PCED Frequently Asked Questions

What is the PCED Certification?

The Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED) Certification is based on the content of the Community Development Handbook, 2nd Edition, published for the Community Development Council. Community and economic development is a dynamic field and it is the intent of the Community Development Council (CDC) to periodically update the chapters in the Handbook in order to provide CDI participants with the best educational materials.


How do I become a certified PCED?

To obtain the PCED, you must take a certification exam proctored by a representative of the Community Development Council. To be eligible to take the exam, you must complete an application that demonstrates your experience and expertise in the field. For more exam information, go to http://cdcouncil.com/PCED.htm or contact:

Ms. Laura Guerin
Certification Secretary

Community Development Council
311 Nelson Street
Atlanta, GA 30313
FAX: (404) 523-0406
Phone: (404) 523-3030
Email: Laura@sedc.org


What is the PCED exam?

The PCED exam is based on the content of the Community Development Handbook (copyrighted by the Community Development Council), although several chapters have been revised from the original book. Community and economic development is a dynamic field and it is the intent of the Community Development Council (CDC) to periodically update the chapters in the Handbook in order to provide CDI participants with the best educational materials.

You may obtain a Handbook from the Community Development Council – please contact Laura at laura@sedc.org or (404) 523-3030 – for $65, which includes shipping. It includes all the relevant chapters for the exam, including the revised chapters.

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 to respond to a situation in a community. In these case studies, you will be asked to explain the factors that led to the current situation in the community or to suggest what actions might be taken.


PCED exam content

CDI Core Curriculum Subject Handbook Chaps
Year 1
Intro to economic development. Relationship between CD and ED. 1
CD basics. What is CD? What is the CD process? What do community developers do? 11
Community assessment 11
Asset-based CD 3 and 12
Strategic planning in Community Development 8
Year 2
Retention and expansion of existing businesses 16
Entrepreneurship in CD and ED 17
Community and economic development project finance 24
Understanding Your Local Economy 13
Year 3
Workforce development 14
Measuring Progress 21
Establishing, managing local development organizations 9
Marketing the community 15


When is the PCED exam normally offered?

The PCED exam is normally offered three times a year in Conway, Arkansas, at the University of Central Arkansas in the Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center:

  • Beginning of March
  • First Friday in August, at the close of CDI Central
  • Each fall in Central Arkansas at the close of the Annual Meeting of the Arkansas Community Development Society.

The exam is also offered at other times and locations outside of Arkansas. Contact Laura Guerin (laura@sedc.org ) for more information on other testing dates and locations.

You can also find additional exam dates at our sister locations at http://cdcouncil.com/documents/2016_CDI_Dates.pdf


When is the next PCED exam?

The next PCED exam will be held on March 12, 2018 t 1:00 p.m. in the Brewer Hegeman Conference Center at UCA. The test lasts approximately two hours.

The deadline to submit applications is 45 days before the exam. Therefore, applications for the March exam need to be submitted on or before January 26, 2018.



If I complete the Community Development Institute, am I required to take the PCED exam?

No. The exam is optional.


Do I have to attend CDI to take the PCED exam?

Yes, you have to attend CDI to take the PCED exam. The curriculum covered at CDI will help professionals successfully pass the exam.


Does CDI administer the PCED exam?

No, but CDI curriculum helps professionals understand the key concepts covered by the exam. The PCED is overseen by the Community Development Council.


What is the Community Development Council?

The Community Development Council (CDC) is a national nonprofit organization with the mission of improving professional training and practice in community development. Currently, the CDC oversees four Community Development Institutes,  including sites in Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, and Texas.


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. While many CDI graduates chose to take the exam, 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.