DECA (organization)

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DECA logo.svg
Formation 1946
Type Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO)


3,500 HS chapters and 1500 college chapters[1]
Executive Director
Paul Wardinski
DECA's Executive Officers
Donald LeCompte, Emily Fraser, Victoria Meng, Brandon Allen, Rohan Ghiya

DECA (also known as Collegiate DECA on the college level, and previously known as Delta Epsilon Chi and Distributive Education Clubs of America) is an international association of high school and college students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. The organization prepares leaders and entrepreneurs for careers and education in marketing, finance, hospitality, management, and other business areas. It is one of ten organizations listed as Career and Technical Student Organizations by the United States Department of Education.

Dr. Ed Davis served as Executive Director from 1992–2014. In 2014, Paul Wardinski was brought in to serve as DECA's new Executive Director. Today, DECA's programs are growing and expanding their involvement in competitive events, community activities, professional development, and leadership opportunities. DECA's scholarship program has grown from the $4,750 awarded the first year, to well over $400,000 that are available today. DECA can be found in every state of the United States, four U.S. territories, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Germany, South Korea, People's Republic of China, Turkey, Hong Kong . Chapters exist in high schools, career centers, community colleges, technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and private and parochial schools. More than 5,000 chapters involve over 275,000 members in the many varied activities sponsored by DECA and its corporate partners. DECA currently has over 275,000 members. DECA is made up of 3,500+ high school chapters, 1500+ collegiate chapters, and 5,500 advisors.


The International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is available to all DECA members. Although only qualifying members may take part in the competitive events series, the conference also offers workshops, academies and networking for students wishing to further their business skills. DECA ICDC is generally held in April or May of each year; 21,000+ members, advisors, and business professionals attend this conference. Conference Locations for past and future years:

  • 1989 – Orlando, Florida
  • 1990 – San Jose, California
  • 1991 – Denver, Colorado
  • 1992 – Anaheim, California
  • 1993 – Orlando, Florida
  • 1994 – Detroit, Michigan
  • 1995 – St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1996 – Orlando, Florida
  • 1997 – Anaheim, California
  • 1998 – Denver, Colorado
  • 1999 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2000 – Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2001 – Anaheim, California
  • 2002 – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2003 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2004 – Nashville, Tennessee
  • 2005 – Anaheim, California
  • 2006 – Dallas, Texas
  • 2007 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2008 – Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2009 – Anaheim, California
  • 2010 – Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2011 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2012 – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2013 – Anaheim, California
  • 2014 – Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2015 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2016 – Nashville, Tennessee
  • 2017 – Anaheim, California
  • 2018 – Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2019 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2020 – Nashville, Tennessee

Competition hierarchy:

  • Regional (in some areas, it is known as Area Competition or District Competition),
  • State Career Development Conference (SCDC) or Provincial Competition (Canada)
  • International Career Development Conference (ICDC)

Other conferences include:

  • Central Region Leadership Conference (CRLC)
  • Emerging Leader Summit (formerly WROTC & SOLT)
  • Innovations and Entrepreneurship Conference
  • New York Experience
  • North Atlantic Region Leadership Conference (NARCON)
  • Southern Region Leadership Conference (SRLC)
  • State Competitive Conferences (SCC)
  • Sports and Entertainment Marketing Conference
  • Ultimate DECA Power Trip
  • Western Region Leadership Conference (WRLC)


70 years ago, DECA organized around an ambitious goal: to improve education and career opportunities for students interested in careers in marketing, management and entrepreneurship. Membership includes more than 220,000 students and advisers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam, The People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Turkey.[2]

DECA is divided into four divisions: High School, Collegiate DECA, Alumni, and Professional.

High School Division[edit]

The High School Division is composed of chapters (DECA organizations within one school) grouped under a state association by regions, districts, or areas. Internationally, state associations are grouped together in four regions; North Atlantic, Central, Southern, and Western.

