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The challenges have never been tougher. The need has never been greater.

"The CDF program provides directors of facilities with a personal checklist to ensure that we're equipped to serve the needs of students, staff and community in an ever-changing profession. It also allows professionals the ability to communicate related experience and how it aligns with expectations and responsibilities. Schools have become very demanding customer service and safety-driven environments; to navigate successfully, we need to continually enhance our knowledge, resources and creative thinking abilities. The CDF program is a great way to support and fulfill this purpose."
~Keith Watkins, CDF, City School District of New Rochelle


What Does the CDF Program Do?

The CDF Program certifies that you are a professional, who is:

  • Fully qualified and competent to handle the duties and responsibilities of your profession.
  • Continually upgrading skills to match the latest school systems and procedures.
  • Committed to a Code of Ethics insuring the highest level of personal and professional conduct. 

For you, the CDF Program will:

  • Provide verification of your knowledge and skills, proof that you are one of the best of the best.
  • Open doors of opportunity.
  • Offer a path to professional knowledge, growth, and recognition.
  • Provide an opportunity to network among peers who have achieved certification and will serve as valuable career contacts.
  • Offer opportunities for greater earning potential and career advancement.


“I obtained my Certified Director of Facilities designation in 2018 with the encouragement and mentorship from the leaders of the Southern Fingerlakes Chapter. It’s a great way as a facilities director to reflect on your career and realize what you have to offer for our schools and the people we serve. It was well worth the time and effort to accomplish the accreditation.”
~Joe Pollinger, CDF, Arkport CSD

Who is Eligible?

You can apply for your CDF if you:

  • Are a paid, Active member of the SFA in good standing
  • Have at least five years' experience in the operation or maintenance of educational facilities*
  • Currently are employed as a full-time director of facilities (as defined in the NYSSFA by-laws) by an educational facility in New York State
  • Demonstrate knowledge, and the ability to apply professional skills, in five key areas
  • Pledge to adhere to the NYSSFA Certified Director of Facilities Code of Ethics
  • You demonstrate knowledge in, and the ability to apply, the professional skills in five core competencies in the management of educational facilities:

         1. Personnel management in facility operations
         2. Technical systems in school facility operations
         3. Principles of school facility management
         4. Codes, standards, administrative and legal rules
         5. Environmental and occupational safety and health

Registered Director of Facilities (RDF)*

If you have not worked for five years in the operation and maintenance of educational facilities but you meet all the other requirements, you can obtain your Registered Director of Facilities (RDF) certificate. Then, on your fifth anniversary of working as a director of school facilities, you will receive your CDF.


"The CDF program is a wonderful vehicle to increase the level of knowledge and skills utilized by all school facilities managers."
~Peter Riggi, CDF, Retired Director of Facilities, Schuylerville CSD

How Do You Earn Your CDF?

Earning the CDF designation requires the accumulation of qualifying points. The point system represents a broad base of knowledge and experiences of the candidates. Completion of the Personal Data Portfolio (PDP), written and oral exams, seminars and training courses, and volunteer leadership in the organization are some examples of accomplishments that qualify for the point accumulation system. A total of 600 points is required.

  • Apply. Review the CDF brochure, complete and return the application, together with the nonrefundable fee. When we receive your application, we will send you instructions on completing the rest of the process. You'll also receive a list of CDF mentors who can support you and answer your questions.
  • Complete your Personal Data Portfolio. The PDP helps the CDF Committee evaluate your qualifications in the five key competency areas (see what skills and abilities you have to demonstrate?). You can demonstrate qualifications in two ways: through documented work experience (a detailed, chronological narrative that you prepare, with affidavits from work references) and education (a listing of schools and colleges attended, programs of study, etc., with transcripts from the schools). The CDF Committee evaluates the PDP and awards credit toward certification in certain areas, according to your demonstrated strengths.
  • Take the CDF exam. Consisting of multiple-choice questions, several essays, and an oral test, the exam focuses on your technical and managerial abilities in the five key areas. You can take the exam once your PDP has been approved. A grade of 70 on each exam section is required for passing.
  • Interview with the CDF Committee. A problem-solving interaction scenario similar to a job interview. Through this process, the committee examines the candidate's ability to respond to situations an experienced facilities director may face.

Conference Participation

All CDFs must attend at least two New York School Facilities Managers Annual Professional Development Conferences & Expos in a five-year period. Participation in the Annual Professional Development Conference & Expo is worth 5 points for every year a CDF attends.

Download the brochure.SFMI CDF Brochure cover


"Professional development is critical, and it is clear that the Association and its members take their obligation to stay current seriously. The Certified Director of Facilities (CDF) program is a great way to acknowledge this professionalism."
~Carl Thurnau, P.E., former Coordinator of Facilities Planning, NYS Education Department and former DOF with City School District of New Rochelle