EDI).

If you choose the IEDC classes, you must complete the four core classes and at least two electives before sitting for the exam. The core classes are

  • Basic Economic Development,
  • Business Retention & Expansion,
  • Economic Development Credit Analysis, and
  • Real Estate Development & Reuse.

There are many different electives that you can choose from, ranging from Economic Development Marketing & Strategy to Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies to Workforce Development. These classes are two or three days long depending on the topic and are held at various locations.

Here is the cost breakdown for pursuing the certification through IEDC:

Course Registration (5 courses at $450 + 1 course credit at $550)        = $2,805

Travel & Lodging (6 courses + exam at $800)                                           = $5,610

Exam Application                                                                                         = $495

Total                                                                                                              = $8,900


Should you choose to go the Oklahoma University route instead to complete your exam prerequisites, the program requirements include 117 course credits, which you can take either in person or in online classes. You also must complete an additional 45 credits through attending one OU Economic Development Institute session, which is a five-day interactive class. OU EDI also offers a review course that prepares you for the exam. It is recommended that even people who do the IEDC classes should take this review course.

Here’s an estimate of what it will cost to prepare for the certification through OU EDI if you take advantage of the IEDC member early bird rates:

1 Week-Long Institute                                                                                     = $1,650

Travel & Lodging for Institute                                                                        = $750

4 Online Classes                                                                                              = $2,380

4 Manuals, including Shipping Costs                                                            = $250

CEcD Review Course                                                                                       = $625

Exam Application                                                                                            = $495

Total                                                                                                                  = $5,400


Lastly, one of the newest requirements is attending “A Primer to the CEcD Exam Process: What You Need to Know”. This informational meeting gives you the exact details of the exam and a few sample questions. You also observe a mock interview, which is part two of the exam. This two hour info session is actually very informative and valuable. I sat in on it very early in my process to become certified, which gave me a great idea of what to expect and prepare for. If you’re a planner like me, you should definitely plan on attending ASAP.

There you have it – that’s the checklist to prepare you for the CEcD exam.