Become a CPSM®

The Most Recognized Supply Management Certification

CPSM® is globally recognized as the gold standard of excellence for supply management professionals. Developed by ISM, the leader in supply management education, the CPSM® credential is recognized across industries. Created from in-depth analysis of supply management functions, this premier supply management training experience addresses the realities of supply management, as well as workplace complexities including globalization, use of technology, and expanded competencies that supply chain and procurement professionals employ to drive value in their organizations.

The Steps to Achieving Your CPSM®

  • Step 1: Know the Criteria (Eligibility Requirements)

    You will need the following professional experience and/or education:

    • Three years of full-time, professional supply management experience (non-clerical and nonsupport) with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or international equivalent;
    • -OR-
    • Five years of full-time, professional supply management experience (non-clerical and nonsupport) without a qualified bachelor's degree.

    Download Certification Guidebook

  • Step 2: Get Help Preparing for Exams

    There are three exams to prepare for with the CPSM. They include:

    • Supply Management Core (180 Questions — 3 hours)
    • Supply Management Integration (165 Questions — 2.75 hours)
    • Leadership and Transformation in Supply Management (165 Questions — 2.75 hours)

    We have various study options available to assist you in preparing for your exam.

    SELF-STUDY

    Study at your own pace. There are multiple options based on your learning preference and budget. 

    View Individual Exam Learning Systems View CPSM Learning System Bundle CPSM Print Learning System Bundle

    LIVE ONLINE (GUIDED LEARNING)

    Interact with fellow students, get digital prep material and have live online instruction from a subject-matter expert. The scheduled sessions keep you on track for completing your certification.

    View Schedule View CPSM Accelerated Course Bundle
  • Step 3: You’re Ready! Now Purchase and Schedule Your Exams

    You are prepared and now it’s time to purchase and schedule your exam. Exam testing facilities are located throughout the world or we offer proctored exam options that you can take from the comfort of your own home. See step-by-step instructions for purchasing and scheduling your exams as well as detailed exam information here.

    PURCHASE EXAMS

    Purchase English, Chinese, or Korean Exams.

    Purchase Spanish Exams

    SCHEDULE EXAMS

    To schedule your exam, go to our partner, PeasonVue’s website at: https://home.pearsonvue.com/ism

     

  • Step 4: You Passed! Submit Your Application

    You completed the toughest part. Congratulations! Now it is time to complete and submit your application. Here are the items you will need to complete and process your certification application:

    • Proof of education (Copy of diploma, transcripts)
    • Work background/experience
    • Complete and pass all required exams
    • Payment information for processing fee
    Access Application

Ready to Begin Your CPSM® Journey?

Congratulations! Deciding to become CPSM® certified is an important decision and one that will pay off for years to come, both in income and career advancement. With an ISM CPSM® credential, you’ll join an elite group of supply management professionals who have attained the industry’s leading credential.

Get Started Today!

CPSM® Frequently Asked Questions

What are the criteria to obtain the CPSM®?

3 years full-time, professional supply management experience (nonclerical, nonsupport) with a regionally accredited1 bachelor's degree OR 5 years of supply management experience (nonclerical, nonsupport) without a degree.

 

Pass 3 CPSM® Exams.

 

1 Regionally accredited means that your bachelor's degree was earned from a college or university that is recognized by one of the six U.S. accrediting organizations listed with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Please email the Certification Department if you have questions regarding your degree.

What is considered acceptable work experience?

Full-time professional experience where supply management, procurement or supply chain is the primary job function. Clerical and support roles do not apply. Candidates can submit a Work Experience Evaluation if they are unsure if their experience qualifies. This evaluation is optional and a fee will apply. You can find the work experience review form and instructions here.

Do I have to have the required experience before I can take the exams?

No. Exam scores are valid for 4 years from the test date. You can take the exams as you work towards your experience and/or degree.

What is the average cost to obtain the CPSM®?

The average cost for ISM members ranges from $1,800 - $3,370 USD. The average cost for nonmembers are $2,760 - $4,420 USD. ISM membership is not required to become a CPSM®, however significant savings, along with a host of member benefits are enjoyed by ISM members. Click here for information about joining as an ISM member.

Do you offer reimbursement through the GI Bill?

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reimburses for CPSM® Exam fees.

