-Emily Lemke
-Brian McFall


DECA members can begin their experience as early as the ninth grade by enrolling in a marketing, finance, hospitality, business management or entrepreneurship course.
They can retain their membership in DECA as long as they are actively pursuing courses in one of the content areas. As part of a high school chapter, DECA members can take full advantage of DECA activities described below while preparing themselves to be college and career ready upon graduation.

High school students join DECA through their high school chapter, often advised by a faculty member responsible for course content in one of the above career areas. High school chapters are recognized and chartered by the state or provincial association.

DECA membership is open year-round; however, some chartered associations have eligibility deadlines to participate in conferences and competitive events. The deadline for all DECA International Career Development Conference competitors is March 1.


By leveraging their DECA membership, members can become:

  • academically prepared for college and careers in marketing, finance, hospitality or management
  • community oriented by gaining an appreciation for the benefits of service and their potential impact on the community and world
  • professionally responsible with ethics, integrity and high standards
  • experienced leaders by practicing key leadership skills such as goal setting, consensus building and project management.

More than 190,000 DECA members are in 3,500 high school chapters in all 50 states and nine countries.


DECA members benefit from activities in DECA’s Comprehensive Learning Program. In addition to an official membership pin, DECA members receive four issues of DECA Direct magazine, have opportunities to attend conferences designed to prepare them for college and careers, can earn recognition and prove their knowledge in DECA’s Competitive Events Program, can earn their share of more than $300,000 in scholarships and more.