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.

What are the expectations of an NCMA certificant?

 First and foremost, NCMA certificants are expected to abide by the NCMA Code of Ethics. While doing this, certificants must perform in a manner that brings credit to the contract management profession. Also, while certification is a significant professional milestone, it is just the beginning of the journey of how your career is impacted and how you impact the careers of those around you. Recertification demonstrates your ongoing commitment to the contract management profession through continuous learning. 

 

 

Recent Changes
Is the CFCM™ ANSI-Accredited?
Yes, CFCM™ is an ANSI-Accredited certification. The ANSI accreditation process, based on the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 standard, provides a global benchmark for certification programs to ensure they operate in a consistent, comparable, and reliable manner worldwide. ANSI accreditation signifies that the holder has attained a certification designed to the highest industry requirements and that NCMA has met, and continues to meet standards for quality, emphasizing the validity and integrity of the CFCM™.

 

What is the cost of certification applications and associated examination fees?

Effective November 14, 2021 the new fees are as follows:

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

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

What are the new changes to the recertification application process?

You can now access your recertification application by doing the following process:

  1. Log into your profile on the NCMA website (Click your name in the top right corner)
  2. In your profile page, choose the Earned Certifications tab on the left side of the screen
  3. Scroll down to “Submit Continuing Education”. Click the “+” symbol to add new CPEs and complete the information requested in the form
  4. Once you have all the CPEs required for recertification, click the “Earned Certifications” tab on the left side of the screen
  5. Click the orange “Recertification” button
  6. Follow the cart and payment instructions to complete

What are the new changes to the certification application process?

You can now 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 are the new requirements for CPCM™ recertification?
New changes include:

  • The amount of CPE needed to recertify increases from 60 CPE to 100 CPE.
  • Recertification applications submitted in 2026 and beyond will require evidence of 100 CPE.  

Application Guidance
 How do I access my certification application?

You can now 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 eligibility 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 page 3 of the CPE Guide (“6.1 College or University Non-academic Credit Courses”) for the conversion formulas).

 

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, how to earn 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? 

 NCMA uses the following conversions for CPE:

  • 1 CPE = 50 mins or 1 hour of classroom instruction
  • 1 college semester-hour credit = 15 CPE
  • 1 college quarter-hour credit = 10 CPE

For more guidance, 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. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 85% of all colleges and universities in the United States are regionally accredited.

What is the training required to become certified?

For the CCMA, you will need 40 CPE of contract management-related training. For the CFCM™ and CCCM™, you will need 80 CPE of contract management–related training. For the CPCM™, you will need 120 CPE of contract management–related training. All CPE must comply with the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

What is the level of education required to become certified?

For the CCMA: You need either 24 college hours from a regionally accredited college or university OR 1 year of experience.

For CFCM™ and CCCM™ a minimum of a bachelor's degree of any type from a regionally accredited college or university is required. Non‐degreed candidates for the CFCM™ and CCCM™ who have 5 years of verifiable contract management experience plus 24 college credits that align with the CMBOK competencies may request a waiver. There is no degree waiver for CPCM™ candidates.

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

U.S. accreditation standards apply to U.S. colleges and universities. To determine the equivalency of your degree, you must obtain a determination of equivalency from an independent source. World Education Services, Scholaro, Credit Eval, Info Check USA, and SpanTran are organizations that provide credential evaluations for international students. For a small fee, they can provide you with a "Document-by-Document" evaluation that contains a description of your credentials—including name, year awarded, name of institution attended, and major field of study. It also provides the U.S. equivalent for each credential. NCMA is not affiliated with these organizations in any way.

What is the work experience required to become certified?

For the CCMA: You will need either 1 year of experience OR 24 college hours from a regionally accredited college or university.

For the CFCM™ and CCCM™, you will need two years of contract management (or related career field) experience. For the CPCM™, you will need five years of contract management (or related career field) experience. Work experience outside the contract management field will be evaluated for relevancy by NCMA for purposes of certification.

