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By earning your CDFA, you demonstrate your dedication and expertise in key areas of administration, finance, marketing, human resources, information technology, and project administration and management.



In the Architectural/Engineering/Construction (A/E/C) industry, you can have a job - or - you can excel at your career.

The voluntary CDFA program shows employers that you are dedicated to the A/E/C industry and your personal and professional development.

As a representative of your firm, you must often have an understanding of a variety of aspects of the A/E/C business including:

Office Administration
Information Technology
Project Management
Human Resources


SDA Certification

meets a rigorous standard of experience and expertise in design firm management and administration. It adheres to the ethics and responsibilities of the profession as outlined in the SDA Code of Ethics. Certified administrators have enhanced marketability. This is often shown in increased earnings, career security, and respect.



Eligibility requirements

include: design firm experience, a written exam, adherence to a code of ethics, and formal education. Click here to access our presentation "Steps to Becoming a Certified Design Firm Administrator."



Need help studying?

We understand so we created CDFA-yoU to help you succeed! CDFA-yoU is included in the exam fee. Find out more now


Successful accomplishment of these requirements will result in earning the Certified Design Firm Administrator (CDFA) credential.

SDA is the only professional society dedicated to administrative side of the A/E/C industry.

Apply Now for Your Future

CDFA Fees:

Application Fee (Non-Refundable):

Non-Member: $150.00

SDA Member: $75.00

Exam Fee (Includes CDFA Resource Guide):

Non-Member: $425.00

SDA Member: $250.00



The SDA Certification Renewal Process

Begins January 1, of each year. The emphasis on the certification renewal process is on continuing education hours. The renewal period is now annual. The renewal requirements are as follows:


  • A total of 18 continuing education points (1 point = 1 hour) will be required annually for the renewal process. These points can be obtained from any of the 5 SDA Education groups. Certificates of Attendance or program flyers for the individual programs attended should be saved but do not need to be submitted unless you are audited. An Attendance Record can be used for record keeping purposes, however. All CEUs are subject to audit for up to three years after submission.
  • Be a SDA member in good standing (active member—no delinquent dues)
  • The renewal fee of $25.00 will be due when you pay your annual dues.
  • All members who are currently certified will be responsible to renew dues and re-certify at the beginning of the following year process. Therefore, 18 hours of continuing education should be accomplished in the calendar year.
  • Active certified individuals that have not yet attained "completed” and/or "Emeritus” status will continue to have annual continuing education requirements until they retire or reach "Emeritus” status. The non-completion of the required continuing education will be cause for denying the use of the certification designation.
  • Go to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Certification Renewal process.

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