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CDS Rulebook

How do I become CDS certified?

To earn Certified Data Steward (CDS) designation you must complete 4 courses from the CDS curriculum, including Data Stewardship Fundamentals and at least two core courses.

Can I earn CDS credit by completing a CIMP Certification?

Yes! If you complete a CIMP in Data Quality, Data Governance, MDM, or Metadata Management tracks, you will automatically earn a credit for the corresponding CDS course. For example, CIMP in Data Quality will earn you a credit for Data Quality for Data Stewards.

How do I successfully complete a course?

To successfully complete a course you must achieve a 70% or better score on the corresponding online exam. You even do not have to listen to the course itself if you are confident in your knowledge. However, most students will find it advisable to take the courses to prepare for the exams. Click here to learn more about exams.

Can I take an exam multiple times?

You can take each exam up to six times. However, each exam license that you purchase entitles you to three attempts. If you fail on all 3 attempts, you can purchase an additional exam license, and thus make up to three more attempts, by contacting We believe that attempting an exam more than 6 times is not productive.

How do I achieve the CDS Ex level of CDS certification?

CDS Ex goes beyond CDS to indicate that you are a true standard bearer in the data stewardship profession. To earn the CDS Ex designation you must demonstrate:

  • Expertise. You must complete 7 courses including DS-01 Data Stewardship Fundamentals, all three core courses, and 3 electives (2 from the CDS curriculum, and 1 course of your choice from our entire curriculum)
  • Experience. Have at least five years of work experience in a data-related job role. This could be any job in business or IT that involves collecting, manipulating, using, analyzing, or managing data. Each day in a data stewardship role counts as two days of experience (subject to approval by CDS Board). You may count a job towards CDS Ex experience requirements as long as at least 50% of your duties are eligible. If you are not sure that your experience qualifies, please, contact
  • Excellence. Achieve the average score on the exams of 75% or better. If you have taken an exam more than once, only your best score will count. However, an incremental 3% "penalty" will apply to the score for each attempt beyond the second. Thus, if your actual score is 56% on the first attempt, 65% on the second attempt, and 76% on the second attempt, 73% (76%-3%) will be used for the purpose of calculating the average. Note, that there is no "penalty" for failing on the first attempt.
How do I get enrolled in the program?

The most convenient and cost-efficient method to enroll in the CDS program is with one of our CDS Packages. Each package includes all courses and exams necessary to earn CDS or CDS Ex in one of the tracks. Many of the packages allow you to simultaneously earn CIMP designation. Alternatively, you can enroll in courses one at a time. Click here if you want to enroll in the exams without taking the courses.

Is there a time constraint to complete certification?

You must complete the required exams within 24-months from the time you pass the first one. Please note, in the event the required exams take longer than 24-months to complete, but your qualifications satisfy re-certification rules, you are still eligible for certification (based on eLC's verification of certain requirements.)

For example, you can bypass the requirement to complete the required exams within 24 months if you can demonstrate at least 18 months of verifiable work experience related to the area of certification within the past 3 years. You can find complete re-certification rules at the end of this page.

What do I get upon earning the CDS or CDS Ex designation?

  • A digital certificate that formally declares your achievement and the credential that you have earned. Digital certificates allow you to easily display and share your achievement online.
  • Letter of credential that describes CDS and your accomplishment in earning the credential.
  • Use of CDS designation and logo on business cards, correspondence, web sites, and social networking profiles.
  • Entry in the CDS online registry that can be accessed by employers and others to verify your credentials.

Is re-certification required?

Re-certification is essential to maintain a credible and meaningful certification. This is especially true for a continuously evolving role such as data stewardship. Each CDS certificate expires three years from the date on which it is issued. Re-certification requires only that you demonstrate a meaningful level of continued activity - work, study, and learning - in the field. You can satisfy this requirement in a variety of ways including:

  • 18 months of verifiable work experience related to data stewardship. You may count a job as long as at least 50% of your duties are eligible.
  • 30 months of verifiable work experience in a data-related job role. This could be any job in business or IT that involves collecting, manipulating, using, analyzing, or managing data.
  • 90 hours of continuing professional education in the form of classroom training, conferences, and events related to the Data Stewardship Body of Knowledge.
  • 60 hours of continuing education in the form of additional eLearningCurve courses related to DSBOK, where hours are determined by the duration of the recorded portion of the course.
  • 90 hours of speaking, teaching, or professional presentation on topics related to DSBOK, including conference presentations and local chapter presentations to DAMA, CIPS, and other professional organizations.
  • 6 non-commercial articles, columns, or papers in recognized publications on the topics related to DSBOK.
  • Publication of one text or guidebook on the topics related to DSBOK by a recognized commercial (non-vanity) publisher.

Any combination of the above that collectively meets 100% of the requirement is accepted. For example, you can satisfy the CDS re-certification requirements with 12 months of work experience related to data stewardship (67%) combined with 30 hours of continuing professional education (33%).

Who governs the CDS Program?

The Certified Data Steward Program was created by a group of prominent data stewardship practitioners and educators under the leadership of Arkady Maydanchik, Maria C Villar, and David Wells.

The CDS Advisory Council includes distinguished industry experts, representatives of large organizations, industry analysts, and academicians. It was formed to assist the CDS Board in making key resolutions, thus ensuring that the program meets the industry needs in the best way.