CEDS Certification FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Not sure how to get CEDS-certified, or want to find out more about preparation for the exam? Learn everything you need to know right here. Then, get ready to join the ever-growing community of CEDS professionals around the world.
For an appointment to determine if certification is right for you, please call 1-844-992-2337 or click here for our CEDS Brochure.
No, ACEDS is a fully independent organization that is owned and operated by BARBRI, the leader in legal education. It is led by professionals with experience managing certification, training programs and member associations. ACEDS is strictly vendor-neutral and unaffiliated with any product, software, law firm, consulting firm or government agency.
Once the application is submitted along with supporting documentation, please allow two to three business days for a response. Applicants are encouraged to submit their certification application prior to sitting the CEDS exam, but may submit the application up to 90 days after successfully sitting the exam or prior to their account expiration date (whichever comes first).
The CEDS examination is not a test of knowledge of any product, training course or software. It is the first independent e-discovery certification program. The exam adheres to strict psychometric competency principles to ensure that it is a legally defensible, fair, unambiguous test of knowledge and skill. A leading psychometric testing firm, Kryterion, advises ACEDS to ensure testing soundness and security. The CEDS certification exam focuses on 11 e-discovery subject areas as selected by a global taskforce of practicing e-discovery experts and validated by an ACEDS-sponsored survey.
CEDS follows the standards of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). In September 2008, the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), now known as ICE, published a standard for “assessment-based certificate programs,” distinguishing them from professional certifications like the one ACEDS awards.
According to this ICE standard, a certificate program is an education or training program that provides specific course instruction and awards a certificate to those who take and pass the specific course of instruction.
In contrast, a professional certification program, like ACEDS offers, is a competency assessment based on industry knowledge and practices and is fully independent of training courses and course providers. This certification is granted only to those who meet the assessment standards. The CEDS exam meets these certification standards.
The CEDS certification exam includes questions on international and cross-border issues that e-discovery practitioners face. The exam is not United States-centric, although the principles and rules that govern United States practices are treated extensively.
Each question on the CEDS exam consists of four multiple-choice, application-based “items” based on scenarios related to e-discovery processes.
The exam is administered in a single four-hour sitting. Extended time is available for non-English speakers or those requiring special accommodations.
The CEDS examination is a computer-based, proctored exam and is available year-round at any one of ACEDS-Kryterion testing center locations worldwide. These locations are listed at www.kryteriononline.com/host_locations/. The exam is computer-based, so the results are provided to the candidate immediately upon the completion of the exam.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, online proctored testing is now an option for taking the CEDS exam
The CEDS exam is offered at secure testing centers, as well as via online proctoring. Candidates must follow the specialized security protocols instituted by Kryterion, which include but are not limited to: identification-verification, video surveillance and proctored environments. ACEDS follows the same standards that apply in licensing examinations for Certified Public Accountants and FINRA securities dealers.
It depends on the individual candidate. As with any examination, generally, the more you study, the better you do. Studying the CEDS Exam Preparation Manual will assist all candidates, but it does not guarantee a passing grade and does not teach to the specific scenarios addressed on the exam. Candidates should study other pertinent materials to more fully prepare, and will usually need to rely on experience gained in the field. ACEDS generally recommends that candidates spend a minimum of 40 hours of independent study time preparing for the exam.
Yes, the online seminar is offered live and on-demand at ACEDS.org as part of the CEDS Certification Package. Live seminars take place quarterly, and consist of three 90-minute, live webcasts presented over three days. Seminars address the themes and subjects that candidates will see on the exam, but do not teach to the specific scenarios on which test questions are built. For current candidates, upcoming live sessions are contained within your CEDS Prep Course.
The CEDS certification must be renewed every two years. Certified persons must pay a recertification fee and record appropriate continuing education credits to maintain their CEDS certification. If the CEDS certification lapses, the member must retake the exam to regain certified status. The CEDS Certification Handbook, which may be downloaded at no charge, has complete information about certification eligibility, recertification and other requirements. Recertification criteria can also be viewed here.
Two years after a candidate earns the certification, CEDS-certified professionals must certify that they have earned 40 continuing education credits in the interim. For more information on the CEDS recertification process, please click here.
Presently, about 70% of the persons who sit for the exam pass.
The grade is for the overall exam. The grading is not based on the number of correct answers in any section of the exam, but is based on a combined raw score.
CEDS candidates who do not pass the exam are required to wait 30 days before they can retake it. A reduced fee applies for retaking the exam, details of which are answered below. In order to retake the exam, a candidate must have an active CEDS candidate membership.
