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DECA for High School Students: Benefits, Tips & How to Join

June 1, 2022

King's School Blog - DECA for high school

In today’s competitive job market, getting a head start in your professional career can go a long way towards having a successful future. The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) has had a vast influence on students, administrators, and young professionals around the globe.

As a non-profit organization, DECA is a leader in career-driven opportunities for motivated students. If you’re a high school student seeking to become part of an innovative program that prepares young adults to become professionals and entrepreneurs, continue reading. We’ll discuss the benefits of DECA along with tips and information on enrollment. 

What is DECA?

Founded in 1946, DECA is a not-for-profit student career organization that prepares young adults to become innovative leaders in four areas: marketing, hospitality, financing, and management. They operate as two student division programs: a high school division with more than 173,000 members and a collegiate division with more than 4,000 members. 

As a program dedicated to creating the next generation of academically driven and career-motivated leaders, DECA members can participate in multiple innovative challenges, each with a unique focus and specific tasks.

Members also participate in competitions, community service projects, and educational conferences. These interactive programs are meant to maximize your professional background and establish your career trajectory. Read on to learn more about the benefits of DECA.

The Benefits of Joining DECA

What do you do in DECA? As a comprehensive program where participants gain experience in professionally-driven settings, there are several benefits:

  • Internships and job opportunities: As a member, you establish connections with real-world business professionals who can provide insights on career-enhancement jobs.
  • Communication skills: Whether you’re working on project-based activities, participating in competitions, or conducting presentations, you will gain critical communication skills. The kind that serves you well in the real world.
  • Participate in competitions: The competitions are designed to expose students to different career clusters and test their knowledge through collaborative activities. Examples include written activities, role-playing games, and experiential learning. Participants gain a clearer vision of their career path.
  • Travel and meet people: DECA has several annual events. Two of the most popular events include the State CDC and ICDC. You will meet and engage with like-minded peers who share your passion, commitment, and career aspirations.
  • Leadership skills: DECA activities and engagement opportunities help you take on leadership roles. You will notice improvements in your teamwork and problem-solving skills. Finally, be on the lookout for leadership opportunities in your DECA chapter. 

Joining DECA in High School

If you’re wondering how to join DECA in high school, there are several requirements to go through before starting a DECA chapter at your school.

Meet DECA Inc requirements

A chapter must be part of a high school, have a recognized advisor, pay DECA dues, and have at least 11 paying members. 

Meet your association’s requirements

Your chapter must meet the requirements set forth by your chartered association. They will establish requirements for starting a chapter, student membership requirements, and provide resources and programs to help your chapter succeed.

Obtain school approval

A high school DECA chapter must receive support from school administrators. Colleges and universities should reach out to the student activities board for support.

Request to start a chapter

After receiving approval from all parties involved, submit a new chapter request form with basic information, including your state of residence and your school. If everything goes well, your chartered association will send you an automated approval message to the membership system.

Make your chapter official by submitting your roster 

Finally, enter your membership roster and pay your required dues. Until then, your students are not considered official members.

DECA Frequently Asked Questions

Read on to learn more about common questions regarding DECA.

Does DECA help with college admission?

Does DECA help get into college? Absolutely! College admissions offices love it when high school students are involved in leadership and professional activities. It demonstrates commitment, passion, and clear goal-setting.

Who is eligible for membership?

In what grade can you join DECA? Students in grades nine through twelve are eligible for DECA. Advisors and school alumni are also eligible for membership. Remember, chartered associations set any additional membership requirements.

How much are the costs for running a chapter?

High school chapter dues are $8 per member, whereas collegiate division chapters dues are $10. Additionally, all chapter groups must pay chartered association dues. 

How long does the approval process take?

An approval process should take no more than a week. A chartered association advisor must approve before a chapter advisor gains access to the online membership system. 

Can private or charter schools start a chapter?

Contact your chartered association advisor for information regarding private and charter school eligibility requirements.

Start Your Future With DECA At King’s Schools

The benefits of DECA are more than just about college preparation; they’re about taking control of your future and maximizing your potential. Plus, with DECA, school is much more enjoyable!

King’s Schools near Seattle is a private Christian college preparatory school for PreK-12 students. At King’s Schools, students will be encouraged to grow in their faith and leadership abilities including through DECA at King’s High School.

Visit our campus today or contact us for more information.