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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 or contact:

Matthew Darius
Certification Secretary

Community Development Council
311 Nelson Street S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30313
Phone: (404) 523-3030


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 Matthew at 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
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


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 Conference of the Arkansas Community Development Society.

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

You can also find additional exam dates at our sister locations at


When is the next PCED exam?

The next PCED exam will be held on Thursday, October 28, 2021, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. in the Brewer Hegeman Conference Center at UCA. The test lasts approximately two hours. 

The first PCED exam of 2022 will be held in March 2022. The date and time are TBA, but this exam will also be held on UCA’s campus.



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 (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, 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 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.


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: