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Professional Community & Economic Developer (PCED)

Enhance your career by becoming a Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED). CDI helps prepare you for this nationally-recognized certification offered through the CDC. The exam is offered multiple times each year at all CDI site locations (link to dates/locations).

Applying for the PCED Exam

Exam Content

The PCED exam content is based on the Community Development Handbook which provides comprehensive, current, and applicable information for community development practitioners. The exam includes questions to measure both the understanding of content and the ability to apply the appropriate methods and tools to specific community situations. The exam consists entirely of multiple choice questions divided into two parts. Part 1 covers content from selected chapters of the Community Development Handbook as revised. Part 2 consists of three case studies in which you are asked to apply knowledge gleaned from work experience, training, and/or the Handbook.


In order to be eligible to sit for the PCED examination you must:

  • Accumulate a total of eight (8) eligibility points.
  • Three of these points must come from three (3) years of experience as an active paid professional in the field of community development. Experience level and all other claimed eligibility points are subject to the approval of the Community Development Council, Inc.
  • After January 1, 2015 ALL PCED applicants must have completed all three years of the Community Development Institute (CDI).
  • Each claimed field must include appropriate documentation as noted on the application form.
  • The application form must be submitted at least 45 days prior to the test date. 
  • If you are re-testing, there is a $100 fee and notification that you will be sitting for the exam must be received by the certification secretary 30 days prior to the test date.


Do I have to attend CDI to take the PCED exam?
Yes, you must have successfully completed of three years of CDI at one of the CDC accredited site locations in order to sit for the exam.

Why do I have to pay additional fees to take the PCED exam when I have already paid for three years of CDI?
The PCED exam is separate from the CDI experience and is administered through the CDC. While many CDI graduates choose to take the exam following completion of Year 3, it is not required.

How much is the testing fee?
$225, which includes an exam study guide.

Can I retake the PCED exam?
In order to pass the exam, you must receive a minimum score of 70% on each part of the exam. You are able to retake the examination if you do not pass it. If you pass one part of the exam and not the other part, you are only required to re-take the part of the exam that you did not pass. There is a $100 fee to re-test and notification that you will be sitting for the exam must be received by the certification secretary 30 days prior to the test date

How long does the PCED Certification last?
PCED re-certification is required every three (3) years.

How do I re-certify?
Re-certification may be achieved through professional education, contributions to the profession, service, and participation in community development meetings and programs. A minimum of eight (8) points are required for re-certification. The points must be earned after the date of applicant's last certification.

There is a 6-month courtesy period to renew your PCED without penalty. Anyone seeking to renew greater than a year from expiration is required to retake the PCED exam.

Is there a fee to re-certify?
A $200 re-certification fee must be received before an application for re-certification will be reviewed.