FAQs

PATHWAYS

NIGP | PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT + CREDENTIALING FAQs

GENERAL FAQS

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There are better, multiple ways to deliver learning and competency development to professionals. And we are equally convinced that there are better, multiple ways to recognize the achievement of skills and competencies of those professionals through credentialing options.

Benefits to our NIGP Members and the Public Procurement Profession

Members have told us they want learning that is:

  • Accessible (delivered in the classroom and online/on demand)
  • Flexible (available 24/7 and whenever the learner has the time to dedicate to education)
  • Customized to the role they play in public procurement so it is applicable and offers relevant learning
  • Affordable
  • Multiple options for recognition – especially for a substantial number of professionals who don’t qualify for professional certification due to formal education requirements or time on the job.

Members also want pathways that guide them on their current career path and prepare them for their aspirational career goals.

Members have also told us that they want similar choices in the way their achievements are publicly recognized through a variety of credentialing options. They want:

  • Connections between learning and recognition so they are recognized for each major learning milestone
  • Credentials without barriers
  • Credentials that are integrated and laddered so there are intentional steps to move from one credential to the next

We believe that offering a choice of new credentials… digital badges, certificates, designations, specializations… in addition to professional certification provides maximum flexibility and access to professionals who are hungry for recognition.

Benefits to Public Agency Managers

We have also spoken with CPOs, CFOs, senior administrators, and elected officials. Here’s what we heard:

  • They desire a highly educated, highly prepared, and highly skilled public procurement workforce that has both the technical knowledge of public procurement and the competencies to perform in the workplace.
  • They are deeply concerned by the lack of intentional career development that provides pathways to promotion and, ultimately, to executive leadership.
  • They are looking for an educational partner who can deliver a customized learning platform that…
    • Provides standardized coursework on public procurement practices;
    • Provides options for customized coursework that addresses their public entity’s specific regulatory or unique circumstances; and
    • Provides choices for recognition.

The Articulation of “Why”

By listening to the critical voices of our members and their bosses, we have constructed new, innovative ways to deliver learning and new, publicly-facing ways to recognize those professionals who have demonstrated their knowledge, skill, and competency. Members and public agency managers have spoken. They want:

  • Choice and flexibility in selecting learning pathways; taking only what they need to be successful
  • Cutting-edge learning that is forward thinking and aligned with the needs of the modern public procurement workforce
  • Focus on skill development and competencies that drive results for the agency and the community they serve
  • Learning and credentialing that is integrated and holistic
  • Instant recognition for the achievement of learning outcomes

We heard you!

The central purpose of the system

  • Address talent recruitment, development and succession planning
  • Encourage young professionals interested in public service to set a pathway to the public procurement profession through learning and recognition
  • Meet the evolving, unique needs of professionals by offering flexible options for learning (knowledge) and applying knowledge through abilities and skills (competencies)
  • Provide optional pathways to learn, and be recognized for, advanced technical skills related to procurement and contracting
  • Provide multiple, flexible approaches to public recognition through certificates (badges, core, designation, and specialty) as well as certification
  • Align evolving content and evolving competencies to credentials to ensure currency and relevancy

The guiding principles for the system

  • Must be perceived as valuable by public procurement professionals, their supervisors and their employing organizations (e.g., district superintendents, finance officers).
  • Must value competency over years of experience.
  • Must serve a significant portion of NIGP members.
  • Achievement of the credential(s) must be rigorous and meaningful.
  • Employers should be able to use it to find qualified employees.
  • Must be flexible and adaptable to remain current and relevant.
  • Resulting credential must be comprehensive of enabling competencies (i.e., soft skills) - not just technical competencies.
  • Must advance the NIGP mission and strategic priorities.
  • Follows credentialing best practices and is legally defensible.

NIGP’s educational programs are growing

NIGP’s educational programs continue to grow. Between 2016 and 2018, classroom education participation grew by 9%, online learning grew by 31%, and overall student counts grew by 7%. NIGP’s Webinar program participation has grown 46% year-over-year and the Institute’s newest virtual conference offering – VCon – attracted over 1,000 attendees for the first two events.

Only 22% of NIGP members are professionally certified by the UPPCC

Conversely, professional certification among NIGP members is down. In 2016, 24% of the NIGP membership reported that they had a CPPO and/or CPPB designation. By 2018, that number fell to 22% - even though the percentage of members with an associates or bachelors + degree increased slightly. This means that, despite NIGP’s dedicated sponsorship of the UPPCC program since the late 1970s, 78% of NIGP’s membership is either ineligible to earn the CPPO or CPPB designation (or) hasn’t found value in achieving it. The fact that 9 out of 10 UPPCC certificants is a NIGP member is equally concerning.

