Certification FAQs

NCMA's certification programs can take your career to the next level. To help you choose the program that's right for you, we've put together answers to the questions we get asked the most. If you don't find the answer to your question, please contact us. We’re always here to help.

View the FAQs by clicking on the gray icons, separated by topic.

Rights and Expectations

As a candidate for NCMA certification, you have a right to:

  • Be treated impartially and with courtesy and respect regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.
  • Know the type of exam to be taken, the source of the questions, and the cost of all associated certification fees.
  • Know the time, date, and location the examination will be administered.
  • Know when the results of the examination will be available to you.
  • Have your examination administered and evaluated in a professional and impartial manner.
  • Have your application information, examination scores, and dialog pertaining to complaints and appeals be kept confidential to the extent allowed by NCMA policies and procedures.
  • Address any concerns you might have about the examination or the examination process.
  • Appeal any decision of the NCMA Certification Staff to the Certification Oversight Body.

Where can I find the expectations of an NCMA certificant?

Expectations for NCMA certificants can be found in the applicable certification handbook under “NCMA Certificant Expectations” and include but are not limited to abiding by the NCMA Code of Ethics and the Certification Policies & Procedures Agreement.  Download your free certification handbook:   

 

Recent Changes

New Change to CCMA Exam

Effective October 3, 2022 test takers will choose between two options for the CCMA certification exam. Test takers can either take an exam that aligns with Contract Management Standard™  (CMS™) Second Edition or Third Edition. Starting January 1, 2023, only the CCMA exam based on CMS Third Edition will be available.

These exam changes are occurring due to the release of CMS Third Edition on July 15, 2022, and to ensure continued relevancy and excellence in contract management professional development opportunities for our members.

Application Guidance
 How do I access my certification application?

You can access your certification application by doing the following process:

  1. Log into your profile at the top of any page on the NCMA website and select Certification from the left hand menu
  2. From there, do one of two things:
    • Click on new application by selecting the blue button of the certification you are applying for -OR-
    • If it is an existing certification, click on the certification within the men
  3. From there, follow the tabs and instructions along the top.

 What does it cost to apply for an individual certification program?

  • CPCM: $225 (Member), $425 (Non-member)
  • CFCM: $165 (Member), $365 (Non-member)
  • CCCM: $165 (Member), $365 (Non-member)
  • CCMA: $90 (Member), $295 (Non-member)

 My one year of application eligibility to sit for an exam has expired. May I request an extension?

 No. NCMA strictly enforces its one year of eligibility for certification. To reinstate your eligibility period, you will have to reapply and pay the necessary fees.

Can special needs be accommodated when taking my exam?

Yes. You may request special needs accommodations for any NCMA exam due to disability, handicap, and/or other conditions that may impair your ability to take the exam. 

 Please identify your need for exam accommodations as part of the application process. 

If you do not request exam accommodations at the time of application but will require them, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible. If you have already scheduled your exam, you may need to cancel and reschedule the appointment.

 Can the college courses I use to fulfill the education requirement also be used to fulfill the CPE requirement?

 No. There cannot be duplicate credit for the same learning event when fulfilling education and CPE requirements for the same certification. However, any college credit outside of the education requirement can be used to fulfill the CPE requirement. Please see Section 6.1 "College or University Non-academic Credit Courses” of the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

 

What You Need to Know About CPE

 What qualifies as CPE?

 CPE credit will be awarded based on NCMA’s Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide (CPE Guide). The CPE Guide provides guidance on acceptable and unacceptable CPE, measuring CPE, the evidence required to receive CPE credit, and the competencies to which the CPE must align.

What subject areas can be counted toward CPEs? 

 To earn CPE, the subject areas must align with the competencies identified in the Contract Management Body of Knowledge® (CMBOK®). The “Outline of CMBOK Competencies” can be viewed in the appendix of the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

What sources of training are acceptable toward the CPE requirements for certification? 

 Please see section “3.0 Acceptable Programs and Activities” of the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

How are CPEs measured by NCMA? 

