What is DECA in High School?

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Have you ever found yourself wondering, “what does DECA do in high school?”? Maybe you’ve seen DECA students around your school and were confused about what the organization does other than have their members wear blazers. These are valid things to wonder about, especially if you are someone who is interested in hospitality, marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, and management. You might benefit from joining DECA.

DECA is a great organization that has so much to offer you. In this article, we’ll be discussing what DECA is and how DECA could help you succeed. We hope you come away after reading this article feeling like all your DECA-related questions, such as how much DECA costs, are answered.

What Does DECA Stand For?What Does DECA Stand For?

DECA stands for the Distributive Education Clubs of America, although DECA includes members from nine different countries. The organization was founded in 1946 and includes over 200,000 members today. DECA has members from all 50 states and over 3,000 schools in the US alone.

The organization aims to prepare emerging leaders across high schools and colleges in the areas of hospitality, marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, and management. DECA is bringing together the future leaders in these fields and allowing them to form connections before they even enter the workforce! They provide opportunities for their members to meet up, both in person and online, and converse about these fields.

What Do Students Gain from Being in DECA?

What Do Students Gain from Being in DECA?

Students gain a few things by being a part of DECA in high school. You will get access to lots of unique opportunities and DECA events, as well as help build your career-related connections. With so many things that DECA students have to gain from being a member, it’s hard to list them all.

Being a member of DECA allows you to push yourself and grow as a potential leader in your field of choice. They offer lots of ways to get involved through events and competitions that bring you together with many other DECA members. These are a few of the activities that you can be a part of through DECA:


DECA challenges are a great way to push yourself and meet your fellow DECA members. They offer students a fun way to get involved in your local DECA chapter. The challenges range from leadership challenges to innovation challenges to marketing challenges.

DECA challenges could be a product design challenge, a marketing simulation challenge, or even a team-based fundraising challenge. These challenges change yearly and typically start in early fall. The projects or final presentations are due sometime in the spring. Since the challenges change every year, you will always have new challenges to participate in.

Competitive Events

Each of the five sections of DECA host a wealth of competitive events. DECA competitions are social gatherings where DECA members compete against one another in order to win titles and awards. Examples of some of the events include financial literacy projects, virtual business challenges, and the stock market game.

Although many DECA competitions are team competitions, DECA offers several individual-based competitions. These competitions are either judged by a panel or culminate in a final interview or exam. Students can compete in any of the five career clusters of DECA.

Educational Conferences

Each year DECA hosts numerous conferences for its members across all five of its specialties. Conferences fall into one of three categories; leadership conferences, career pathways conferences, or career development conferences. All DECA events and conferences are an amazing way for DECA members to connect with and learn from professionals in their field of interest.

Emerging Leader Series

The emerging leader series is DECA’s version of a leadership training program. It teaches students valuable leadership skills and provides a place for them to practice those skills in their own chapter. This series is a great way to kickstart your time in DECA since there are five different levels of courses within the emerging leader series that you can take.


Every year DECA and its corporate partners give out over $200,000 in scholarships to DECA members. These scholarships will help fund your continued education towards becoming a top leader in your field. These scholarships are open to high school, and collegiate level DECA members and are a great way to be recognized as a leader in your field.

There are also a number of scholarships given out at the local level as well. These scholarships can come from local organizations or your local chapter to recognize students who excel in leadership, academics, or community service.

Although these fantastic programs might be what attracts you to DECA, there are so many ways you can benefit from being a part of this organization. Here are some of the biggest takeaways that students have after being a part of DECA:

Increased confidence

DECA’s leadership training gives you the best chance at confidently jumping into your career. The exceptional DECA professionals will help teach you how to push yourself to be the best you can be while supporting you every step of the way!

DECA prides itself on instilling self-confidence into all of its members. Through chapter activities, challenges, conferences, and all the other DECA events, your chapter advisor and all the professional members of DECA are there to help and support you on your journey.

Lots of exposure to new ideas

Learning from your fellow DECA members, your chapter’s advisor and all the professional members of DECA is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only will you get to learn from others near you, but you will get to connect with students from all 50 states and nine countries.

Being able to learn from others is vital to your future success. In such a globalized world, it is super important that we all connect and hear one another. There are so many challenges facing the world, and DECA provides does an amazing job providing you with the space to learn about other viewpoints.

Tons of connections to help jumpstart your career

The professional connections you can build in DECA are incredible. While the professional members of DECA are pretty impressive, every DECA member is trying to become a leader in their field. This means that your local chapter’s other high school members might someday become the people your company is making deals with.

Building and nurturing connections is one of the most important aspects of the modern world, so learning these skills young is essential to your success. DECA does a fantastic job of making it easy for you to foster and grow these connections throughout your membership with the organization.

Can Anyone Join DECA?

Can Anyone Join DECA?

The short answer is yes! Anyone in high school or college is welcome to join a DECA chapter as a member. Adults who are out of high school and college but were members of DECA during their time in high school and college can also maintain their alumni memberships to DECA.

In order for other adults to join DECA, they will need to do so in a professional way. Adults can join either as professional members or chapter advisors, regardless of whether they were DECA members during high school or college.

Just keep in mind that all members of DECA, including alumni, advisors, and professional members, are required to pay the fees associated with being a member of the organization. We’ll touch more on the fees later, though, so don’t worry.

What are the Requirements to Join DECA in High School?

What are the Requirements to Join DECA in High School?

Joining DECA is remarkably easy, especially considering how many amazing benefits you will get access to. The first step toward joining DECA is to decide if DECA is the right fit for you.

While DECA is a great organization, it is not for everyone. For example, DECA might not be the best fit if you are striving to be a doctor. Don’t force yourself to be interested in one of the DECA areas of concentration, even if you aren’t. There are a lot of other similar organizations out there for different career paths, so just find the best fit for you.

The next step toward joining DECA is to find your local chapter. There are DECA chapters in over 3,000 high schools across the US. Find your school’s DECA advisor and ask them about joining DECA.

If your school or local area does not have a DECA chapter, you can still join DECA. You just need to start your own chapter. You will need a chapter advisor and at least ten members in order to start a new chapter of DECA.

Joining DECA really is that simple. There are no fancy tests or intensive interviews. Just expressing an interest and paying your DECA fees, which we’ll talk about next, is enough to be a member of this fantastic organization.

How Much Does It Cost to Join DECA?

How Much Does It Cost to Join DECA?

Joining DECA doesn’t cost much, which is impressive considering the number of benefits that you get from being in DECA. To join DECA, the initial cost is $8, but you will likely have to pay slightly more than that. The $8 is the DECA Inc. membership dues, but most states and countries also have charter association fees.

The fees you pay to join DECA are minimal, making the organization more affordable than many other high school organizations. As with the DECA fee, the charter fees must be paid every year. Depending on where you live, these fees can vary from $0 to around $30, with most being between $5 and $15.

It is worth noting that DECA fees must be paid every year and only guarantee your membership for one academic year. You will need to pay again in order to ensure that you are a member and receive all the benefits of being a member the following year.

Wrapping Things Up: What is DECA in High School?

What is a DECA student in high school? Well, we hope you’ve given you a good picture of what you could look like as a DECA student in your high school. From connections with professionals in your career field to the opportunity to earn scholarships to further your education, DECA offers so many ways to help boost your career.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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