Top 11 Development Officer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most sought-after certifications for development officers, including what they entail and how to obtain them.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for a development officer in the job market because they provide evidence of specialized knowledge and skills that employers value. They also demonstrate to employers that the individual has taken the initiative to gain additional qualifications, which demonstrates commitment and dedication. Furthermore, certifications can increase an individual’s chances of getting hired due to their competitive edge over other applicants who do not have the same credentials. Lastly, certifications can lead to higher salaries as they often come with pay bumps.

This article reviews some of the top certifications available to Development Officers and explains how they can help advance their career.

What are Development Officer Certifications?

Development officer certification is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to work in the field of economic and community development. This certification is available through various organizations, such as the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The certification provides individuals with an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the principles and practices of economic and community development. It also helps individuals stand out from their peers by showing a commitment to excellence in their profession. Additionally, having a professional credential can help people demonstrate their expertise in the field, which can lead to increased job opportunities or even promotions.

Furthermore, obtaining certification may provide access to resources and other benefits not available without it. For instance, many organizations offer discounted registration for conferences and workshops for certified professionals, as well as access to exclusive content on topics related to economic development. In addition, many employers view certification as evidence of an individual's commitment to their profession and may be more likely to hire someone who has earned this credential.

Overall, development officer certification is beneficial for those seeking advancement in the field of economic and community development. It can help individuals stand out from their peers, gain access to exclusive resources and content, increase job opportunities or even promotions, and display a commitment to excellence in their profession.

Pro Tip: If you are considering becoming a Development Officer, make sure to research the certification requirements in your area. Many states require that Development Officers complete specific educational and/or professional development programs in order to be certified. Additionally, many employers may require that you have your certification before applying for certain positions.

Related: What does a Development Officer do?

Top 11 Development Officer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Development Officers today.

1. Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE)

Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) is an internationally recognized professional certification program that recognizes individuals who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a fundraising executive. It is designed to recognize experienced fundraising professionals who have demonstrated the highest standards of ethical practice, professional accomplishment, and commitment to service.

The CFRE exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions in five sections: Professional Practice; Resource Development; Relationship Building & Stewardship; Management & Accountability; and Leadership & Vision. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

In order to be eligible for the CFRE exam, applicants must have a minimum of five years of paid full-time professional fundraising experience within the last 10 years. Applicants must also have at least 60 hours of continuing education related to fundraising within the last three years.

The cost for the CFRE application fee is $275 USD and $350 USD for the exam fee. The total cost for both fees is $625 USD.

2. Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP)

Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and experience necessary to lead and manage nonprofit organizations. It is the only credential of its kind in the United States, and it is offered by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA).

The CNP program takes approximately one year to complete. It consists of four core courses, which are offered online or in-person. The courses cover topics such as financial management, fundraising, marketing, legal issues, board development, and strategic planning. After completing the courses, individuals must pass a comprehensive exam to become certified.

In order to get the CNP certification, individuals must first apply for admission to the NLA’s CNP program. Once accepted into the program, they must complete all four core courses within one year and pass the comprehensive exam with a score of 70% or higher.

The cost for the CNP program varies depending on whether you take the courses online or in-person. The cost for taking all four courses online is $1,495; for taking them in-person it is $2,295. Additionally, there is an exam fee of $150 that must be paid upon registration for the exam.

3. Certified Association Executive (CAE)

Certified Association Executive (CAE) is a professional designation that recognizes an individual’s expertise in the association management field. It is awarded by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) to individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and experience in association management, governance, and leadership.

It typically takes about two years to obtain the CAE designation. To qualify for the CAE program, applicants must meet certain requirements such as having at least three years of full-time experience working in an association or related field; holding a bachelor’s degree or higher; and completing a minimum of 60 hours of continuing education. Additionally, applicants must pass a comprehensive exam covering topics such as association law, finance, human resources, marketing, membership development, and strategic planning.

The cost to obtain the CAE designation varies depending on ASAE membership status. The fee for non-members is $1,100 USD while members receive discounted pricing of $850 USD. There may also be additional fees associated with taking the exam and/or attending preparatory courses offered by ASAE.

4. Certified Public Relations Professional (CPRP)

Certified Public Relations Professional (CPRP) is a professional certification program administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB). This certification recognizes public relations professionals who have demonstrated a mastery of the core knowledge, skills and abilities required to practice in the field.