UPPCC Professional Certification is declining

Further, the number of new applicants seeking professional certification has declined since the peak in 2014 when the UPPCC changed its eligibility requirements and required degrees. Overall new applications have declined 42% since the 2014 peak; a 44% decline in new CPPB applicants and a 36% decline in new CPPO applicants. Over the last three-year period, the UPPCC has averaged 265 new CPPB applications and 115 new CPPO applications each year.

Professionals are seeking additional credentials

And a recent survey of public procurement practitioners revealed that even those who are currently certified are interested in another credential (51%). This percentage intensifies to 74% of those professionals under 40 years of age.

Learning Re-imagined

We want public procurement professionals to re-imagine learning. NIGP’s traditional model of classroom training served us well in the past. And, in fact, adults maximize their learning experience when there are opportunities to network with colleagues and employ group discussions and activities. NIGP is not abandoning the classroom; rather, we are augmenting it with more choices to learn online… at your own pace and in your own space… literally anywhere, anytime, anyway. These options provide greater access to professionals who cannot be out of the office and/or who cannot travel and/or those who need flexibility to ensure a positive life/work balance.

Take only what you need

Re-imagining learning also means aligning learning to the specific skills and competencies you need today. There is no need to take a comprehensive list of training courses … just take exactly what you need based on the roles you serve in the public sector. This is laser-focused learning.

The Public Procurement Competency Framework (PPCF)

Thirty-three competency modules are contained within the Public Procurement Competency Framework (PPCF). The framework draws from a significant, well-respected research study conducted by Public Spend Forum (PSF) on behalf of a grant provided by the Volcker Alliance. In partnership with PSF, NIGP expanded the framework to incorporate both the technical knowledge required of public procurement professionals and the soft skills and ancillary competencies needed to be successful in the workplace.

The framework is organized with seven major focus areas: strategy, policy and legislation; planning and analysis; sourcing and solicitation, contract administration, leadership, and business principles.

Competency Modules

Multiple competency modules fall within each of these seven focus areas. For example, the focus area on strategy contains three competency modules: mission and benefit, transformation and vision creation, and social responsibility alignment. Each module stands alone and represents knowledge and skill development for a specific competency.

Each competency module will have a collection of assessment-based learning activities focused on building the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities. These activities could include reading assignments, case studies, videos, interactions between students and the instructor, experiential activities, etc. These combined activities constitute a learning module.

The modularity of the Framework provides maximum flexibility for both the entry-level professional and the seasoned professional. It also maximizes flexibility for the Chief Procurement Officer who wishes to design a career development path for her/his employees. It’s a menu of choices. It is important to note that some of the individual competency badges have multiple levels such as introductory and advanced. Envision an introduction to market analysis competency as well as advanced market analysis competency … two distinct courses for two levels of learning for two career paths and two competency badges. A key benefit of Pathways is that there are options available for everyone based on where they are in their career and the roles they currently perform (or aspire to perform). The flexibility of the independent competency modules allows each learner to establish her/his own pathway; perhaps in consultation with the procurement director. Maximum flexibility. Maximum choice. Take only those modules that are relevant to the work you do today. And take more modules as your career progresses.

The flexible and customized design of the learning system requires NIGP to repurpose our current content into smaller chunks of modular learning. NIGP has already begun this journey – in partnership with several highly-respected, senior-level procurement practitioners who are our Subject Matter Experts.

The NIGP staff has mapped existing content to the Framework. This exercise aligns (“maps”) all existing content to one of the competencies. This exercise also determines where there are gaps in the existing content that need to be built either internally or through third-party partnerships.

Four of the 33 modules will be ready for a pre-Forum classroom event in Austin this August 2019. Another 11 modules will be ready for classroom events by November 2019. We are targeting the entire Framework to be available online and for a classroom event by June 2020.

Initially (between August and November 2019), these modules will be bundled into related themes and offered as an in-person class. However, as each module is completed, the module will be individually available as an online offering. All 33 competency modules will be available as a learning event by June 2020. Some of the modules will have sufficient content to stand alone as a classroom offering. However, in many cases, we will bundle related content into two and three-day classroom experiences – dependent on demand from our network of chapter affiliates and public agencies who have training contracts with us.

We want you to re-imagine credentialing as a way of receiving public recognition for the accomplishment of knowledge, skills and competencies earned in the NIGP learning system. Learning and credentialing are intertwined – not separate. The purpose of learning is to enhance the performance of professionals in the workplace through acquired competencies. And the purpose of credentialing is to publicly recognize those professionals who have mastered those acquired competencies.

Three options

Recognizing that one size does not fit all, NIGP is building a credentialing system that provides three options for public recognition: certificates, specializations, and certifications. Each option will be explained in a separate section within this FAQ.

The reality is that not all professionals are eligible for professional certification – yet they desire to be publicly recognized for their achievements at various stages of their career. The new NIGP credentialing system will offer choices … a range of certificates and specializations as well as a new NIGP certification program expressly for certified procurement professionals: NIGP-CPP.

