How Do I Earn Contract Management Certification?
Earning contract management certification is a very important step if you’re looking to pursue or advance a career in contract management. Several different certifications are available from the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and the National Association of Government Contractors (NAGC). Each reflects a candidate’s mastery of critical government and/or commercial contract management concepts to an industry-recognized standard. While earning contract management certification takes time and effort, the expanded job prospects and increased earning potential make it well worth the investment.
Types of Contract Management Certification
The NCMA offers three different contract management certifications: Certified Commercial Contracts Manager (CCCM), Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) and Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM). In order to obtain CCCM or CFCM certification, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university, one year of work experience in the field of contract management and 80 hours of continuing professional education. You are also required to pass an exam on the relevant body of knowledge.
You may take the exam while you are still working toward the education or work experience requirements. If you pass the exam, you will receive your contract management certification as a CCCM or CFCM once you have attained the necessary work experience and continuing education credits. However, your chances of passing the contract management certification exam will be much better if you complete some level of formal training beforehand.
Obtaining CPCM certification is a bit more involved, as this designation represents mastery of all aspects of contract management – both government and commercial. If you intend to apply for CPCM certification, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited educational institution, at least five years of relevant work experience and a minimum of 120 hours of continuing professional education.
The NAGC awards the Certified Government Contractor (CGC) distinction. In order to obtain this credential, you must be a member of the NAGC, complete qualifying coursework and pass a government contract management certification exam. CGC certification is valid for one year, and recertification is contingent upon completion of continuing education credits.
Which Certification Is Right for You?
The type of contract management certification you choose to pursue will depend on several factors. Your specific work experience and the type of career path you’re hoping to follow will have a lot to do with this. Professionals with CCCM certification generally work exclusively in the private sector, while those with CFCM or CGC credential primarily deal with government contracts. Individuals with the CPCM designation are qualified to work in either field.
Most people opt to pursue either government or commercial contract management certification toward the beginning of their careers, and apply for CPCM certification after they have attained five years of work experience. Whichever contract management certification you choose, having official industry recognition of your expertise will be a tremendous asset as you look to advance your career in this field.
Continuing Professional Education for Contract Managers
Because all of the contract management certifications require continuing professional education as well as an exam, your best option is to enroll in a training program that counts toward continuing education credits and prepares you for the industry exams. Many successful contract management professionals have chosen to obtain their training 100% online through Villanova University.
Recognized as a leader in online professional education, Villanova offers a Master Certificate in Government Contract Management and a Master Certificate in Commercial Contract Management. Each program consists of three online certificate courses that prepare professionals for the contract management certification exams and count as continuing education credit for both the NCMA and NAGC.
Through Villanova’s proven, video-based e-learning platform, you’ll be able to:
- Learn from a team of expert instructors with extensive experience in their respective fields
- View lectures any time of the day or night via streaming video, MP4 file downloads or CD-ROM
- Interact with online faculty and fellow students through innovative tools like virtual whiteboards, instant two-way voice over IP (VOIP), online message boards, live chat rooms and a dedicated email system
- Complete all coursework and take exams 100% online, 24/7
With Villanova’s flexible online training programs, you can choose to emphasize either government contract management or commercial contract management, making it even easier to tailor your education to your specific career goals. Not only will you prepare to earn contract management certification from the NCMA or NAGC, but you’ll also earn prestigious credentials from the #1 Regional University in the North as ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 20 years.