Participating Events- Individual Event

  • Procedure:

When participating in the DECA events one may decide to do a team event or compete individually. When participating on your own in an individual event, the procedure is as follows.[3] The individual series has two major parts, a written 100 question multiple-choice exam and two role-playing events that the participant will be able to review. The role-playing case will pertain to the business related event the participant is participating in, which will be presented in front of the judges. In this role-play event, the participant must accomplish his/her task by translating what they learned into an effective spontaneous action. During the role-play, the judge will evaluate the participant(s) performance on five specific tasks depending on the scenario of the case. The maximum score for the evaluation is 100 points. The cluster exam and each role-play presentation will be valued at 1/3 of the total score. The final presentation will be weighted at twice (2 times) the value of the exam score. The exam score carries forward into the final round of competition.

Presenting to the Judge:

When presenting to the judge, you will be evaluated according to the rubric the judge will be using based on DECA standards. The participant will have 10 minutes before presenting to the judge to review and prepare their situation and develop a professional approach to solve the problem (any notes made during preparation may be used in their presentations). Next, the participant has 10 minutes to present the case to the judge and demonstrate how he/she would solve the problem (the judge is playing the role of a second party in the situation). After the presentation the judge will evaluate the participants' performance and 89 record the results on an evaluation form specific for each role-play event.

Participating Events- Team Decision Making Events

  • Procedure:

When participating in a DECA team decision-making event, the procedure is similar to the individual events, but there are some differences. The procedure is as follows for team events. In a team event competition each team must have two members of the DECA chapter.[4] Each team member will be given a 100-question multiple choice cluster exam (scores will be averaged to produce a single team score). The teams will also receive a decision-making case-study situation involving a problem in a business within their career area of focus. In the scenario instructions are given. The team must accomplish seven task indicators in their role-play, and the judge will evaluate the team's role-play based on these tasks. The judge will proceed with follow-up questions. The judge will then use a 100-point scale to grade the team on their performance. The maximum score for evaluation is 100 points. The presentation will be weighted at twice (2x) the value of the exam scores. The exam score carries forward into the final round of the competition.

Presenting to the Judge:

When presenting to the judge, you will be evaluated according to the rubric the judge will be using based on DECA standards. Before the teams present their case, they will have 30 minutes of preparation time, where they can consult with each other, study their case and write down notes which can be used in the presentation. Once in front of the judge, a business executive in the field will interview the team on the case for 15 minutes. Both team members must participate and will have a maximum of 10 minutes to show the judge their analysis of the case they were given and the remaining 5 minutes will be used for the judge to ask questions to each participant.

  • The judge in both cases will use a rubric specific to the event they are judging.
  • Here is an evaluation sheet the judge's use for a specific event.[5]
  • In both events the following is prohibited:

Participants may not bring pre-printed reference materials, visual aids, etc., to the event.. The materials appropriate for the situation may be handed to and left with the judge. Materials handed to the judge must be the ones provided to you during the designated preparation period.

  • If any of these rules are violated, the judge must notify the adult assistant.

Written Events


In the written events section, the student(s) may work either individually or in a group of up to three students. A written event plan is a 5, 11, or 30 page paper where the student(s) either develop a business plan based on the situation presented, or develop their own business plan. The student(s) are given their guidelines (via the DECA web site) roughly six months before their presentation dates to prepare their business plans. There are four clusters involved in the written events including: Business Operations Research Events, Chapter Team Events, Business Management and Entrepreneurship Events, and Marketing Representative Events.[6]


Students are taught to develop skills for future careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, management, and entrepreneurship.[7] Students are given opportunities to overcome obstacles that they would be faced with in the business world, which is used to develop skills such as team building, innovation, and creativity. The students are then tested on these skills through the use of “performance indicators”.[7] The students are ranked based upon these “performance indicators” and the top performers are recognize for their achievement on stage in front of their division level (area, state, or national). This process gives the students an opportunity to establish their educational goals early on.


