LELA Recognition FAQs

What counts toward recognition?

Commissioners earn credits toward recognition for attending educational opportunities sponsored by the Association and UNC School of Government. The number of credits awarded per program is detailed in this chart, and is advertised in descriptive materials for each program.

Courses (and therefore credits) are categorized as “Orientation,” “Workshops and Programs,” or “NCACC Programs and Service to the Association.” Commissioners must meet the requisite number of credits in each category to receive recognition.

Essentials of County Government is the only program that qualifies for the required 18 “Orientation” credits, so it is required for all levels of recognition. 

“Workshops and Programs” offerings are typically one day, 6 credit programs offered by the NCACC and/or the UNC School of Government. They may be held in conjunction with other events such as the Association’s Annual Conference, or offered as stand-alone workshops at various times and locations throughout the state. 

“Association-Sponsored Programs and Service to the Association" includes events such as the NCACC Annual Conference, County Assembly Day, District Meetings, Legislative Goals Conference, NACo Conferences, and service on NCACC committees and boards.

What are the benefits of achieving recognition?

Commissioners who achieve recognition on any of the 3 levels are provided a certificate from the NCACC and the UNC School of Government, a lapel pin, and Local Elected Leaders Academy name badge ribbons to display at Association events. The Association also provides a press release to your county to use to announce your achievement to your local media. Commissioners who ascend to the “Master” or “Mentor” levels are formally recognized during a general session at the Association’s Annual Conference.

The Association looks to these recognized commissioners - particularly those at the Mentor level - to serve as ambassadors for the Association. Our partners at the UNC School of Government also look to Mentors to provide guidance and real-world perspective for proposed educational opportunities and training events.

I have loads of credits. How is it I haven’t achieved any level of recognition?

In many cases, commissioners have earned many credits in the “NCACC Programs and Service” category for participation on steering committees and attendance at NCACC conferences and meetings, but have not attended courses offered by the School of Government or pre-conference workshops that fall under the “Workshops and Programs” category. Please review your course history and the chart below to see where you may need to accrue additional credits.

What do I have to do to achieve each level of recognition?

The number of credits required in each category before each level of recognition is reached is displayed below. "Mentor" is the highest level that can be achieved. Although there are no continuing requirements to maintain LELA status once it is achieved, the NCACC encourages commissioners to continue to attend both Association-sponsored events, and other Workshops and Programs.

Program Category

Credits needed to reach PRACTITIONER level

Credits needed to reach MASTER level

Credits needed to reach MENTOR level





Workshops and Programs




Association-Sponsored Programs and Service to Association




How do I find out how many credits I have?

The NCACC has developed an online resource where commissioners can view a summary of their LELA participation. An individualized “Passport to Learning” handout that details credits earned in each category is also available at Annual Conference. 

I’ve attended Essentials of County Government in the past. Why am I not getting credit for it?

When LELA was conceived in 2008, an Advisory Board of county and municipal officials concluded that due to significant changes in the programming and content delivered during Essentials of County Government, credits should not be awarded retroactively. Therefore, events attending prior to December 2008 do not count toward recognition. You will find credits awarded for all eligible events that you have attended beginning in December 2008.

Can I receive credits for webinars and online training?

While these types of training can be valuable to commissioners, there is no means of tracking who is actively participating in online programming. Therefore, these opportunities do not count toward recognition.

Where can I learn about upcoming training opportunities?

Up-to-date calendar listings can be found on the NCACC website and School of Government website. Both organizations also regularly distribute reminders and materials related to various training opportunities.

Is financial assistance available for LELA courses?

Through the NCACC’s support of the Center for Public Leadership and Governance, county commissioners receive a 20 percent discount on any LELA course that is offered through the UNC School of Government registration system. The code is NCACC-SOG-2019-20. On each course page, click the "Register" tab, then the "Register" button shown under the course fee. Once you have created and/or have logged into the School's registration portal, enter the code in the discount code field that is listed toward the end of your registrant information page.