Learning Pathways

NCMA Online Training Courses for All Skill LevelsNCMA Learning Pathways were created to help guide acquisition team members in their professional journey. This program was designed by our experts to provide high-quality contract management training for individuals at each skill level—foundational, professional, and strategic.

Online Training Courses for Contract Management Professionals of All Levels

Foundational Path Courses

The Foundational path features training courses that provide contract managers and other acquisition professionals with a solid foundation for a career in acquisition. New to the profession, looking for a refresher, or wanting to strengthen your foundational knowledge? This path is for you!

NCMA Online Training for Contract Professionals

30 Things Every Contractor Needs to Know About the FAR

This online course provides an orientation to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It is perfect for industry employees new to government acquisition and interested in forming a high-level knowledge baseline of the FAR.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 3.0 Guiding Principles; 3.4 Regulatory Compliance

Best Practices for Preparing Responsive Proposals

This e-course presents key financial elements of closing multiple types of contracts, including how final negotiated indirect rates affect flexibly priced contracts. Participants will learn the effects of untimely audits, settlement of multiple fiscal years, and record retention policies, as well as specific audit risks related to a number of these factors, and recent government policy updates related to contract closeout.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 4.0 Pre-Award; 4.4 Develop Win Strategy

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Environment

In this course, you will become oriented to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) - the system established for the codification and publication of uniform policies and procedures for federal acquisitions. You will learn the FAR's structure and purpose, as well as practical skills needed to apply, reference, and navigate its key principles and requirements.

Earn 4 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 3.4 Regulatory Compliance


Professional Path Courses

The Professional path contains training designed for professionals who want a deep dive into specific acquisition topics. Already have a solid foundation and looking to advance your knowledge and skills in complex areas of the contracting profession? This path is for you!  

NCMA Online Training for Contract Professionals

NEW COURSE! “Buying Time”: The Pricing of Labor Rates

With T&M and labor-hour contracting coming slightly back into favor, acquisition professionals are finding situations where hourly rates for services make sound business sense. With that comes the need to establish fair and reasonable pricing for hourly rates. This course focuses on the price analysis of labor-hours, as well as tools, tricks, and tips for conducting a well-rounded price analysis. Attendees will leave with an analysis tool developed by DCMA’s Commercial Item Group, which can be used as a data point in the price analysis process.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 5.0 Award


NEW COURSE! Troubleshooting the 9 Biggest Service Contract Pitfalls

The Service Contract Labor Standards statute often surprises contractors with its complexities. This course explores practical examples of the most common service contract pitfalls including classifying employees, paying correct wages, administering and calculating health and welfare, vacation, sick leave, part-time benefits, increases, collective bargaining agreements, etc. With each pitfall, you will learn practical “how to's” to help you develop solutions that will work for your organization.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 3.0 Guiding Principles

Process and Principles of Interpreting Disputed Contracts

Disputes related to contract interpretation principles are the most frequent source of contract litigation! All contracting professionals should be well-versed in these principles. For example, did you know that specifically- negotiated terms prevail over boilerplate language? Or that that the way people carry out the contract could contribute to how the contract language will be interpreted? This course uses specific examples and cases to examine important considerations when interpreting contracts, the interpretation process, and the principles that apply.

In this course, you will learn to:

  • Interpret contract clauses using seven principles of interpretation—“The Plain Meaning Rule,” “The Parole Evidence Rule,” and the “Doctrine of Contra Proferentem“ (and its federal exception), to name a few;
  • Navigate the judicial process for contract interpretation;
  • Consider the appropriate key issues leading up to a contract interpretation;
  • Apply interpretation principles to the words of the contract and to matters outside the words of the contract (and how to know which is which); and
  • Predict how courts may resolve ambiguous contracts.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 6.0 Post Award

Commercial IT Contracts: Bridging the FAR Gap

Federal buyers and commercial IT sellers often clash over FAR-mandated clauses and contract terms. In this course we will highlight some real-life disputes, what is negotiable and what is not, and offer advice to buyers and sellers (mostly sellers) on how to bridge the gap.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 3.0 Guiding Principles; 5.0 Award; 6.0 Post Award

Prime and Subcontractor Management of Government Property

When it comes to government property, the application of the proper flow-down requirements from the prime contractor to the subcontractor are often hidden among and between various clausal requirements. This intermediate level course will provide careful analysis of both the prime’s and sub’s responsibilities regarding government property in their possession—including property management and risk of loss and liability provisions.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 5.0 Award; 5.2 Conduct Negotiations