The various written projects are broken into two different categories; either a written document, and an oral presentation, or an outlined fact sheet, a cluster exam, and an oral presentation.[8][9] A case cluster exam is a 100 question, multiple choice exam, which students are given one hour to complete. In the case of a case cluster exam students on teams will average their individual scores to determine their group score. Before a group may turn in a final project they must sign a statement of assurance, promising that the work given is authentic (if the work is plagiarized, the group is disqualified).[10][11] Unlike the Participating Events, the student(s) may prepare props beforehand for their presentation so long as they are inspected and approved. The length of the presentation can vary from 15–20 minutes, and all of the events follow a similar time rule where the student(s) are given 10–15 minutes to present and the last 5 minutes will be for the judges to ask questions. In the different events the student(s) will assume the role of a variety of different people ranging from consultants to entrepreneurs and the judge will play the role of different positions such as a venture capitalist or the head of a company.


The Students performance is judged based on two to three criteria: the written portion, the oral portion, and if applicable the cluster exam. The students must complete the cluster exam individually (even if they are on a team) and the judges are not involved in the cluster exam process.

Written Evaluation

Before the student(s) give the oral presentations to their judges, the judges are given time to read the written plan beforehand. After reading the plan the judges are given a rubric to evaluate the written entry’s score. The written plan’s evaluation is broken down into various categories such as executive summary, management of activities, research methods used, etcetera. These categories are further broken down into multiple subcategories where they are judged on a scale from 0–15. The total is tallied up by the judges and the score in this section is worth 60 of the 100 total points evaluated.

Oral Evaluation

The oral presentation has a similar rubric to the written portion, the variation here is the judges are to look over the rubric before the presentation and are not to fill out the scores until the students have left. There are generally 6 sections that the judges evaluate each section being worth 0–9 points, with the total score is worth 40 out of the total 100 points.

Collegiate DECA[edit]

Collegiate DECA is organized in much the same way as High School DECA, except that chapters are by college, not high school. Collegiate DECA's membership is smaller than the high school division. This division functions as a student/professional division. "Virtual membership" is available for students wishing to be involved in the organization from a school without an active Collegiate DECA Chapter.

Collegiate DECA, previously called Delta Epsilon Chi, was formed in 1961 during the American Vocational Convention in Kansas City. Representatives from the three states: Wisconsin, Washington, and Kansas met with the National DECA staff to organize post secondary involvement in the upcoming DECA National Leadership Conference. On December 18, 1961, the Wisconsin State Board of Vocational, Technical, and Adult Education approved the newly created constitution for the Wisconsin Distributive Education Association. As a result, DECA chapters were formed on the following campuses: Green Bay (first chapter), Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, and Wausau. The leadership group establishing policy included Charles Christianson, Richard Ashman, Wayne Little, Vernon Swenson and Walter Chojnowski.

Delta Epsilon Chi's 49th annual International Career Development Conference (ICDC) was held in April 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. During the conference, the membership of Delta Epsilon Chi approved a change in the organization's name. The Delta Epsilon Chi name was dropped, and the new name of the organization became Collegiate DECA. The name change was designed to create a stronger link between DECA's high school and college programs, and to reinforce that Collegiate DECA was not intended to be a Greek organization. Membership in Collegiate DECA does not prevent a college student from joining Greek organizations for business students, such as Alpha Kappa Psi or Delta Sigma Pi.[12]

Alumni Division[edit]

The Alumni division is for former DECA members, giving them a way to participate in DECA and give back to the organization after high school or college.

Professional Division[edit]

The Professional Division is made up of individuals who have become business or marketing professionals and are interested in helping to develop the next generation of business and marketing leaders.