Contract management (or related career field experience) must align with the job tasks, competencies, and processes identified in the Contract Management Standard.

 

Taking the Exams

Can I meet Safer Federal Workplace requirements while taking NCMA Certifications?

 Due to the variety of local rules and ordinances in place at testing centers, NCMA cannot guarantee that onsite testing facilities will meet all Safer Federal Workplace requirements. However, for individuals looking to ensure that Safer Federal Workplace requirements are met during their exam, online OLP testing options are available for all NCMA exams.

What is the cost to take an exam at Kryterion?

 Each examination costs $135 in the U.S. & Canada; and $160 internationally. Exam results are available immediately after your test.

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

 All exams contain competency‐based, objective‐type questions presented in a multiple-choice format. The time limit for all exams is four hours each and a passing score of at least 70% must be
achieved. 

  • CPCM™: The CPCM exam is based on the Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK) and contains 180 questions (includes scenarios). Go here to see the table presenting the “CPCM Exam
    Questions by CMBOK Competency.” 
  • CFCM™: The CFCM exam is based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and contains 150 questions. Go here to see the table presenting the “Question Frequency by FAR Part.”
  •  CCCM™: The CCCM exam is based on the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and contains 150 questions. Go here to see the table presenting the “Questions to UCC Article Ratio.”

How are exams administered?

 All NCMA In-Person exams are administered continuously at Kryterion Testing Centers, depending on the examination site chosen. Online Proctored exams are also an option for NCMA certification exams. Exams are available at any time an appointment is available. In either case, you must have an NCMA‐approved application before being allowed to schedule and sit for your exam.

How many chances to I have to pass my exam?

 Candidates failing the exam a third time or having the one-year candidacy period lapse must reapply and be approved before being readmitted to candidacy.

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

 If you are unsuccessful, you are required to wait 30 days before you will be able to log back in to your Kryterion account, schedule your next test, and pay the $125 (domestic)/$150 (international)
exam fee. This period will provide you with the opportunity for further study. Using the same procedure as your original exam, you can reschedule as soon as the 30-day waiting period is over. Please be
aware that your original eligibility period is not extended when re-testing.

What if I need to reschedule my exam?

 Candidates scheduled to test and then need to reschedule may log in to their Kryterion account and reschedule the test to the new date of preference. Any reschedule requests made within 72 hours of the exam date will result in a fee. The fee is $100 domestically (U.S. & Canada) and $130 internationally.

Are there alternatives to taking the exam at Kryterion? 

 Yes. NCMA offers paper exams on‐site at select national events—such as NCMA’s World Congress and the Government Contract Management Symposium. Also, your local NCMA chapter may request authorization to host paper exams on‐site. The chapter must provide a suitable exam site and an appropriate number of proctors. Candidates who opt for the paper exam pay an exam fee (in addition to the application fees above) of $50 for NCMA members and $90 for nonmembers. Exam results are generally available within 15 working days.

 

Exam Preparation

What are the recommended study materials for the CPCM™?


What are the recommended study materials for the CFCM™?

What are the recommended study materials for the CCCM™?

  •  The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) presented on the Cornell University Law School Legal
    Information Institute website
  • Any additional literature and study programs that can be mapped to the UCC

What are the recommended study materials for the CCMA?

Is the CMBOK available in digital format?

 Yes, the e-book is available from Amazon. The e-book can be viewed from Kindle, either the Kindle device or the free app that can be downloaded from your device app store.

 

 

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. When do I need to submit my completed recertification
application?

Complete recertification applications must be submitted by December 31. Recertification applications postmarked or emailed after December 31 are considered suspended. Applications submitted from January 1 to March 31 will be assessed a nonrefundable $75 late fee. During this period of suspension, you cannot claim to hold the suspended certification. Applications received after March 31 are not accepted and the certification is expired. To achieve an active certification, the current certification process must be followed. Please be aware that an incomplete application will not extend recertification deadlines.

When does recertification occur?