Win-Win Negotiations: Effective Strategies and Tactics for the Best Outcome

One of the most vital skills required in procurement is the ability to negotiate contracts effectively. This online course provides the strategies and tactics that are essential to the process, while building the skills needed to cultivate long-term relationships.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 5.0 Award; 5.2 Conduct Negotiations

Managing Risk Through Contract Type Selection

A wide selection of contract types is available to the government and contractors to provide needed, and often required flexibility in the government’s acquisition of supplies and services. This online course explains how contract selection during the acquisition planning phase is critical to selecting the compensation arrangement to motivate both parties and lead to mission success.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 2.0 Management; 2.4 Risk Management; 4.0 Pre-Award; 4.1 Acquisition Planning

IP Protection and Cybersecurity in the Supply Chain

The rise of the digital supply chain and proliferation of data moving across platforms and among parties requires a new and different kind of umbrella of trust—one that enables increased visibility, agility, and performance. The number of cybersecurity breaches is growing every year, and many are the result of weak security links in the supply chain. This online course will examine how contract managers can help to proactively reduce cybersecurity risks and the related loss of IP, trade secrets, and confidential information.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 2.0 Management; 2.5 Supply Chain Management

Acquisition of Commercial Items

This e-course examines the ins and outs of commercial item acquisition, with a focus on speeding up the acquisition process, the evolution of National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAAs), and market research. Participants will understand what a “commercial item” is (per FAR 2.101), how to conduct a proper “commercial item” evaluation, and how to properly perform price analysis to determine a fair and reasonable price.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency 4.0 Pre-Award; 4.1 Acquisition Planning; 3.0 Guiding Principles; 3.4 Regulatory Compliance; 5.0 Award; 5.1 Cost or Price analysis

Strategies for Maximizing Buyer/Seller Pre-Award Communication

Market research is the key to effective communication between buyers and sellers. This e-course provides specific strategies for conducting and leveraging effective market research for the meaningful exchange of information between buyers and sellers to produce the best contract outcomes.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency 4.0 Pre-Award; 4.1 Acquisition Planning; 4.2 Requesting Officers; 4.3 Business Development

Contract Changes Pitfalls to Avoid

Contract changes present several challenges to contract administrators on both the buying and selling sides. This e-course identifies several common issues that often arise, including out-of-scope changes, unpriced changes, and de-scoping the contract effort.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
6.0 Post-Award; 6.4 Manage Changes

Key Subcontract Flowdown Clauses: How to Manage Them from Prime and Sub Perspectives

The successful performance of a subcontract depends on both the prime contractor and the subcontractor knowing the responsibilities required under the prime’s flowdown clauses. This e-course discusses these significant responsibilities, and how managing them effectively leads to the best outcomes for both primes and subs.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
6.0 Post-Award; 6.3 Subcontract Management

Government Contract Compliance: Enforcement Methods and Tools for Building Your Compliance Program

Proactive government contract compliance starts with a compliance program. This intermediate-level course will specify the whys, whens, and hows of compliance in an increasingly sanction-oriented environment. With attention to the specifics of compliance programs and real-life examples, this course will help contractors navigate the many twists and turns of government contracting.

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 3.0 Guiding Principles; 3.3 Standards of Conduct, 3.4 Regulatory Compliance

Developing a Negotiation Strategy

Have you ever negotiated without a plan? If so, there’s a good chance there were unwelcome surprises and less-than-advantageous results. Successful negotiations require a comprehensive strategy. In this case study–driven course, you play the role of lead negotiator and take seven steps toward developing a negotiation strategy, from conducting market research to establishing clear targets, ranges, and alternatives.

Earn 4 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency: 5.0 Award; 5.2 Conduct Negotiations

Strategic Path Courses

The Strategic path features training designed for professionals who want to amplify their strategic impact within their organizations. Looking to take your leadership, management, or communication skills to the next level? This path is for you! 

Preparing to be a Leader: The Seven Cs of Leadership for Contract Managers

Leadership is one of the most important, influential, and inspirational activities one can perform. This online course examines seven major factors of successful contract management leadership from an experienced, successful leader. 

Earn 2 CPEs/CLPs.
CMBOK Competency 1.0 Leadership