Please see section “6.0 Measuring CPE Hours” in the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

Do the required CPE hours have to come from NCMA-sponsored materials, seminars, and/or courses?

No. CPE hours do not have to be earned through any specific organization. However, all CPE must comply with the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

When will my “pending” Education Credit be reviewed?

Education Credits are only reviewed as part of a certification application process after the application fee is paid.

Certification Program Requirements

What is “regional accreditation” and why is it important?

Regional accreditation validates the quality of colleges and universities as a whole entity. The validation process assesses multiple aspects ranging from academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, resources, and continuous improvement. Regional accreditation is the gold standard of college and university accreditation, and it holds the highest prestige.

What is the training required to become certified?

The handbooks address the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) required for each certification in “Step 1. Application & Fee Submission” Download your free copy of the handbook for each certification:

All CPE must comply with the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

What is the level of education required to become certified?

The handbooks provide information specific to eligibility requirements in “Step 1. Application & Fee Submission” Download your free copy of the handbook for each certification:

I earned my degree from an institution outside the United States. How do I know if it is accredited?

The handbooks provide information specific to education and degree requirements in “Step 1. Application & Fee Submission” Download your free copy of the handbook for each certification: 

What is the work experience required to become certified?

The required work experience is provided in the applicable handbook for each certification. The handbooks for each certification are available as a free download by navigating to the applicable certification on our Certification webpage.   
 

 

Taking the Exams
 

How much does it cost to take a certification exam?

Each examination costs $135 in the U.S. & Canada; and $160 internationally.

What types of questions can I expect on each of the exams? 

The handbooks provide information specific to its exam in “Step 4. Take the Exam.” Download your free copy of the handbook for each certification:  

How are exams administered?

All NCMA exams are administered by Kryterion with an option for on-site or on-line proctored exams. An NCMA approved application is required before scheduling an exam. You’ll find specific instructions by certification in its applicable handbook in section “Step 3. Schedule your Exam & Pay Exam Fee”. 

How many chances do I have to pass my exam?

The "Reexamination(s) Policies and Procedures” of each Handbook prescribe the allotted eligibility period, to include, exam attempts for each certification exam. 

I did not pass my certification exam. When can I retake it?

If you are unsuccessful, you must adhere to the wait period prescribed in the applicable certification handbook. The applicable handbook is available as a free download by navigating to the applicable exam on our Certification webpage.   

What if I need to reschedule my exam?

This information is provided in “Step 3. Schedule your Exam & Pay Exam Fee” for each certification.

I heard there are two versions of the CCMA™ Exam available 10/3/22-12/31/22 is that true, and if so, what does that mean to me?

Yes, it’s true! The CCMA™ Exam is based on the Contract Management Standard™ (CMS) which was updated in July 2022 to the third edition. As such, the CCMA™ exam has been updated to account for the CMS™ Third Edition. These regular updates ensure continued professional excellence by ensuring we’re providing contracting competencies and knowledge in lock step with the advancements and developments of the industry. The CCMA™ Exam based on the CMS™ Third Edition will go live on 10/3/22. Therefore, candidates pursuing the CCMA™ Exam will have the choice to take either the CCMA™ Exam based on the CMS™ Second Edition or the CCMA™ Exam based on the CMS™ Third Edition for the period 10/3/22-12/31/22. Starting 1/1/23 only the CCMA™ Exam based on the CMS™ Third Edition will be available. 

Recertification

Can the same CPE be applied to multiple NCMA certifications for recertification?

Yes. If the CPE meets the requirements of the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide, CPE can be used across NCMA certifications.

I have to recertify this year. How do I do that? What information do I need, what’s required, when is it due? 

The detailed information on how and when to recertify, to include what’s required, are detailed for each certification within its handbook in “Step 6. Recertification.”

I have multiple NCMA certifications. Can I recertify for all of them at the same time?