 

Our exams are specifically approved for the GI Bill. The VA can pay only for the cost of the tests and not other fees connected with obtaining the or CPSM® (study materials, application fees, etc.).

 

ACCORDING TO THE GI BILL WEB SITE, YOU MAY RECEIVE THIS BENEFIT IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR:

The Montgomery GI Bill (also called the MGIB or Chapter 30)

 

  • VEAP (also called Chapter 32), or

 

  • Dependents Educational Assistance (also called DEA or Chapter 35) (DEA is a benefit for children, spouses, and surviving spouses of veterans with 100% service-connected disability or who died in service or due to service-connected disability.)

 

You can receive up to $2,000 per test (but not more than the cost of the test). There is no limit to the number of tests you can take.

 

For more details please visit http://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildSearchLCCriteria.do. When using the search feature, keep in mind that ISM is located in the state of Arizona.

How long will it take to get my CPSM®?

Timeframes vary based upon candidates’ study program. For those who are self-paced learners, the average is approximately 6 – 12 months to completion, depending on experience and time available to study.

What content is covered in the CPSM® Exams?

There are three CPSM® Exams. Below is a break-down of the exam by sections, with the number of questions and time allowed. See the Exam Specifications for further details.

 

Supply Management Core

Section Name                                                                               # of Questions

Sourcing                                                                                         50

Category Management                                                               10

Negotiation                                                                                   14

Legal & Contractual                                                                     21

Supplier Relationship Mgmt                                                      43

Cost & Price Mgmt                                                                      10

Financial Analysis                                                                           9

180 Questions

165 Scored | 15 Unscored

3 Hours

 

Supply Management Integration

Section Name                                                                               # of Questions

Supply Chain Strategy                                                                 25

Sales and Operations Planning – Demand Planning            10

Sales and Operations Planning – Forecasting                       25

Sales and Operations Planning – Product and Service       15

Quality Management                                                                  14

Logistics & Material Mgmt                                                        53

Project Management                                                                    8

 

165 Questions

150 Scored | 15 Unscored

2 Hours, 45 Minutes

 

Leadership and Transformation in Supply Management

Section Name                                                                               # of Questions

Leadership and Business Acumen – Strategy Development       18

Leadership and Business Acumen – Stakeholder Engagement  25

Leadership and Business Acumen – People Development and Coaching 39

Systems Capability & Technology                                                      11

Risk & Compliance                                                                                 33

Corporate Social Responsibility                                                          24

 

165 Questions

150 Scored | 15 Unscored

2 Hours, 45 Minutes

 

How are the Exams scored? What is passing?

ISM maintains multiple versions, or forms, of the exam. While the content of the exam remains constant, the actual questions used in the exam will change. Different forms of the exam use different questions, the level of difficulty will vary slightly from test to test. To compensate for these variations, a statistical procedure known as equating is used to account for differences in test difficulty. The passing score is not calculated based upon percentages.

For example, let's suppose we have two test forms of an exam — Test A and Test B. Now suppose it is established that in order to pass Test A, a person must answer 32 out of 60 questions correct. Furthermore, suppose that Test B is somewhat easier than Test A. To compensate for this difference, the passing score for Test B is adjusted to prevent any "bonus" being given to the candidates taking Test B. Thus, it may be established that a candidate must get a score of 34 out of 60 on Test B in order to pass. This is test equating. It holds candidates to the same standard in terms of difficulty, regardless of which version is taken.

Due to this method of equating the percentage of correct answers varies from exam to exam. Then, to maintain consistency in scoring, a second statistical procedure called scaling is used. Scaling converts all scores to a scale ranging from 100 to 600 with a passing score set at 400. Thus, the scores you receive from ISM are actually scaled scores. If the scaled score on the Supply Management Core Exam ranges from 100 to 390, this means you failed that Exam. If the scaled score is in the range of 400 to 600, you passed that Exam. Scaling on the CPSD Essentials in Supplier Diversity exam follows this same methodology.

What do I do if I fail an exam?

If you fail an exam, you should use the score report that you receive from the test center to re-focus your study effort on any task area(s) where you did not answer approximately 75% of the questions correctly. Then revisit the study material you used to prepare for the exams and purchase additional sources if more in-depth studying is needed.

 

To re-test, you will again need to register with ISM and pay the appropriate member or non-member fee.

