How do I get CDCS certified?

28 January, 2022Juno Baker

If you're considering a career in trade finance, learning about documentary credits is a good place to start. If you’re already working in documentary credits, why not consolidate your learning and get the certification? We answer five questions that people regularly ask about CDCS, covering how to register and the value CDCS will bring to your career.

Shipping containers on a shipping boatWhat is the CDCS qualification?

CDCS stands for the ‘Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists’. It’s recognised worldwide as a benchmark of competence in documentary credits and enhances understanding of all the complex issues associated with documentary credit practice. 

As it’s an online course, CDCS allows you to study anytime, anywhere, on any device and to fit your learning around your work and life commitments.

Amaal Mohamed Abdulla took CDCS in 2014 and describes it as a "deep dive". She said CDCS "means you can catch every discrepancy in the trade documentation".

What are documentary credits?

In the context of being paid for goods sold to a foreign importer, a company may look for a risk mitigation strategy and a more secure payment method.

Documentary credits are a payment method that guarantees an exporter will receive payment when they comply with the letter of credit’s requirements.

If you’re working with documentary credits, you’ll need to:

  • understand the products, parties, processes and rules that underpin documentary credit transactions
  • identify documentary credit risks, breaches and irregularities
  • manage documentary credit transactions
  • apply knowledge of processes, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) rules and trade terms.

Even if you’re learning a lot through your work, studying for a qualification can help you develop these skills.

Olanrewaju John Adeboye told us, "Studying CDCS has really helped to broaden my understanding and knowledge of trade finance operations."

He was already working in a trade finance department at a bank when he was studying CDCS. 

"All the topics in CDSC are related to what we do in trade services. So it was easy for me to apply my knowledge to my day-to-day office duties."

How do I register for CDCS?

You can register for CDCS using our online registration system. You’ll have a year from registering to complete the course and sit your exam, but it’s possible to do it in six months.

Your assessment will take three hours and 15 minutes and the examination will consist of multiple-choice questions and document checking exercises.

You can book your exam at any designated test centre around the world.

What are the benefits of doing CDCS?

If exporters don’t get the documents right, that can delay cash flow. This can result in huge losses. But when a bank has CDCS trained staff, customers can turn to an expert to get the right answers.

That’s why – as a marker of your value – CDCS certification can help you advance your career.

When you’ve successfully completed the exam, you can add the professional designation ‘CDCS’ after your name and you’ll be added to the international CDCS registry.

How do I continue my professional development after CDCS?

To ensure your name stays on the international CDCS registry, you’ll need to recertify every three years either by:

  • carrying out continuous professional development (CPD) throughout the recertification period, or
  • retaking and passing the full CDCS exam.

You may also consider studying other trade finance and transaction banking qualifications. Once you’ve successfully completed three, you'll be awarded a Diploma for Qualified Trade Finance Specialists (QTFS), which will set you apart from the competition.

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