To become certified, an individual must meet certain requirements, including having at least five years of professional experience in public relations and passing an examination that covers topics such as ethics, research, media relations, communication strategies, and crisis management. The examination is offered twice a year and takes approximately three hours to complete.

The cost of the CPRP exam varies depending on where you take it. The exam fee for U.S.-based applicants is $450 USD; for international applicants it is $400 USD. There are also additional fees for late registration and rescheduling.

5. Certified Philanthropy Executive (CPE)

Certified Philanthropy Executive (CPE) is a professional certification for those working in the philanthropic sector. It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved an advanced level of knowledge and expertise in philanthropy and nonprofit management. The CPE program is administered by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

To become certified, individuals must meet certain criteria including having a minimum of five years of experience in the field, completing a minimum number of continuing education courses, and passing a comprehensive exam. The exam covers topics such as fundraising principles, donor relations, nonprofit law, financial management, and communication strategies.

The process typically takes between 12-18 months to complete. To get started, individuals must first submit an application to AFP along with proof of their work experience and any additional documentation required. They will then be assigned a mentor who will help them prepare for the exam by providing guidance and advice on study materials and practice tests.

The cost to become certified varies depending on whether or not you are an AFP member. Non-members pay $450 while members pay $350 to take the exam. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with purchasing study materials or attending training sessions prior to taking the exam.

6. Chartered Fundraising Professional (ChFP)

Chartered Fundraising Professional (ChFP) is a professional certification program offered by the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIF). It is designed to recognize and reward individuals who have achieved an advanced level of knowledge, skills, and experience in fundraising. The ChFP is the highest international standard for fundraising professionals and provides recognition of their expertise in this field.

The ChFP program consists of three parts: a written exam, an online portfolio submission, and an interview with a panel of experts. The written exam tests your knowledge of fundraising principles, practices, and strategies. The online portfolio submission requires you to provide evidence that demonstrates your ability to apply those principles in practice. Finally, the interview allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the profession as well as your commitment to ethical fundraising practices.

The entire ChFP process typically takes between six months and one year to complete. To get started, you must first register with CIF and pay the registration fee (currently £150). Once registered, you can access study materials and take practice exams to prepare for the written exam. After passing the written exam, you will be asked to submit an online portfolio demonstrating your ability to apply fundraising principles in practice. Finally, if successful in both stages, you will be invited for an interview with a panel of experts who will assess your knowledge and commitment to ethical fundraising practices before awarding you with the ChFP designation.

The cost for completing the Chartered Fundraising Professional program varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of CIF. For non-members it costs £550 plus VAT; for members it costs £450 plus VAT; and for students it costs £350 plus VAT.

7. Certified Grant Writer (CGW)

A Certified Grant Writer (CGW) is a professional who has been certified by an accredited organization to write and submit grant proposals for nonprofit organizations. The certification process involves completing a course of study, passing an exam, and meeting certain standards of experience in the field.

The amount of time it takes to become a Certified Grant Writer depends on the individual. Generally, it takes between one and two years to complete the required coursework and pass the exam.

To become a Certified Grant Writer, you must first complete a training program in grant writing from an accredited organization. After completing the training program, you will need to take an exam administered by the same organization. Once you have passed the exam, you will be eligible for certification as a CGW.

The cost of becoming a Certified Grant Writer varies depending on the organization offering the training program and exam. Generally, courses range from $500-$2,000 and exams cost around $200-$400.

8. International Fundraising Certification Program (IFPCP)

The International Fundraising Certification Program (IFPCP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and experience of individuals working in the field of fundraising. It is administered by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), an international organization that works to promote philanthropy, strengthen fundraising practices, and increase public awareness of the importance of charitable giving.

The IFPCP consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical application. The written exam tests knowledge in areas such as ethics, legal issues, donor relations, financial management, and fundraising techniques. The practical application requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to develop and implement successful fundraising campaigns.

The IFPCP takes approximately six months to complete. To get started, applicants must submit an online application form and pay a fee. After submitting their application, they will receive information on how to prepare for the exams. Once they have passed both parts of the certification process, they will be awarded the IFPCP credential.

The cost for taking the IFPCP varies depending on whether or not you are a member of AFP. For non-members, it costs $400 USD; for members it costs $200 USD.

