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Competition is organized so that members initially compete at the district level. Over 5,000 DECA members participate in the 12 district competitive events conferences in every year. Approximately 600 representatives of business and industry serve as judges and determine which students qualifiy to represent their district at the State Career Development Conference. Usually over 1,300 students and advisors participate in this three-day conference that features dynamic general sessions, leadership seminars, entertainment, a rigorous competitive events program, and an exciting awards session.

The final step in the competitive events program and highlight of the DECA calendar is the International Career Development Conference. With 15,000 delegates attending the conference from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and two Canadian provinces, competition is at its finest.  Perhaps the most exciting activity at the ICDC is the Grand Awards Session where top students are honored with awards, scholarships and recognition.