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.
- CPCM: $210 Members / $410 Nonmembers
- CFCM: $150 Members / $350 Nonmembers
- CCCM: $150 Members / $350 Nonmembers
Each examination costs $125 in the U.S. & Canada; and $150 internationally. Exam results are available immediately after you test.
All exams are competency‐based and objective‐type questions, listed in a multiple-choice format. The time limit is four hours.
The 150-question CFCM exam is based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Special emphasis is placed on FAR Parts 12 and 15. All FAR Parts are fair game on the exam EXCEPT Parts 26, 29, 34, 48, 50, 41, and 51. A passing score for the CFCM exam is a minimum of 70% correct answers. The CFCM certification is most appropriate for contracting professionals in both the public and private sectors who deal extensively with federal contracts and have a minimum of one year of experience. The CFCM Study Guide, Third Edition includes 150 sample questions.
The 150-question CCCM exam is based on the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). A passing score for the CCCM exam is a minimum of 70% correct answers. Disclaimer: The adoption and application of the UCC varies from state to state. For the purposes of the CCCM examination, all questions are drawn from a site maintained by the Legal Information Institute of the Cornell University Law School. The CCCM certification is most appropriate for contracting professionals who deal with commercial contracts and have a minimum of one year of experience.
The 180-question CPCM exam covers the following contract management competencies (See the Contract Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Edition):
- Guiding Principles
All questions are objective-type; however, some will be based on scenarios. The CPCM certification is most appropriate for contracting professionals who have mastered most of the contract management competencies in the Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK), have extensive business education and training, and have a minimum of 5 years of experience. A passing score for the CPCM exam is a minimum of 70% correct answers. NOTE: Study guides are designed to assist the candidate in preparing for examinations, but do not necessarily contain the exact questions found on the tests.
They are not. DAWIA and FAC-C are prescribed as minimums for federal employees. NCMA certifications are over and above the minimum requirements for DAWIA/FAC-C certifications. DAWIA and FAC-C certifications may, however, be counted toward meeting the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements for NCMA certification candidacy.
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 10 years of verifiable contract management experience may request a waiver. There is no degree waiver for CPCM candidates.
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.
Exams are administered multiple times each week at Kryterion Testing Centers, depending on the examination site chosen. You must have an NCMA‐approved application before being allowed to schedule and sit for your exam.
Three. If a candidate fails the exam a third time, he or she must reapply and be approved before being readmitted to candidacy.
In the event that a candidate is scheduled to test and needs to reschedule his or her exam, the candidate may log in to his or her Kryterion account and move the test to the date of his or her choosing. Any reschedule requests that are made within 72 hours of the exam date will result in a fee. The cost is $100 domestically (U.S. & Canada) and $130 internationally.
If you are unsuccessful, you need to wait 30 days before you will be able to log back in to your Kryterion account, schedule your next test, and pay the 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.
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.
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.
For the CFCM and CCCM, you will need one year 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.
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.
Candidates may submit records of training received for evaluation by NCMA. CPE credit will be awarded based on NCMA’s “Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Guide.” Successfully completed college courses beyond undergraduate degree requirements may be eligible. The conversion formula is 15 CPE for each semester hour, or 10 CPE for each quarter hour. As an example, if you completed a three‐hour graduate business course, this would qualify for 45 CPE if it was completed in a semester (3 x 15), or 30 CPE if it was completed in a quarter (3 x 10). For relevant courses completed through the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), the conversion factor is one CPE per Continuous Learning Point (CLP).
All materials are available from the NCMA Bookstore unless otherwise noted.
- The Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK), 5th Edition
- The Desktop Guide to FAR Essentials
- The Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) Study Guide, Third Edition
- The Desktop Guide to FAR Essentials
The Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK), 5th Edition
The Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute web site.
The Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK), 5th Edition
Recertification occurs every five years from the year you initially earned your certification or five years after your last recertification.