In general, no. Persons seeking this option should contact ACEDS Customer Service at [email protected].
Appeals should be made in writing to ACEDS Customer Service at [email protected] with the subject line “CEDS Exam Score Appeal.” The email should thoroughly document the reason(s) for the appeal, the candidate’s score, and the location of the testing facility. Appeals will be reviewed by a committee of ACEDS and Kryterion personnel and may take up to three weeks to evaluate. Failing scores will not be overturned on the grounds they are within small percentage points of passing, nor will a result be overturned due to a claim that exam content was not addressed in study materials provided by ACEDS.
Yes. ACEDS offers substantial savings to organizations that wish to have groups of three or more earn the CEDS certification. The larger the group, the greater the discount. Similar group discounts are available to organizations seeking to attend ACEDS online or live training programs and become ACEDS members. If you are interested in group training, please contact us at [email protected].
Yes. ACEDS offers substantial examination and membership discounts to employees of all federal, state and local government agencies in all countries.
A CEDS-certified professional, by passing the rigorous, independent examination, earns a credential that validates knowledge and skill in e-discovery through a scientifically verifiable standard. Persons who obtain the CEDS credential join a growing community of certified professionals at some of the largest and most prestigious law firms and organizations. An independent a job market survey conducted in 2019 found that 84% of respondents who achieved the CEDS certification found it made them stand out as a job candidate, 85% said it improved their reputation, and 83% said it improved their knowledge and skill. Fully 66% said the certification leads to a higher salary. Additionally, 63% of hiring managers said they are more likely to hire a CEDS certified candidate over a non-certified candidate. ACEDS believes that professionals who earn the CEDS credential gain significant short- and long-term career benefits, and help their respective organizations better address the costs and risks e-discovery entails. These benefits include:
- Elevated standing in e-discovery field by inclusion into exclusive community.
- Ability to demonstrate competence to employers and prospective employers.
- Ability to demonstrate competence to clients and prospective clients.
- Ability to demonstrate competence and due diligence to courts.
- Ability to better establish yourself as expert witness.
- Ability to better justify increases in billing rate.
- Ability to strengthen your case for a salary increase.
- Ability to increase your career earnings.
- Ability to validate skills to clients, co-workers and superiors.
- Ability to better pursue alternative legal career.
- Ability to help make US and global justice systems more accessible, efficient, and economical.
- Ability to bridge language and knowledge barriers between legal and IT.
- Ability to demonstrate to courts a commitment to e-discovery competence and due diligence.
- Increased knowledge redundancy by training personnel across multiple departments and areas of expertise.
- Increased exposure as e-discovery leader in thought and practice.
- Ability to better reduce the risks associated with e-discovery by assuring employee competence and skill.
- Ability to better control e-discovery costs by raising organizational knowledge, competence and skill.
- Ability to better select service provider partners.
- Ability to associate with a growing list of prestigious organizations that have certified their staffs.
The CEDS certification is a valuable career credential. You can do a number of things to further it, including adding it to your email signature and business cards; including it in online posts and profiles on social media sites, internal and external announcements and press releases from your organization acknowledging your credential; and referring to your CEDS credential on your resume and professional biography.
Plus, get your digital badge and join our LinkedIn Group.
No. Persons from all parts of the United States and other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Switzerland, Ireland, India, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and elsewhere have qualified to take the exam and have passed it since the test was released in November 2010. ACEDS is proud of a growing community of international CEDS, including active local chapters in Benelux, Canada, Ireland, Latin America, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
ACEDS has been well received by professionals from all occupations in e-discovery, including lawyers and litigation support professionals from a large portion of the AmLaw 200 and smaller law firms, Fortune 500 and smaller organizations, financial institutions, government agencies, including the US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, and staffing firms, among others. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Cowen Group, the CEDS credential is the most widely held industry certification among litigation support managers and directors.
Yes, in certain instances and based on circumstance. To see if you qualify for a hardship scholarship, please view our ACEDS Hardship Waiver page.
What Our Customers Say
"ACEDS’ certification is a tremendous asset to us. In my opinion, this certification indicates a level of legal competence that is truly needed in the eDiscovery world. Legal professionals want to know that the person(s) on the other end of that often time last-minute call understands the legal landscape and the realities of the world in which a legal professional works."
"The CEDS certification has been a differentiator for our team, as an extension of our clients' team. We have better structured discussions around eDiscovery issues while talking the same language, resulting in better outcomes. We are positioned to tackle a wider variety of challenges, and our teams feel enabled."
David A. Greetham
"The ACEDS certification could make the difference between getting that important eDiscovery job and not getting it."