  • Recertification for CPCM™, CFCM™, and CCCM™ occurs every five years from the year you initially earned your certification or five years after your last recertification.
  • CCMA: Recertification occurs every three years from the year you initially earned your certification for two consecutive terms. Each second recertification requires a retest. (Ex: Earned the CCMA in
    April 2021; the three year term begins Jan 1, 2022 through Dec 31, 2024; the first recertification cycle would span Jan 1, 2025 through Dec 31, 2027; when recertifying in 2027, which is the second recertification, you would need to retake the CCMA exam.)

How much does recertification cost?

 For NCMA members, $95; and for nonmembers, $145.

What are the requirements for recertification?

To achieve recertification, candidates must submit:

  1. Completed recertification application,
  2. $95 member/$145 nonmember recertification fee, and;
  3. Evidence of new CPE being achieved:
    • CPCM™ recertifying by Dec 31, 2025 – 60 CPE within the 5-year recertification period
    • CPCM™ recertifying Dec 31, 2026 or beyond – 100 CPE within the 5-year recertification period
    • CFCM™ – 60 CPE within the 5-year recertification period
    • CCCM™ – 60 CPE within the 5-year recertification period
    • CCMA – 40 CPE within the 3-year recertification period

     

All CPE must comply with the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide. CPE may not be applied multiple times for the same certification. However, CPE may be applied to
multiple certifications (Ex: Simultaneous CPCM™ & CFCM™ recertification requires 60 CPE, not 120). 

Please retain and submit documentation of your education and training per the guidance shared in the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.

How many CPEs are required for recertification?

 To achieve recertification, candidates must submit:

  1.  Completed recertification application;
  2. $95 member/$145 nonmember recertification fee; and
    • For the CCMA: Evidence of 40 new CPE being achieved within the 3-year recertification period (and pass the CCMA exam in even numbered recertification cycles);
    • For the CFCM™ or CCCM™: Evidence of 60 new CPE being achieved within the 5-year recertification period; and 
    • For the CPCM™: Through 2025, evidence of 60 new CPE being achieved within the 5-year recertification period, and starting in 2026 evidence of 100 new CPE being achieved within the 5-year recertification period.

     All CPE must comply with the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide. CPE may not be applied multiple times for the same certification.

I have to recertify this year. When do I submit my completed recertification application?

Complete recertification applications must be submitted by December 31. Recertification applications submitted after December 31 are considered "lapsed." Applications submitted from January 1 to March 31 will be assessed a nonrefundable $75 late fee. Applications received after March 31 are not accepted and the certification is expired. To achieve an active certification, the current certification process must be followed.

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

Each certification stands on its own and there is no alignment process of certifications by NCMA. Effective 1 January 2020, NCMA Certification Oversight Body (COB) has determined that each new certification will not impact the renewal dates of existing certifications. Recertification for each certification must be done separately. However, CPE may be applied to multiple certifications (Ex: Simultaneous CPCM™ & CFCM™ recertification requires 60 CPE, not 120).

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 www.ncmahq.org and click “Log In” at the top right corner of the screen. If you have trouble accessing, you can call our Member Service Advocates at 800-344-8096 for this information.

How long does the recertification process take?

Complete and verifiable applications can take 15 business days to process. If the certificant’s application is incomplete, the process can take longer. The Certification Staff will notify those who are missing information via email when their applications are reviewed. Please keep in mind that any requests for additional information on an incomplete recertification application does not extend the deadlines of December 31 or March 31.

I can’t make my recertification deadline. Can I get an extension?

Certificants must plan accordingly and attain new CPE throughout the 5-year recertification cycle. The only “extension” is where NCMA will suspend your certification from January 1 to March 31 (a nonrefundable $75 late fee applies). During this period of suspension, you cannot claim to hold the suspended certification. 

After March 31, the suspended certification is expired. The only means of activating the certification is by starting the application process from the beginning. 

Please be aware that an incomplete application will not extend recertification deadlines.

I missed my certification deadline. Is my certification still valid?