Flexibility, accessibility, and choice are the tenets of both the new learning system and the new credentialing system.

In June 2018, the NIGP Governing Board determined that the profession needed a variety of credentialing tools to address the unique needs of the profession.

In July 2018, NIGP engaged a highly-respected consulting firm with impeccable credentials for association-based credentialing systems. This firm has guided the NIGP Board and the NIGP Executive team on our project plan; evoking best practices in credentialing consistent with standards of compliance needed to be accredited.

In August 2018, the Board established its guiding principles for the system. During the 2018 Forum in Nashville, the Institute announced that Learning Re-imagined would become available; offering flexible learning as well as badges and certificates.

In September 2018, the NIGP Board formed a highly diversified Credentialing Design Team (CDT). The CDT was comprised of: academic professors, Canadian public officials, state and local CPOs, collegial association executives, current and former Board leaders and presidents, young professionals, mid-level professionals, long standing CPPO and CPPB certificants, and NIGP Instructors.

The charge to the CDT was to assist the Board in two areas: (1) defining the inherent challenges of the existing learning and credentialing programs; and (2) recommending an array of options to consider when building a holistic learning and credentialing program. As the CDT began their work, they identified three major challenges to be addressed in a new credentialing system:

  • Shortage of qualified public procurement professionals and the need for succession planning
  • Failure to transition from practitioner to leader
  • Failure to permanently establish procurement as a strategic function

In mid-November 2018, the CDT met in-person to finalize their recommendations.

In late November 2018, the NIGP finalized the recommendations and finalized the credentialing system components.

In February 2019, the NIGP team presented a comprehensive Strategic and Business Plan for the Credentialing System. The NIGP Board adopted the Plan in March 2019.

In April 2019, NIGP hired its Director of Certification who has decades of experience developing non-profit-based certification programs.

Absolutely. The purpose, products, governance structure, policies and practices … literally everything contained in the credentialing system … has been reviewed by our credentialing consulting firm.

This is ultimately a decision on the NIGP Governing Board based on cost and perceived value. However, it is logical for us to seek third party accreditation of our credentialing system; just as we have sought, and earned, third party accreditation of our educational program from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

Organizations can seek accreditation of their credentialing systems one year after the program is operational. It should be noted that NIGP’s credentialing system has been designed to meet the compliance requirements of ANSI’s ISO 17024 standard. The principal of NIGP’s credentialing consulting firm is an assessor for ANSI's Personnel Certification Accreditation Program. We hired the best to bring you the best!

Is NIGP separating from the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC)?

No decision has been made by the NIGP Governing Board for a few reasons: (1) The NIGP-CPP certification will not be available until Spring 2020. Until then, the Institute will continue its work in providing professionals with education and certification prep tools in support of the Council’s CPPO and CPPB programs through the Fall 2019 test administration period. (2) NIGP’s curriculum will continue to support the UPPCC Body of Knowledge into the foreseeable future; (3) the UPPCC certifications provide a pathway to attain the NIGP-CPP; and (4) the NIGP-CPP offers public procurement practitioners choice – not a mandate - in the marketplace.

What happens to the CPPO and CPPB designations?

It is our hope that the UPPCC will continue to support the certification and re-certification process for current CPPOs and CPPBs in the foreseeable future. Professionals who endured the rigors of the CPPO and/or CPPB examination deserve to continue to maintain the credential with pride and honor. NIGP’s intent is to offer choices for all professionals; including those with a current professional certification. This is what our members have requested. It is important to understand, however, that the UPPCC holds the intellectual property rights to the CPPO and CPPB brands as an asset; so, while NIGP is hopeful that the Council will continue to certify and recertify CPPOs and CPPBs, this is a decision to be made by the UPPCC Board of Directors.

There are five essential reasons:

  1. Learning and credentialing go hand-in-hand. Professionals want to learn and want to be recognized for what they learned. This holistic, integrated approach is best executed through a unified strategy under a single organizational structure; as proven by the Association of Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), and the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) – all of which offer comparable certifications in the purchasing and contracting marketplace.
  2. The NIGP-CPP certification will be more comprehensive in scope (assessing both the application of technical knowledge and the soft, critical skills needed to be successful.
  3. The NIGP-CPP certification will focus on competencies rather than the application of knowledge. Competency-based certifications are trending with non-profit associations.
  4. The NIGP-CPP certification will be integrated into the other credentialing options offered by NIGP: certificates and specializations. This integration requires unified governance and policies.
  5. The customer experience will be enhanced as the member’s learning record is integrated with his/her certification record under a single sign-on and a uniform technology platform. There will be no need to replicate the member profile in two separate systems. And educational contact hours earned in the member’s record in Aspire (NIGP’s Learning Management System) will auto-populate the member’s certification record – avoiding data entry replication.

