Certification Frequently Asked Questions


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

  • CPCM: $210 Member Benefit Fee / $410 Regular Fee
  • CFCM: $150 Member Benefit Fee / $350 Regular Fee
  • CCCM: $150 Member Benefit Fee / $350 Regular Fee

What is the cost to take an exam at Kryterion?

Each examination costs $125 in the US & Canada; and $150 internationally. Exam results are available immediately after you test.

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

All exams are competency‐based and objective‐type, multiple choice. The time limit is four hours.

The 150 question CFCM exam is based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation. 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. 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 Articles 1, 2 and 2a. 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 purpose of the CCCM examination all questions are drawn from, a site maintained by 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): 

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Guiding Principles
  • Pre-Award
  • Award
  • Post-award
  • Learn

All questions are objective-type, however, some will be based on scenarios. The CPCM certification is most appropriate for contracting professionals who have mastered the majority 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. 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.

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

They are not. DAWIA and FAC-C are prescribed as minimums for federal employees. NCMA certifications are over and above the minimum DAWIA/FAC-C certifications. DAWIA and FAC-C certifications may, however, be counted toward meeting the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirement for NCMA certification candidacy.

What is the level of education required to become certified?

A minimum of a bachelor's degree of any type from a regionally accredited college or university is required. Degrees from institutions outside the United States will be evaluated on a case‐by‐case basis by the NCMA Certification Department. Non‐degreed candidates for the CFCM and CCCM who have ten years of verifiable contract management experience 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, Foreign Credits, 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 which 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.

How are exams administered?

Exams are administered multiple times each week, depending on the examination site chosen at Kryterion Learning Centers. You must have an NCMA‐approved application before being allowed to schedule and sit for your exam.

How many chances do I have to pass my exam?

Three. If a candidate fails their exam a third time, they must reapply and be approved before being readmitted to candidacy.

What if I need to reschedule my exam?

In the event that a candidate is scheduled to test through Kryterion and needs to reschedule their exam, they must contact the certification department directly. Any reschedule requests that are made within 72 hours of the test date will result in a fee. The cost is $100 domestically and $130 internationally.

Are there alternatives to taking the exam at Kryterion?

Yes. NCMA offers paper exams on‐site at its annual World Congress, at the Government Contract Management Symposium in the fall and at other selected locations. 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 members and $90 for non‐members. Exam results are generally available within 15 working days.

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.

What is the work experience required to become certified?

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.

What is the training required to become certified?

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.

What qualifies as CPE?

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 3‐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). Relevant courses completed through the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). The conversion factor is one CPE per Continuous Learning Point (CLP).

What are the recommended study materials for each exam? (All materials are available from the NCMA Bookstore unless otherwise noted.)  

What are the recommended study materials for the CPCM?

  • The Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK), 5th Edition
  • The Desktop Guide to Basic Contracting Terms, 7th Edition
  • The Desktop Guide to FAR Essentials

What are the recommended study materials for the CFCM?

  • The Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) Study Guide, Third Edition
  • The Desktop Guide to Basic Contracting Terms, 7th Edition
  • The Desktop Guide to FAR Essentials

What are the optional study materials for the CFCM?

  • The Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK), 5th Edition

What are the recommended study materials for the CCCM?

  • Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute web site.

What are the optional study materials for the CCCM

  • The Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK), 5th Edition

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When does recertification occur?

Recertification occurs every five years from the year you initially earned your certification or five years after your last recertification.

I have to recertify this year; when do I need to submit my complete recertification application?

Recertification applications are to be completed and sent in by December 31st. Recertification applications postmarked after December 31st are considered "lapsed" (please see the related FAQ regarding lost certificates).

How much does recertification cost?

For members, $95 and non-members, $145.

I have multiple NCMA certifications; can I recertify for all of them at the same time?

Those who hold more than one certification will have their recertification date extended to coincide with the second recertification date. Those people will be required to submit one application and pay one fee. Furthermore, 60 CPEs will satisfy the recertification requirements for all NCMA designations held. All certifications must be current (not expired) to be eligible for this option.

What are the requirements for recertification?

A total of 60 hours of instruction, earned over the five-year renewal period is required in order to qualify for recertification.

Recertification candidates must send in:

  • Completed recertification application,
  • $95/$145 recertification fee, and
  • Supporting documentation verifying 60 CPE hours.

I can't remember my certification date and/or certification number, how do I find that out?

Candidates can call Member Services at 800-344-8096 for this information.

How long does the recertification process take?

If the application is complete, the entire recertification application review process can take up 2-4 weeks. During the Certification's busy season (September-March), the review process can take up to 3-8 weeks. 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 application is reviewed.

I can't make my recertification deadline-can I get an extension?

Candidates who know that they are not going to complete the requirements for recertification can request an extension to the Certification Department. 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.

I missed my recertification deadline; is my certification still valid?

Between the period of January 1 and March 31 following the recertification date, an additional nonfundable fee of $300 will be assessed – $395/$445 total. After March 31, the certification(s) will be expired. If an active certification is desired, the current certification process must be followed.

I lost my certificates from NCMA-sponsored conferences, seminars, courses, etc...can I get a transcript from NCMA?

At present, no; though we plan to have this service at some point in the future. If this presents a problem for you in satisfying the CPE requirements for certification or recertification, please contact the Education Department providing as many details as possible; the NCMA staff will work with you to resolve the situation. Certificants asking for information for NCMA events attended after 2003 can contact our meetings department at 800-344-8096 ext. 408 for attendance record information.

What about overseas deployment?

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.

What is the responsibility of the individual Certificant?

Individuals are responsible for (1) seeking opportunities for CPE hours, (2) successfully completing CPE programs and activities, (3) maintaining documentation of the CPE hours completed, and (4) monitoring their own progress toward meeting the CPE requirements.

NCMA will not "hold" and/or maintain Recertification applications and CPE documentation for candidates during the five-year recertification period. Recertification applications are only accepted during the last year of the certificant's recertification period.

*Applications received without payment will be held for only 60 days.

What do you mean by hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE)?

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours may be earned in several different ways. Attendances at university or college courses, seminars, workshops, and conferences are some of those ways. For a more detailed explanation of continuing professional education, click here.

How many CPE's are required for recertification?

For recertification of CFCM, CCCM and/or CPCM, 60 CPE hours are required for every five-year recertification period.

What subject areas can be counted toward the CPE's?

Contract Management, Purchasing, Finance, Accounting, Ethics, Marketing, Business Law, Management, Operations Management, Economics, Quantitative Methods.

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

  • 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 the National Education Seminars (NES), Audio Seminars (AS), and e-Learning.
  • Similar educational events and training experiences from other similar groups to include, but not limited to, Institute for Supply Management (ISM), National Institute for Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), Project Management Institute (PMI), National Property Management Association (NPMA), American Bar Association (ABA), 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 such as, but not limited to, NCMA Educational Partners listed here. Documented internal training programs of governmental organizations and private employers.

How are CPE's measured by NCMA?

NCMA uses the following conversion for CPE's:
1 CPE = 50 mins or 1 hour of classroom instruction
1 CEU = 10 CPE's
1 college/semester credit = 15 CPE's
1 full day seminar = 7 CPE's (unless otherwise stated on your transcript/certificate)

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 institution, school, association or group.

What kind of documentation do I need to send in with my recertification application to verify my 60 CPE hours?

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.

During my recertification period, I earned a college degree; can those courses count toward the 60 CPE requirement?

Yes, courses related to contract and business management courses can count toward the 60 CPE hours. For a list of acceptable subjects, please refer to the document CPE Requirements.

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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 continuing professional education requirements of the active certifications, which may no longer provide value to a retired individual.

Why 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 continuing professional education (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.

Does the deactivation of my lifetime NCMA certification impact my lifetime NCMA membership?


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 $150 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 continuing professional education (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 fees, and achieving 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 continuing professional education. Also, a retired certificant may not meet current eligibility requirements at the time they may apply to retest.

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NCMA Certification Candidate's Rights

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

  1. Be treated impartially and with courtesy and respect regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.
  2. Know the type of examination to be taken, the source of the questions, and the cost of all associated certification fees.
  3. Know the time, date, and place where the examination will be administered.
  4. Know when the results of the examination will be available to you.
  5. Have your examination administered and evaluated in a professional and unbiased manner.
  6. Have confidentiality of your examination scores to the extent allowed by law.
  7. Address any concerns you might have about the examination or the examination process.
  8. Appeal any decision of the Director of Certification to the Contract Management Board of Examiners.

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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?

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.

I have moved and would like to update my information, whom do I contact?

To update your contact information, certificants can contact NCMA Customer Service at 800-344-8096

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