Each certification stands on its own and must have its own recertification application, applications cannot be combined for multiple certifications.  However, the same CPE may be applied to multiple certifications. 

I can’t remember my certification date and/or certification number. How do I find that out? 

This information can be found in your member profile. To access, go to NCMA and click “Log In” at the top right corner of the screen. Once you are logged in, navigate to “Earned Certifications” to see your current certifications and their information. If you have trouble accessing, you can call our Member Service Advocates at 800-344-8096 for this information.

What kind of documentation do I need to send with my recertification application to verify my CPE?

The same type of documentation used to verify CPE in recertification is the same as that used in the certification process. For more guidance, please refer to the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide

 

Retired & Lifetime Certification Status

What is the NCMA retired certification status?

The retired certification status allows individuals to continue to be recognized for achieving NCMA certification(s) after leaving the contract management profession or related fields. Retired certification status does not require the CPE requirements of the active certifications, which may no longer provide value to a retired individual. The retired certification status is not an active certification.

Does NCMA still support a lifetime certification?

 No. NCMA no longer supports lifetime certification because it allows practicing contract managers to hold active certifications without providing evidence of CPE. Due to the dynamic nature of the contract management profession, NCMA has determined that recertification must be achieved to actively hold any of its certifications. In addition, a certification without recertification does not meet the definition of "certification" as per the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. However, NCMA does recognize there are those who are no longer practicing contract management and are not pursuing applicable CPE, but still desire to display their well-earned distinction of NCMA certification. The retired certification status is a good option for those individuals.

 Who can apply for retired certification status?

The full details for eligibility and how to apply for retired certification status are provided specific to each certification in “Step 7. Retired Status” of the applicable certification handbook. 

I currently hold a lifetime certification status; do I need to do anything?

Yes! Lifetime certification holders must choose one of the three options by 12/31/2023. Failure to act by midnight on 12/31/2023 will result in the certification(s) expiration.
 

Option 1. Retire the certification(s) via retired status.

Option 2. Recertify by submitting a recertification application and receiving approval by 12/31/2023. Note, recertification applications must be approved by 12/31/2023 to remain active.

Option 3. Allow your certification(s) to expire. 

 Can retired certification(s) be reactivated?

Yes. The full details for this process are provided for each certification in “Step 7. Retired Status” of the applicable certification handbook. 

 Is there anything else I should consider?

Active certificants should think carefully and wisely before changing to the retired certification status. NCMA encourages certificants to maintain the active certifications if they are not sure they will remain fully retired from the contract management profession or related fields. Reactivating NCMA certifications may not be easy, especially if the retired certificant is not regularly pursuing CPE hours. Also, a retired certificant may not meet current eligibility requirements at the time he or she may apply to retest.

Miscellaneous

Is there an appeals process for NCMA decisions made pertaining to the certification program?

The information is provided by certification via the “Certification Appeals Process” section of each handbook.

Is there a process for submitting complaints about the certification program?

Yes. The information is provided by certification via the “Certification Complaints Process” section of each handbook.

I have had a name change and would like another certificate. What do I need to do?

Once you earn your credential, you will receive an email from Accredible. That email will outline how to access your digital certificate to update your name.

How do I access my digital certificate?

Once you earn your credential, you will receive an email from Accredible. That email will outline how to access your digital certificate.

How do I share my credentials on social media?

Once you earn your credential, you will receive an email from Accredible. That email will outline how you share your credential on your social media accounts.

Are DAWIA or FAC-C certifications equivalent to NCMA certifications?

They are not. However, DAWIA, FAC-C, and NCMA certifications provide means of assessing competence in contract management.

DAWIA and FAC-C certifications are relevant only to federal buyers. As such, when the federal buyer leaves the career field and enters a status where DAWIA and FAC-C certifications are not required
(eg, another career field, retirement), the DAWIA and FAC-C certifications are no longer active. NCMA certifications can be obtained by buyers and sellers in all aspects of government and commercial contract management. NCMA certifications in good standing remain active through any career transition. 

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