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How Do I Become a Director of Economic Development?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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Individuals hoping to become a director of economic development should take into account the typical qualifications required for the position. An appropriate educational path as well as experience related to economic development is often necessary to obtain this senior level position. Other requirements for someone hoping to become a director of economic development include the ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds and the ability to sway opinions through carefully crafted arguments and discussions.

Economic development is vital to the development and improvement of all communities. The field of economic development seeks to improve the living standards of those living and working in the community while attracting outside investment and tourism dollars. Candidates working to become a director of economic development must be able to identify and capitalize on the strengths of the community and also identify and address weaknesses.

Anyone looking to become a director of economic development must obtain an appropriate level of education. A bachelor’s degree in a related field is a must, and some positions may require the completion of a master’s degree. Common degrees related to pursuing a career in economic development include those related to economics, real estate, and urban planning.

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Educational pursuits should provide candidates looking to become a director of economic development with the knowledge necessary to fulfill the general requirements of the position. This includes knowledge surrounding economic development principles and theories. These theories help economic development professionals identify revitalization strategies as well as plan and develop initiatives related to economic development.

Additional experience will be necessary for applicants hoping to obtain a director of economic development position. This can include work experience gained through managerial and assistant level economic development positions. Employers typically prefer candidates who have demonstrated experience handling projects related to economic development and have a proven track record of success.

Working with a diverse population is a requirement for the position. Various groups, ranging from citizens to businesses, all have a stake in the outcome of various initiatives and economic development plans. The ability to identify and explain the benefits of such initiatives when fielding questions and concerns related to the project is a valuable skill for economic development professionals, especially the director, who may be tasked with speaking to the media and fostering support.

Knowledge surrounding other aspects of the job is also essential. This includes knowledge related to planning and managing a budget. Understanding the different ways of securing financing for projects is also beneficial.

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