Professional Certifications

C2ER Certified Economic Research Professional (CERP)

C2ER’s professional certification, the Certified Economic Research Professional (CERP), is the industry standard for recognizing excellence in economic research and embodies the applied skills of economic, demographic, industry, and workforce analysis. CERPs undertake rigorous evaluation of their research experience and leadership to earn this designation.

Who is a Certified Economic Research Professional?

  • CERPs are mid-career research professionals who possess a mastery of economic and related data analysis, demonstrate their ability to utilize these skills in applied research, and serve as leaders in their profession.
  • For a full list of current CERPs, click here

Why should I become a Certified Economic Research Professional?

  • The CERP designation demonstrates to employers your mastery of and leadership in applied economic research.
  • CERPs understand the nuances of research data and effectively communicate information to customers.
  • CERPs share their knowledge and experience so that, either through management or actions, a CERP designation indicates you are a leader in applied research.

How do I become a Certified Economic Research Professional?

Certification is a three-step process:

  1. Applicants must complete the certification checklist to ensure the minimum required points and core topics have been met. You can access to the certification checklist here.
  2. If eligible the applicant will submit a resume, cover letter, and portfolio of work demonstrating that they have acquired the skills necessary for conducting applied economic research. The certification committee will review the submitted material for completeness.
  3. Applicants must select one project that will serve as a certification project to demonstrate the broad range of their skills. These are projects typically completed by the applicant as part of their regular work. The review committee will evaluate the submitted, or proposed, project to determine if it is suitable for certification consideration. Prospective CERPs are required to give an oral presentation on their approved certification project.

How is my certification work evaluated?

Prospective CERP portfolios will be evaluated based on their demonstration of a broad range of research skills. Each portfolio must include the following:

  • A resume to include a description of the applicant’s education and employment background;
  • A cover letter describing how the applicant’s experience, professional development, leadership, and applied research have prepared them to be certified.
  • Three project examples and descriptions the applicant has completed within the past five years in the core areas of data collection and management, economic and demographic analysis, economic or workforce research, or leadership policy analysis.
  • A final certification project for presentation that must be completed within the past two years unless granted a waiver. Applicants can also submit a proposed certification project for completion within a couple years for committee consideration.

Portfolios will be initially reviewed by C2ER staff with the advice and consent of the Certification Committee chair. If the checklist requirements have been met, the portfolio will then be evaluated by a review panel for completeness, applicability and accuracy. The applicant will be notified if the portfolio and certified project has been accepted and may then proceed to schedule a presentation to the Certification Committee and C2ER membership. If an applicant chooses to submit a proposed research project they will be notified if their portfolio has been accepted so they can proceed.
Applicants choosing to submit a proposed research project can choose a subject matter of the applicant’s own design, however the project must be selected from the “core topic” portfolio items. A written summary of the proposed project must be submitted to the review panel for approval. The summary must include:

  • Project title, summary, purpose, and your role in implementing it;
  • Research approach and methods used;
  • Proposed project timeline

If the review panel chooses to accept the applicant’s proposed certification project, the applicant must complete the project within two years. Upon project completion, the review panel will evaluate the project for thoroughness, appropriate use of methodology, and applicability. Once approved, the applicant must present the project findings to the Certification Committee and C2ER membership.

Applicants who do not meet the established criteria for a successful portfolio or certified project will be notified in writing by the Certification committee chair.

What are the maintenance requirements?

Maintaining Certification
To maintain certification, a CERP must:

  1. Be a current member of C2ER or the LMI Institute
  2. Be engaged in the C2ER/LMI Institute community in at least one of the following ways:
    • Be willing to serve as an ad hoc certification applicant reviewer for members seeking the CERP designation. Must be willing to serve at least once in a 3-year time period. This requires the review of an applicant’s submissions, willingness to help mentor applicant if needed, attending applicant’s certification presentation, and working with other reviewers to determine if application is acceptable,
    • Be willing to serve on the C2ER or LMI Institute Board, or an associated committee, at least once in a 3-year time period,
    • Attend, present, or facilitate a C2ER or LMI Institute conference or training event at least once in a 3-year time period,
    • Attend, present, or provide instruction at a closely related economic or workforce conference, training event, or educational program that can be verified through documentation at least once in a 3-year time period. Examples include, but are not limited to, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), state or regional economic development associations, workforce boards, or college instruction.

A CERP is encouraged to engage in many of the above activities, but these requirements set a minimum level needed to maintain the designation.

Inactive Certification
Certification will become inactive if a non-emeritus individual does not have a current membership and is unwilling to serve in C2ER or LMI Institute activities. A member would be considered inactive if:

  • The individual does not renew membership within 9 months of membership lapse, or;
  • The individual does not engage in C2ER, LMI Institute, or related activities detailed in the maintenance engagement section in a 3-year time period.

If one of the above conditions are true, the Certification Committee Chair will communicate the forthcoming inactive determination to the person in writing with an inactive date no shorter than one month after notification. This will allow the individual to keep the CERP designation by becoming a current member and agreeing to re-engage in maintenance activities or submitting confirming documents of engagement.

A certification designation can be reactivated once an individual has a current membership, agrees to engagement activities, and is approved by the Certification Committee. The reactivation would not require an individual to go through the certification process again if completed within 3 years of inactive status designation or a waiver is granted by the Certification Committee. The Committee can grant a waiver to the time limitation based on the individual’s circumstances.

Lifetime Emeritus Status
Lifetime emeritus CERP recognition will be granted to certified members who meet the following criteria and are thereafter except from maintenance requirements:

  • Have an active CERP designation at the time of retirement. Retirement refers to full lifetime retirement from paid work and is not applicable for someone changing jobs or becoming a consultant.
  • Have at least 15 years of experience in economic and related research, OR have been certified as a CERP for 5 years or more.

FRED Data Practitioner Digital Badge Program

C2ER is honored to share the FRED Data Practitioner Digital Badge Program as a resource for its members.

As mentioned on their What is FRED page, FRED (short for Federal Reserve Economic Data) is an online database consisting of hundreds of thousands of economic data time series from scores of national, international, public, and private sources. FRED is  created and maintained by the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data. In essence, FRED helps users tell their data stories.

C2ER members can use this tool to credential their skills through this digital badge program that focuses on seven foundational FRED data skills and uses live data from FRED to provide opportunities for hands-on practice and learning.

Click the link below to get started to boost your skillset and achieve your potential!