Between the period of January 1 and March 31 following the recertification date, an additional nonrefundable fee of $75 will be assessed—$170 (NCMA members)/$220 (nonmembers) total. After
March 31, the certification(s) will be expired. If an active certification is desired, the current certification process must be followed.

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 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.

 What was the NCMA retired certification status created?

 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 (CPCM™, CFCM™, and/or CCCM™). 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 not practicing contract management and
are not pursuing applicable CPE, but still desire to display their well-earned distinction of NCMA certification.

 Who can apply for retired certification status?

 Those eligible to apply for the retired certification status must meet the following criteria:

  • The individual must hold an active CPCM™, CFCM™, and/or CCCM™ certification in good standing for
    at least 10 years;
  • Provide 60 CPE hours; and
  • The individual must be, or soon to be, separated from the contract management profession or
    related fields.

 Are there other requirements for retired certification status?

Applicants must complete the retired certification application form and include a one-time, nonrefundable $95 (NCMA member)/$145 (nonmember) application fee. Individuals with a retired certification status designation must adhere to the same Code of Ethics as active certificants and may be subject to revocation in the event of a Code violation. If the individual with the retired certification status becomes re-employed within the contract management profession or a related field, he or she must discontinue use of the retired status designation and reactivate the certification. Applicants are not required to be NCMA members to hold the retired certification status.

 What are the rights and privileges of the retired certification status?

Individuals who qualify for retired certification status may use the applicable NCMA certification (CPCM™, CFCM™, and/or CCCM™) followed by the retired designation (Retired) after their name and all forms of address to indicate their status. For example, "John Smith, CPCM (Retired)" signifies a retired CPCM™ certification.

 What are the restrictions of the retired certification status?

Retired certification designees may not use the applicable NCMA certification (CPCM™, CFCM™, and/or CCCM™) without the "(Retired)" suffix, and they are not entitled to use or hold themselves out to the
public as an active NCMA certificant. 

 Can retired certification(s) be reactivated?

Retired NCMA certifications may be reactivated under the following options:

  •  Option 1. If the application for reactivation is made within 5 years of the last date of being an NCMA certificant in good standing, the retired certificant must complete the reactivation application,
    which will include providing evidence of the applicable amount of CPE for each of the years in which the certification was retired. For example, the current requirement to recertify is 60 hours of CPE
    (an average of 12 CPE hours per year). If reactivation is requested after 3 years, the number of required CPE hours is prorated to 36 hours.
  •  Option 2. If more than 5 years has passed since the last date of being an NCMA certificant in good standing, or the requirements to reactivate are not met, the individual must meet current certification eligibility requirements by submitting a qualifying examination application and fee, and achieve a passing examination score. Please note: Reactivation of any retired NCMA certification is at the discretion of NCMA.

 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?

Yes. If you believe an incorrect decision has been made, you may file an appeal. Here are some guidelines for filing an appeal.
  • Only written appeals submitted to NCMA will be accepted for action.
  • To appeal an action or inaction, an appellant shall demonstrate that his or her due process rights were compromised and shall have a direct and material interest that is or may be adversely affected.
  • All shared information shall be treated as confidential and treated in accordance with NCMA policies and procedures concerning individual and organizational confidentiality.
  • Submissions, investigations, and decisions will be conducted fairly and impartially so as to preserve the appellant’s rights.

Please contact NCMA at [email protected] for more details.

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

Yes. Any individual may register a written complaint against a respondent. Only written complaints submitted to NCMA will be accepted for action. The written complaint must include the following information:

  • Date,
  • Stated complaint,
  • Relevant supporting materials, and
  • The complainant's phone number and email address.

All shared information shall be treated as confidential and treated in accordance with NCMA policies and procedures concerning individual and organizational confidentiality.

Please contact NCMA at [email protected] for more details.

I have lost my original certificate. How do I order another one?

Certificants can order duplicate certificates by downloading and sending in the Duplicate Certificate Order Form to NCMA HQ.

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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