Certified Diversity Executive (CDE)® Exam

Specializing in Forward-Thinking Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Development Since 2009

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The Key to Sustainability and Better Results

Regardless of one’s title, the Certified Diversity Executive (CDE)® qualification credential is designed to strategically position an organization to remove systemic barriers to inclusion, lead culture change, and transform the brand.

The credential empowers executives to advance the organization beyond diverse representation towards thought leadership. It was created for leaders who manage or oversee large scale and complex equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. The CDE® requires at least five (5) years of experience and a current leadership role, both of which can be demonstrated in a variety of different ways.

Definitions of Leadership and Experience

“Experience” can be defined as work in the field of diversity, Affirmative Action/EEO, multicultural affairs, human resources, organizational development, management, legal, multi-cultural marketing and communications, sales, recruiting, training, strategic planning, supplier diversity, consulting, or volunteering for a diversity council or resource group.

“A Current Leadership Role” includes those who have terminated employment within the last six (6) months. Candidates may manage a department/division, aspire to manage a department/division, lead a resource group or diversity council, and may or may not have direct reports.

Starting the Credentialing Process

The CDE® credential challenges conventional equity and diversity work, and reinforces the need for organizations to lead inclusion from the top. The CDE® track is a great program for accomplished leaders seeking to demonstrate cultural competence and increase their credibility in the field of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

To begin the credentialing process, click on the Apply Now button and verify your experience on our brief application form. You will receive confirmation materials from IDC®, which will provide detailed instructions for you.

Eligibility for the CDE® Credential:

  • At least 5 years of experience
  • A current leadership role
  • A passing score of 80% or better on the knowledge exam
  • Completion of a Candidate Project

What Is a Candidate Project?

Completion of a “Candidate Project” meets the additional experience requirements for each credential. Candidates will be required to complete a project before 12:00 p.m. on their exam date. You may submit your project as early as you choose, but late projects will not be accepted.

Projects will be evaluated for thoroughness, accuracy, and impact. The project must be the candidate’s own work and have been completed within the last year.

Peer Review of a Professional Work

The Candidate Project is peer-reviewed, which means that a current CDP® or CDE® designee will review the professional work and determine if the project meets the criteria for a certified diversity executive. Please note, the Candidate Project score is independent of the exam score. Candidates must pass both portions in IDC’s certification process.

For the CDE® credential, you may rate and assess your organization’s and a competitor’s current diversity efforts, spearhead a research project that would contribute to the body of knowledge in the field, or submit any other usable project that is relevant to your professional work.

Facts & Features

  • 170-Question, Multiple Choice, Online Exam for up to 2.5 Hours
  • Knowledge-Based, Standardized Test
  • Proctored Testing Centers Accessible from Anywhere in the World
  • Year-Round Testing
  • Large, Global Network of Candidates & Designees
  • ​Globally Recognized Credentials
  • Credentials Valid for 3-Years
  • Post-Exam Requires 60 Continuing Education Credits Every 3 Years + Recertification Fee