9. Certified Development Officer (CDO)

Certified Development Officer (CDO) is a professional certification program designed to help individuals develop the skills and knowledge needed to effectively manage community development projects. The CDO program is administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic development in communities around the world.

The CDO program consists of three courses: Principles of Economic Development, Community Development Strategies, and Professional Practice. Each course includes lectures, readings, case studies, and other activities that provide an overview of the economic development field. Upon successful completion of all three courses, participants are eligible to take the CDO exam and become certified.

The entire CDO program takes approximately six months to complete. Participants are expected to complete 10-15 hours of coursework each week in order to stay on track with their studies. The cost for the entire program is $2,000 USD, which includes all course materials and access to IEDC resources.

To get started with the CDO program, applicants must first submit an application form along with a non-refundable fee of $100 USD. Once accepted into the program, participants will receive instructions on how to register for their courses and begin studying for their exams.

10. Nonprofit Management Certificate Program

The Nonprofit Management Certificate Program is a comprehensive curriculum designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively manage and lead nonprofit organizations. The program is typically offered as an online or in-person course, and can range from six months to a year in duration.

In order to get the certificate, students must complete a series of courses that cover topics such as financial management, fundraising, grant writing, strategic planning, volunteer management, board development, marketing and communications, and more. Upon completion of the program, students will have gained the necessary skills to successfully manage all aspects of a nonprofit organization.

The cost of the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program varies depending on the school offering it. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $500-$2,000 for tuition and fees.

11. Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management

Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management is a program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to become effective leaders in the nonprofit sector. The certificate consists of five courses that cover topics such as financial management, organizational development, fundraising, marketing, and leadership. The program typically takes six months to complete, although some schools may offer accelerated programs that can be completed in less time.

To get the Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, students must first complete an online application process which includes submitting transcripts from any college or university attended. Once accepted into the program, students will need to complete all five courses within the allotted time frame. Depending on the school offering the program, tuition costs can range from $2,000 - $4,000 for all five courses.

Do You Really Need a Development Officer Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual’s career goals. If a person is looking to pursue a career in development, then it would be beneficial to obtain a Development Officer Certificate. This certificate provides evidence that an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary for working in the field of development. It also demonstrates that the individual has taken the time and effort to gain additional qualifications in this area.

Having a Development Officer Certificate can be advantageous when applying for employment or when negotiating salary because it shows employers that the individual is knowledgeable about the field and has taken steps to increase their skill set. It can also be used as proof of competency when seeking promotions or other opportunities within a development organization.

However, even without having a certificate, individuals can still gain experience and knowledge in development by pursuing internships or volunteering with organizations related to development work. This type of hands-on experience may be just as valuable as having a certificate because it gives individuals an opportunity to apply their knowledge and hone their skills in real-world situations. Additionally, networking with other professionals in the field can help individuals learn more about the industry, which can potentially lead to job opportunities or further education.

In conclusion, whether or not you need a Development Officer Certificate depends on your specific goals and objectives. If you are looking to enter into this field or advance within it, then obtaining certification may be beneficial for you; however if you are looking for more general experience then focusing on building up your skillset through internships and networking may be just as effective.

Related: Development Officer Resume Examples

FAQs About Development Officer Certifications

Q1: What is a Development Officer Certification?

A1: A Development Officer Certification is a professional credential that recognizes the knowledge and experience of individuals in the field of fund development. It is awarded to those who demonstrate mastery in areas such as grant writing, donor relations, fundraising, and nonprofit management.

Q2: How do I become certified as a Development Officer?

A2: To become certified as a Development Officer, you must complete an approved certification program offered by a recognized certifying body such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). This program includes coursework and an assessment examination which must be passed in order to earn the certification.

Q3: How long does it take to get certified as a Development Officer?

A3: The length of time it takes to become certified as a Development Officer can vary depending on the certification program chosen and individual study habits. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 6-12 months to complete all requirements for certification.

Q4: Is there any continuing education required for maintaining my Development Officer Certification?

A4: Yes, most certifying bodies require that their certificants maintain the currency of their certifications through ongoing professional development activities such as attending conferences or workshops, reading relevant publications, or taking professional courses.

Q5: What are some benefits of having a Development Officer Certification?

A5: Having a Development Officer Certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence in fund development and provides recognition for your accomplishments within the sector. Additionally, having this certification may open doors to more career opportunities and help you stand out among other candidates when applying for jobs.