William E. Jenne, administrator of Carroll County's Office of Economic Development, passed the Certified Economic Developer examination on his first attempt last weekend in Washington.
"This is the highest designation in the field," Mr. Jenne said. "I am pleased to have it behind me."
The three-part exam, given by the American Economic Development Council, is comparable to the certified public accountant exam, said Gene Handley, the council's vice president of professional development.
The council, founded in 1926, is the largest and oldest international association for economic developers. The group, based in Rosemont, Ill., represents more than 2,400 economic development professionals worldwide, Mr. Handley said.
Candidates for the certification must pass a multiple-choice test, an essay section and an oral examination in which a board of certified economic developers determines whether the applicant could be a successful economic developer.
"Usually, of the three segments to the exam, a number of people pass one or two of them," Mr. Handley said. "It is more common . . . not to pass all of the exam on the first sitting."
Mr. Jenne, 30, currently is the only Carroll County government employee who has the certified economic developer designation. More than 600 people in the United States have earned the designation since it was created in 1971, Mr. Handley said. About 40 people pass the test every year.
To sit for the exam, candidates must have a minimum of five years experience working as a professional economic developer, must have taken courses in a nationally recognized economic development program or attended professional development courses, and must be recommended by three certified economic developers, Mr. Handley said.
Mr. Jenne, who has worked in the county's economic development office since his graduation from Western Maryland College 7 1/2 years ago, has attended professional development classes at the University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute.
His bachelor's degree from the college was in political science with a minor in business administration. He now is working toward a master's degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore.