Contract Manager Certification

Securing contract manager certification means that you have demonstrated educational requirements and possess up-to-date professional knowledge. Learn about program options along with continuing education requirements. Schools offering Procurement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Contract Manager Certification?

The National Contact Manager Association (NCMA) is the governing organization for contract management certificates. Once you meet the prerequisites set forth by the NCMA and pass a designation-specific examination, you can earn one of three titles: Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM), Certified Commercial Contracts Manager (CCCM) or Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM).

To become a CFCM, you must pass an exam that tests your competency of Federal Acquisition Regulation. The CCCM exam tests your knowledge of the Uniform Commercial Code. A successful CPCM score shows that you meet the highest level of professional knowledge standards set by the NCMA.

Certification TitlesCertified Federal Contracts Manager, Certified Commercial Contracts Manager, Certified Professional Contracts Manager
PrerequisitesBachelor's degree, one year of professional experience, 80-120 continuing education hours
Exam SectionsPlanning/strategy and administration, contract principles, specialized knowledge, general business
Continuing Education OptionsIndependent study, teaching, publishing, professional speaking

What Are the Prerequisites?

For all certifications, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in any subject from an accredited U.S. institution. For federal and commercial contract managers, you must have at least one year of professional experience in contract management and complete 80 continuing professional education (CPE) hours. While you may take the certification exam before meeting the professional and continuing education requirements, you don't receive the designation until you complete all the requirements. If you have more than ten years of experience in contract management, you may apply for an education waiver for the CFCM and CCCM credentials.

The CPCM is the highest level of certification the NCMA awards. In addition to the required bachelor's degree, you must also have five years of experience in the field of contract management. This certification level requires you to complete 120 CPE hours. There are no waivers given, and you must complete all prerequisites before your examination.

How Is the Examination Structured?

The CFCM and CCCM exams are composed of 150 objective multiple-choice questions based on your competency in the respective contract management areas. The CPCM exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions in the four areas of planning/strategy and administration, contract principles, specialized knowledge and general business. For all three exams, you must score at least 70%. The NCMA publishes official study guides for all examinations.

What Is Continuing Professional Education?

Because the contract management field is complex and continually changing, the NCMA requires you to complete certain education requirements before receiving a designation. While the NCMA has no set criteria for educational programs, your CPE hours must contribute to your professional proficiency. One way to complete these hours is through online or in-class courses from college's extension or professional studies programs. You must also provide documentation of your CPE hours. The NCMA states CPE hours can also be earned in the following formats:

  • Independent study
  • Group programs
  • Teaching
  • Serving as a professional speaker
  • Publishing content in your field

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