 

ISM has a 30-day retake policy for the CPSM® Exams. If you are unsuccessful on an exam you must wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that specific exam.

Do I have to pay to re-take the exam?

Yes, you will again need to register with ISM and pay the appropriate member or non-member fee. There is no discount on re-tests.

 

ISM has a 30-day retake policy for the CPSM® Exams. If you are unsuccessful on an exam you must wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that specific exam.

Am I able to see the questions that I got wrong on an exam?

Specific exam questions and answers are not made public. A score report for each exam is provided upon completion. The score report provides detail about the task areas where questions were missed. Task areas that you answered less than 75% of the questions correct is an area that requires more study.

How long are my CPSM® Exam scores valid?

CPSM® Exam scores are valid for 4 years from the date they are taken. If an exam score is more than 4 years old, the exam must be taken and passed again before applying for the CPSM®.

How do I register for CPSM® Exam(s)? How do I know where the closest test center is located?

Your exam registration is valid for six months from the day ISM processes your registration. Payment is required in advance. You must test by the expiration date to avoid forfeiting your exam fees.

 

Individual candidate testing is done at Pearson VUE Testing Centers and can be scheduled at your convenience.

 

Register Online

What kind of identification (I.D.) will I need in order to test?

For your exam, you must bring one valid photo I.D. with signature that exactly matches the name on your exam registration.

 

Your I.D. MUST be one of the following:

 

  • Driver's License*

 

  • Passport*

 

  • Military I.D.*

 

  • Official State, Government, or National I.D.

 

  • Employee I.D.

 

  • Student I.D.

 

  • Photo credit card

 

No other forms of I.D. will be accepted.

 

*Driver's License, Passport and Military IDs that have a digital signature encoded will only be accepted as valid ID if accompanied by another valid ID with signature.

 

Note: On the day of your exam, if you are unable to produce a valid I.D. matching the name in ISM's database, you will not be allowed to test and all registration fees will be forfeited.

 

Note: Pearson VUE uses biometrics in all test centers. Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physical characteristic and are primarily used to combat identity fraud. One such method involves the examinee placing a palm on a scanner, which results in an electronic palm print.

 

What else should I know about taking my exam at a Pearson VUE Test Center?

  • Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. If you are late, you will be considered a "no show" and your exam fees will be forfeited.

 

  • You will be required to leave all personal belongings in a locker. This includes bags, cell phones, watches, wallets, notes, books or other materials not authorized for this exam.

 

  • An erasable note board and pen will be provided for the exam. They will be collected at the end of the test.

 

  • Calculators will be also be provided.

 

  • Wear comfortable, layered clothing. Test center temperatures vary.

How do I reschedule or cancel an existing appointment?

To reschedule or cancel your test appointment, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 24-hours prior to the scheduled local testing time. For example, an 8:30am appointment on Monday must be rescheduled by 8:30am on Sunday (all times are local). If you do not reschedule or cancel your appointment in time, all funds are forfeited.

 

Fees may apply if any changes or cancellations are made within 48 hours of the scheduled appointment time.

 

Please DO NOT call your local Pearson VUE test center to make appointments or cancel or reschedule appointments.

How can I take CPSM® Exams at my company?

ISM offers onsite testing for groups. To request more information regarding on-site testing, please contact us at groupcert@ismworld.org.

How can I schedule CPSM® Review Courses at my company?

ISM offers onsite training and review courses. To require more information, please contact our Corporate Services team at corpinfo@ismworld.org.

How do I apply and check the status of my application?

After you have met all requirements, you will need to apply for certification. You can apply online here.

 

Application processing may take up to 4 weeks. We offer a rush service for an additional fee. If rush service is purchased, we guarantee that your application will be reviewed within 2 business days.

I am having issues getting my work experience documentation, do you have any suggestions?

Remember to use employer letterhead, have a current or previous supervisor or human resource department sign each letter, and include each title, and the length of time the title was held (from mo/yr to mo/yr).

Titles referenced in the samples are representative only and do not cover the range of titles held or used in the field.

Questions? Call ISM Member Services at 1.480.752.6276, opt. 8

 

Some of the more common situations encountered when documenting experience, and recommended solutions, are covered below:

 

MY PREVIOUS EMPLOYER IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS OR THE BUSINESS HAS BEEN SOLD OR MERGED WITH ANOTHER COMPANY.