Between 1937 and 1946 local clubs of distributive education students were formed to fulfill the need of cooperative education students to belong, to develop socially, and to be a part of a group. In 1944 the state clubs in the area then designated as the Southern Region, announced that they had joined together under the common name of the Distributors' Club. This association was announced at that year's American Vocational Association convention. In February 1946 a national planning committee appointed to develop a tentative plan for the organization of a distributive education club on a national level.[13]

The official birth of the national organization occurred during the first Interstate Conference of Distributive Education Clubs held in Memphis, TN, on April 17–19, 1947. Among those in attendance was the Louisiana delegation. More than 100 students and sponsors, representing 22 states, participated in this conference. In 1948 the organization's name was changed to The Distributive Education Clubs of America and a constitution, emblem, creed, colors, and national dues structure were approved. Seventeen states were accepted as charter members.[13]

The DECA Foundation was legally incorporated in 1959–60. In spring of 1953 the DECA staff moved into the building housing the AVA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The first DECA theme was chosen for use during the 1959–60 school year (DE-Gateway to Success). By 1969, every state in the U.S. was operating a state association of DECA.[13]

Competitive events were refined and stabilized during the 1960s. After a study conducted during 1973–74, a Competitive Events Reorganization task force proposed a new competence-based approach to competitive events designed to integrate the DECA organization within the instructional program of distributive education.[13]

During the early 1970s, the DECA Board of Directors and national staff prepared plans to build a National DECA Center in Reston, VA. The building was dedicated in September 1976. Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, William Bennett, in 1988 endorsed DECA and the other vocational student organizations.[13]

In 1989 DECA approved their mission statement of "The mission of DECA is to enhance the education of students with interests in marketing, management, and entrepreneurship.” A name change occurred in 1991 when the Board of Directors decided that the acronym, DECA, would be used in conjunction with the words, "An Association of Marketing Students." New logos were designed to reflect this change.[13]

In 1991 when the DECA acronym was changed the organization decided to no longer have DECA stand for Distributive Educational Clubs of America, as DECA was becoming international.[13]

Executive officers[edit]

DECA's Executive Officer Teams consist of one President and four Vice Presidents. A new team of officers is elected every year at the International Career Development Conference by voting delegates from around the globe. The Executive Officer teams assist corporate DECA with membership development and services, web site development, conference promotion, member and chapter encouragement, and service of the members and advisers.

Year Position Officer State/Province
2016–2017 DECA Executive President Donald LeCompte Pennsylvania
2016–2017 DECA Western Region Vice President Rohan Ghiya Arizona
2016–2017 DECA Central Region Vice President Brandon Allen Michigan
2016–2017 DECA Southern Region Vice President Victoria Meng Texas
2016–2017 DECA North Atlantic Region Vice President Emily Fraser Ontario

Collegiate DECA Executive Officers[edit]

Year Position Officer State/Province
2016–2017 DECA Collegiate Executive President Ayssa Duncan Rhode Island
2016–2017 DECA Collegiate Executive Vice President Cameron Brown Arizona
2016–2017 DECA Collegiate Executive Vice President Alura Carbrey Massachusetts
2016–2017 DECA Collegiate Executive Vice President Matt Weingard Florida


  1. ^ "About - DECA Inc". DECA Inc. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Individual Series Events 2014" (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Team Decision Making Events 2014" (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Entreprenuership Participating Event Ru" (PDF). pdf. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ "High School Competitive Events Guidelines". DECA. DECA. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "The Purpose of DECA Competitions". California DECA. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ "DECA Advertising Campaign Event 2014 Guidelines" (PDF). DECA. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ "DECA Business Operations Research Events 2014 Guidelines." (PDF). DECA. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ "DECA Entrepreneurship Promotion Project 2014 Guidelines" (PDF). DECA. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ "DECA International Business Plan 2014 Guidelines" (PDF). DECA. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ "DECA: Repositioned and Rebranded for the Future". Techniques. April 211. p32-34.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "History of DECA". Retrieved 2016-08-03. 

External links[edit]