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Attending the Midwest Community Development Institute (CDI) can lead to earning your certification as a Professional Community & Economic Developer (PCED). This certification is the professional certification designated by the Community Development Council. The Community Development Council (CDC) is a nonprofit organization that strives to increase the professional credentials and recognition of those employed as community developers across the United States. Attending three years of CDI is a requirement for certification, and the exam content is based on the CDI curriculum. The Midwest CDI is one of five sites in the U.S. offering the training and the exam.



The PCED certification is offered through the Community Development Council (CDC), a national non-profit organization offering regional opportunities throughout the country for Community Development Institute training. Certification is available to community developers who collaborate with individuals to shape and guide the development and economic prosperity of their community, while making full use of local and external resources.

More than 350 individuals nationwide have received the Professional Community and Economic Developer designation. This nationally-recognized certification helps to solidify a base of skills and knowledge in community development, and is earned through full attendance of the Community Development Institute (CDI) for three years, as well as accruing "points" (totalling 8) for work, education and training, and successful completion of an exam. 


Three points based on 3 years of experience as an active paid professional in the field of community development are required.  Points for professional training, (including Advanced Year CDI) participation and/or presentations at other conferences, publications, serving on a community development board or committee, and other contributions to the field of community development count toward earning points. Taking the PCED exam is completely optional.


The exam is offered each August at Midwest CDI, and at the annual Illinois Rural Community Development Conference each March. When there is sufficient demand, an additional PCED exam is offered at a central location. Application and documentation of your points to the Community Development Council at least 45 days prior to the examination is required. During the application review you may be asked for additional information or clarification.  

The PCED exam, based on the Community Development Handbook (Community Development Council ©) and core curriculum topics offered at all CDIs, has two parts consisting of multiple-choice questions: part one covers content from the handbook; part two includes 3 case studies requiring practical application of your knowledge, experience and training.

A score of at least 70% on each part of the exam is required. The exam can be retaken if needed; if one section is successfully completed, only the section not successfully completed must be retaken. 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

A $225 fee (which includes the study guide) is due upon application.


Application Form 

PCED re-certification is required every three (3) years and 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, which must be earned after the date of the applicant's last certification. A $200 re-certification fee must be received before an application for re-certification will be reviewed.



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