Contact a previous supervisor, or other individual you worked with, who can certify your employment history and have them write a letter for you. Have them explain the situation briefly and identify their previous relationship to you within the company.

 

I CANNOT LOCATE ANY INFORMATION ON MY PREVIOUS EMPLOYER.

Consider researching information at your public library or local government entity for documents of incorporation. You may be able to find the entity holding the personnel/employment records. You may also want to ask your present employer if they verified your previous experience, job titles, dates held, and so on. If this was done, your current employer can certify previous experience.

 

I'M NOT SURE MY JOB TITLE OR JOB DUTIES ARE ELIGIBLE.

If you have a title that is not normally associated with professional purchasing, supply management, or supply chain management, and you are not sure if you qualify, you may get your experience approved upfront for a nominal $25 fee. Experience must be documented on an official job description or letter on company letterhead. ISM does not allow self-verification. Letters should come from your current or previous human resources department or supervisor, explain your responsibilities in detail and list job duties. Please make sure they specify the percentage of time spent in each area/job function. ISM will review the material and notify you of the decision.

 

MY EXPERIENCE WAS GAINED WHILE IN THE MILITARY. HOW DO I DOCUMENT THAT EXPERIENCE?

Ask your commanding officer for a letter documenting your experience. In most cases we have received the DD 214. In some cases military review or discharge documents may also help document your experience.

 

How long is my CPSM® valid?

The CPSM® designation is valid for a 3-year period. To maintain the CPSM®, you must recertify by submitting a recertification application with proof of continuing education completed. Individuals with a CPSM® that has been expired for more than a year must retake all the exams to recertify.

Once earned, how do I maintain my CPSM®?

CPSM®s are required to recertify every 3 years with 60 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs). CPSM®s are encouraged to recertify within the 60 days prior to the expiration date. Once your certification has expired, you will be given a one-year grace period in which you can recertify with no penalty. Candidates in their grace period will not be recognized as a CPSM® nor will they be allowed to use the designation. Certificate dates will appear on the certificate as if the recertification had been completed prior to the expiration of your previous certificate.

 

Please notify the Certification Department when you move or change jobs to keep your records current, as we may attempt to notify individuals when their designation has expired. You can also update your contact information by logging into ismworld.org and going to My Account to update your contact information.

 

What are the requirements for online exams?

In order to ensure the proper environment for proctored exams, you must have a quiet, private location, a reliable computer with a webcam, access to one of the approved internet browsers, and a strong internet connection. It is your responsibility to verify your computer meets the technical requirements to take the online proctored exam. Please review the technical requirements on the Pearson Vue Online Exam page under Additional Information. It is also your responsibility to run a system test BEFORE registering for an online proctored exam. Visit the Pearson Vue online exam page to run a system test.

How do I purchase an online exam?

Whether you decide to take your exams at a testing center or online, the purchase process on the ISM website is the same. After purchasing your exam, your purchase confirmation email will contain details about how to schedule your exam through Pearson Vue. After you’ve selected the exam you want to take, choose the “home or office” option. Follow the remaining prompts to complete the scheduling process. Once you have successfully scheduled your exam appointment, you will be sent a confirmation email that will provide you with your appointment details and important things to know for your exam.

Are the online exams proctored?

Like the exams taken at a Pearson VUE testing center, online proctored exams are also live proctored. The only difference is that with online proctored exams, you are monitored by a remote proctor, along with enhanced security features and artificial intelligence technology.

What languages do the proctors speak?

The proctors speak English. In order to take an online proctored exam, you must be able to communicate verbally in English with the proctor. If you are unable, or not comfortable doing so, please schedule your exam at a local Pearson VUE testing center.

Are there any geographic limitations for taking online proctored exams?

Online exams are currently not available in the People's Republic of China, Japan, Slovenia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.

Is there any financial assistance available to help pay for certification?

Candidates in the U.S. may be able to receive financial assistance to help pay for certification. You can use CareerOneStop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, to see if you are eligible for financial assistance to help pay for certification.  Please visit: https://www.careeronestop.org/FindTraining/Pay/find-money-for-training.aspx

An American Job Center in your local area is also a great resource, please visit https://www.careeronestop.org/Credentials/Toolkit/find-american-job-centers.aspx?newsearch=true to find a local center.

How can I obtain a replacement certificate?

You can find the replacement certification request form and instructions here.