Recertification applications are to be completed and sent in by December 31. Recertification applications postmarked after December 31 are considered "lapsed" (please see the related FAQ regarding lost certificates).
For NCMA members, $95; and for nonmembers, $145.
Those who hold more than one certification will have their recertification date extended to coincide with the second recertification date. They will be required to submit one application and pay one fee. Furthermore, 60 CPE will satisfy the recertification requirements for all NCMA designations held. All certifications must be current (not expired) to be eligible for this option.
A total of 60 hours of instruction, earned over the five-year renewal period is required to qualify for recertification.
Recertification candidates must send in:
- Completed recertification application,
- $95/$145 recertification fee, and
- Supporting documentation verifying 60 CPE.
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.
If the application is complete, the entire recertification application review process can take 15 business days. During the Certification's busy season (September–March), the review process can take an additional 5 to 10 business days (20–25 days). If the candidate's application is incomplete or missing information, the process can take longer. The Certification Department will notify those who are missing information via email when their applications are reviewed.
Candidates who know they are not going to complete the requirements for recertification can request an extension to the Certification Department via email. Include in your email your contact information and reasons why you cannot meet the eligibility deadline. Please be aware that granting extensions are for extreme circumstances and are NOT guaranteed.
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.
Designees who are deployed overseas may request to the Certification Department that their recertification period be extended if they are deployed on an assignment during which they will be unable to satisfy the 60-hour CPE requirement in the five-year renewal period.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours may be earned in several different ways. Attendance at university or college courses, seminars, workshops, and conferences are some of those ways. For a more detailed explanation of CPE, view the Continuing Professional Education Guide.
For recertification of CPCM, CFCM, and/or CCCM, 60 CPE hours are required for every five-year recertification period.
Please reference our “Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Guide.”
- NCMA educational events at the chapter, region, and National level, including but not limited to conferences, workshops, and education-oriented meetings.
- NCMA education courses such as National Education Seminars (NES), Audio Seminars, and e-Learning.
- Similar educational events and training experiences from other groups—including, but not limited to, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the National Institute for Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), the Project Management Institute (PMI), the National Property Management Association (NPMA), the American Bar Association (ABA), or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
- Formal training offered by federal, state, and local governments.
- Formal training offered by colleges, universities, and private providers—including, but not limited to, NCMA Educational Partners listed here or documented internal training programs of governmental organizations and private employers.
NCMA uses the following conversion for CPEs:
1 CPE = 50 mins or 1 hour of classroom instruction
1 CEU = 10 CPEs
1 college/semester credit = 15 CPEs
No. CPE hours do not have to be earned through any specific institution, school, association, or group.
NCMA must see documentation that will verify (1) your attendance at a function/event and (2) the number of hours spent in that event. Here are examples of acceptable documentation:
- For a chapter meeting, a copy of the attendance roster or a brief description of the nature and length of the meeting. Please note that only 30 hours of the 60 required hours for recertification can be achieved through chapter meetings.
- For a course at the college level, transcripts (official or unofficial) from the institution detailing the date(s) of the course, the number of credit hours, and indication of successful completion.
- For a conference, a certificate of attendance (preferred) or an attendance list and description of the topics covered, dates held, and number of hours or sessions attended.
- Federal employees and military members who are FAC-C or DAWIA certified need only document that their certifications are current. It is not necessary to provide completion certificates for each course. Any personnel record reflecting a current FAC-C or DAWIA certification is acceptable.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rights Of Certification Candidates
- 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 unbiased manner.
- Have your examination scores be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law.
- Address any concerns you might have about the examination or the examination process.
- Appeal any decision of the Director of Certification to the Contract Management Board of Examiners.
Certificants can order duplicate certificates by downloading and sending in the Duplicate Certificate Order Form to NCMA HQ.
Certificants will need to send in a completed Duplicate Certificate Order Form along with a copy of an official name change document such as a marriage license.