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.
Jump to the Topic
*Please Note: Due to restrictions mandated by ANSI, NCMA can not extend the expiration date of NCMA certifications for any reason.
Rights & Expectations
- 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 NCMA Certification Staff.
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.
- CPCM: $210 Members / $410 Nonmembers
- CFCM: $150 Members / $350 Nonmembers
- CCCM: $150 Members / $350 Nonmembers
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.
What You Need to Know About 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.
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.
Please see section “3.0 Acceptable Programs and Activities” of the Contract Management Continuing Professional Education Guide.
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.
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.
Certification Program Requirements
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
Exams are administered continuously 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.
**Due to closures of testing centers related to COVID-19 precaution measures, expiring applications are now extended to June 30, 2020.**
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.
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.
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.
**Due to closures of testing centers related to COVID-19 precaution measures, expiring applications are now extended to September 30, 2020.**
No. The only means of taking NCMA certifications exams is at Kryterion tests centers.
- The Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) Study Guide, Third Edition
- The Desktop Guide to FAR Essentials
- The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
- Any additional literature and study programs that can be mapped to the FAR
- 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
For NCMA members, $95; and for nonmembers, $145.
To achieve recertification, candidates must submit:
- Completed recertification application,
- $95member/$145nonmember recertification fee, and
- Evidence of 60 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.
For recertification of CPCM, CFCM, and/or CCCM, 60 CPE are required for every 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.
Complete recertification applications must be submitted by December 31. Recertification applications postmarked or emailed 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.
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.
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.
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.
Certificants must plan accordingly and attain new CPE throughout the 5-year recertification cycle. The only “extension” is where NCMA automatically allows a late period from January 1 to March 31 (a nonrefundable $75 late fee applies).
Due to restrictions mandated by ANSI, NCMA can not process recertification after March 31 nor extend the expiration date of NCMA certifications for any reason.
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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:
- 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@example.com for more details.
Certificants can order duplicate certificates by downloading and sending in the Duplicate Certificate Order Form to NCMA HQ.
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.
Once you earn your credential, you will receive an email from Accredible. That email will outline how to access your digital certificate.
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.
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.