Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED) Exam

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, (serving as the old exam for those that started CDI prior to CDI Texas or Central Year 1 2021) and the newly updated Community Development Handbook (2021) published for the Community Development Council (serving as the exam for those that started on or after CDI Texas or Central Year 1 2021).

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 (CDC). 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 www.cdcouncil.com/PCED.htm or contact:

Matthew Darius
Community Development Council
311 Nelson Street S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30313
Phone: (404) 523-3030
Email: matthew@sedc.org

What is the PCED exam?

The PCED exam is based on the content of the Community Development (CD) Handbook 2nd Edition (referred to as the old exam) and the 2021 Community Development (CD) Handbook (referred to as the new exam) both copyrighted by the Community Development Council, although several chapters have been revised from the original book.

Year 1 participants of each CDI site are provided a copy of the CD Handbook digitally. You may obtain a Handbook from the Community Development Council (please contact Matthew at matthew@sedc.org or (404) 523-3030) for $65, which includes shipping. It includes all the relevant chapters for the exam.

Both the new and old exams include questions to measure both the understanding of content and the ability to apply the appropriate methods and tools to specific community situations.

The old exam consists of multiple choice questions divided into two parts. Part 1 covers content from selected chapters of the Community Development Handbook 2nd Edition 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.

The new exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions (no case studies) relating to content provided in the Community Development Handbook (published in 2021).

PCED Exam Content (Community Development Handbook Second Edition; Old Exam)

CDI Core Curriculum Subject Handbook Chapters
Year 1
Community and Economic Development Practice 1 & 7
Asset-Based Community Development 3 & 12
Community Development Assessments 11
Community Visioning and Strategic Planning 8
Team Building 10
Year 2
Building Entrepreneurial Communities 17
Business Retention and Expansion 16
Business Site Selection Process None
Community and Economic Development Finance 24
Understanding Community Economies 13
Year 3
Understanding Local Development Organizations 9
Marketing Your Community 15
Measuring Progress 21
Workforce Planning and Development 14

PCED Exam Content (Community Development Handbook Published 2021; New Exam)

CDI Core Curriculum Subject Handbook Chapters
Year 1
Community and Economic Development Practice 1
Community Asset Mapping and Assessments 2
Community Strategic Visioning and Planning 3
Identifying and Developing Stakeholders, Leaders, and Volunteers 4
Understanding Community Economies 5
Year 2
Building Entrepreneurial Communities 6
Business Attraction and Site Selection 7
Business Retention and Expansion 8
Community and Economic Development Finance 9
Quality of Place 10
Year 3
Community Leadership Development 11
Marketing Your Community 12
Measuring Community Progress 13
Workforce Planning and Development 14

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
  • Mid-October

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

You can also find additional exam dates at our sister locations at www.cdcouncil.com/PCED.htm

When is the next PCED exam?

The next PCED exam will be held on Thursday, October 13 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Brewer Hegeman Conference Center Rooms 112/114. The test lasts approximately two hours.

Deadline to apply for the October exam has passed.

The next PCED exams will be held March 14, 2023 and August 4, 2023. Both exams will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and will be held at UCA in Brewer Hegeman Conference Center Rooms 112/114. 

APPLY HERE FOR THE PCED EXAM


PCED Frequently Asked Questions

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 and graduate 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 (CDC).

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 five Community Development Institutes,  including sites in Arkansas, Alabama, Delaware, 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 choose 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 old exam and 70% on the new exam. You are able to retake the examination if you do not pass it. If you pass one part of the old exam and not the other part, you are only required to re-take the part of the exam that you did not pass.

After I am a certified PCED, how do I re-certify?

After you become a certified PCED, every three years (3) you must undergo a re-certification process. You can re-certify and learn more here: http://www.cdcouncil.com/PCED-Re-Cert.htm