How It Works
How Director Education Works


One of the key strengths of the rural electric program is its commitment to education and professional development. Of more than 7,200 active directors in the rural electric program today, nearly sixty-five percent have earned their Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate (CCD). Many of these directors are now focused on earning NRECA's Board Leadership Certificate (BLC) in order to stay current on the Issues affecting the future of their co-ops. The purpose of all NRECA director level education is to prepare directors to make informed business decisions in the boardroom.

NRECA’s multi-part education program for electric cooperative directors includes:

Three Director Certificate Programs:

  1. The Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) Certificate
    The first part, the CCD, is a set of five courses that focus on basic governance knowledge and the essential skills required of cooperative directors. The CCD prepares directors to fulfill their fiduciary duty as elected officials serving on behalf of their membership. Upon completion of all five CCD courses, directors are awarded the Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate by NRECA.

  2. The Board Leadership Certificate (BLC)
    The second part of the director education program, the BLC program, consists of a series of courses focusing in greater depth on specific industry and governance issues. These include issues such as risk management, power supply, parliamentary procedure, technology and policy development. A director can earn the BLC if they have 1) completed the CCD 2) Earned 10 credits from a choice of over 20 BLC courses. Directors may attend BLC courses at any time but the BLC will not be awarded until the CCD program requirements are completed.

  3. Director Gold
    Director Gold credential has been created to recognize directors committed to continuing their education beyond the CCD and BLC and who desire a tangible credential that demonstrates their ongoing commitment to advancing their knowledge and performing their fiduciary duty to the best of their ability.

Directors Conference
This popular annual conference focuses on key industry trends and provides directors with the opportunity to hear industry experts, work in small groups and network with peers. Learn more.

New Director Orientation
Co-sponsored by NRECA, CFC, NRTC and Federated Rural Insurance Exchange, this two-and-a-half day program is offered once a year for new directors and trustees of electric cooperatives who have served on the cooperative’s board for less than two years. Learn more.

Boardroom Spotlight Newsletter
Emailed monthly to nearly 6,000 cooperative directors and executives, this electronic newsletter promotes governance education and best-practices in the boardroom as well as timely association and industry updates. Directors are automatically signed up to receive Boardroom Spotlight. If you have questions or are not receiving your copy, please contact George Stuteville at

Not sure where to start?
We can help you create a custom learning roadmap with our Online Director Education Assessment.​ Learn more​.


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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do the CCD courses need to be completed in order?
    NRECA recommends that courses 2600, 2610 and the 2620 be completed (in any order) before a director enrolls in courses 2630 or 2640. The content in the two latter courses is much easier to grasp if the director has completed the first three courses.
  • What's the difference between the CCD and BLC programs?
    While the CCD curriculum introduces basic governance principles, the BLC focuses in-depth on specific industry and governance topics. All CCD courses include a learning assessment while the BLC courses do not. Another key difference between the BLC and the CCD programs is that the BLC curriculum changes as the key industry issues change. The BLC series typically includes more than 20 courses. Upon completion of a total of ten credits in the BLC program, directors are awarded the Board Leadership Certificate.
  • Do I have to earn my CCD before I take BLC courses?
    No. In an ideal world it might be best for a director to earn the CCD prior to enrolling in board leadership courses, but NRECA has no such mandatory requirement. However, NRECA strongly recommends that a director make the CCD top priority. While directors may enroll in BLC courses at any time, the BLC certificate will not be awarded until the director has completed the CCD program.
  • Which BLC courses should I take?
    Directors are free to enroll in any of the courses available in the BLC series. We suggest that all directors complete five specific BLC courses as part of the 10 credits needed to earn the BLC. As we believe a successful board is a balanced board, we recommend individual members of a board work to develop competencies in specialty areas that are different from those other board members develop. This diversity of educational experiences will ensure each director brings different, essential knowledge and expertise to the boardroom.
  • How do I find out how many credits I get for BLC course?
    The credit value is indicated after the decimal point for each course. For example, course 951.2, provides two (2) credits.
  • If I take the same BLC course over again, will it count as an additional credit I can put toward earning my BLC or Director Gold credential?
    No. To encourage you to gain new knowledge and skills across a broad spectrum of topics, we only recognize credit from the first time a BLC course is taken when applying credits toward your BLC or Director Gold credential.
  • How does NRECA determine what courses to develop for the BLC program?
    NRECA is constantly gathering information from cooperative managers,directors and instructors. We keep our finger on the pulse of electric cooperatives through feedback gathered from our membership.
  • Are director courses regularly updated?
    Yes. The CCD and BLC courses are updated regularly to ensure that regulatory, legal, technology, and industry changes are reflected. The revision process is based upon feedback gathered from the same sources that drive the course development process.
  • When will I be done with director education?
    Albert Einstein said, "Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it". We agree with Dr. Einstein's philosophy. Would you be satisfied that your doctor practice with the knowledge he or she learned in medical school 10, 20, or even 30 years ago? Or would you expect them to keep their knowledge and skills up to date by attending workshops, training and conferences?

NRECA can also deliver any CCD or BLC course onsite, right in your cooperative’s boardroom, saving your co-op the cost of travel and time away from home for directors.

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Recommended Reading

Providing you with easy access to resources to help you in your role as a director. It's easy, fast, safe and secure.

  • View our recommended reading list to access valuable resources to help you in your role as a director.
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