Since learning is integrated with credentialing. we will phase in these new offerings between August 2019 and June 2020.

The credentialing offerings are dependent on the completion of the content which is undergoing design and development in alignment with the Public Procurement Competency Framework (PPCF). Content will be packaged into individual competency modules using best practices in adult learning techniques. Depending on the competency, the learning module may employ a combination of case studies, readings, videos, group exercises, and texts. Each learning module will include an assessment to ensure that the participant can successfully apply the skills and behaviors expected.

The first four modules will be bundled into a 2-day course on Strategy and Policy that will be first offered as a pre-Forum seminar at the 2019 Austin Forum. Participants taking this course and successfully passing the assessment will receive the first Strategy and Policy Certification. (To learn more, see the specific section on Certificates).

The next series of eleven modules will also be bundling into courses that will be released Fall 2019.

All remaining modules will be available by June 2020.

In addition to the PPCF modules, the Institute will also introduce its first Specialization - a three-day course on Technology Procurements – as a pre-Forum seminar at the 2019 Austin Forum.

The Institute’s certification offering will first be available to persons currently holding a CPPO or CPPB who are interested in ‘bridging’ to the NIGP-CPP designation. A bridge exam is slated for April 2020. In advance, we will offer a Certification Prep Course in March 2020. The more comprehensive exam for the NIGP-CPP designation will be available June 2020; with preparatory tools offered beforehand. (To learn more, see the specific section on Certification.)

Pathways is multi-dimensional and is not limited to just the new NIGP Certified Procurement Professional certification.

The multi-dimensional credentialing offerings (competency badges, certificates, and specializations as well as professional certification) are dependent on the completion of the content which is undergoing design and development in alignment with the Public Procurement Competency Framework (PPCF). Content will be packaged into individual competency modules using best practices in adult learning techniques. Depending on the competency, the learning module may employ a combination of case studies, readings, videos, group exercises, and texts. Each learning module will include an assessment to ensure that the participant can successfully apply the skills and behaviors expected.

The First Certificates will be available August 2019

The first four modules will be bundled into a 2-day course on Strategy and Policy that will be first offered as a pre-Forum seminar at the 2019 Austin Forum. Participants taking this course and successfully passing the assessment will receive the first Strategy and Policy Certification. (To learn more, see the specific section on Certificates).

The next series of eleven modules will also be bundling into courses that will be released Fall 2019.

All remaining modules will be available by June 2020.

The First Specializations will also be available August 2019

The Institute will also introduce its first Specialization - a three-day course on Technology Procurements – as a pre-Forum seminar at the 2019 Austin Forum.

The NIGP:CPP Timelines

The launch of the NIGP-CPP has a longer lead time (available late Spring 2020) for a few reasons:

  • Governance
    A NIGP Certification Commission will determine policies and practices for the certification program. The Commission will represent a combination of NIGP members (holding the majority of the seats) and representatives from collegial public procurement associations. Those appointed to the Commission have been named in the Microsite FAQs.
  • Practice Analysis
    Recognizable certification programs are reliant on a practice analysis (AKA a job analysis); a research process that determines the certification test specifications, including domains and relative weightings, test formats and delivery mechanisms. Much of this research is performed through member surveys and interviews – hence, the reason for letting the membership know that (a) a new certification is under development and (b) member engagement is critical. The Practice Analysis is also a catalyst for defining the eligibility requirements in accordance with ANSI standards. The NIGP practice analysis is currently in process and we anticipate its completion by early Fall 2019 so that eligibility requirements can be determined shortly thereafter (targeted for November 2019).
  • Test Development
    With the practice analysis completed, test development and standards setting begins. It takes about 3 months to develop the right mix of test questions. We anticipate that this work is completed by the end of February 2020. Preparatory coursework and support materials are completed in March 2020, the first bridging exams are likely released in April 2020 and the comprehensive exam is slated for June 2020.

NIGP will continue to offer the in-person two and three-day foundational and specialty courses through the network of NIGP Chapter Affiliates and Contract Training in the foreseeable future. As the market continues to request these courses, NIGP will happily continue to deliver them.

As mentioned in this FAQ, NIGP will also bundle a series of competency modules into one, two or three-day courses for those who enjoy the option of an in-person/classroom experience. Some of these bundled competencies will result in a Certificate; adding to the value of the learning experience. The same scenario applies to the NIGP Specialization offerings. The bottom line: NIGP Chapters will continue to reap the benefit of hosting an expanded number of in-person learning programs while continuing to earn rebates.

We are using the Pathways Microsite to capture questions or comments – so please use that function to post your thoughts.

Communications will be especially important in the next 6-8 months as decisions are made by the NIGP Certification Commission. We will broadcast all updates as they come available so keep monitoring your NIGP links including NForm and our social media feeds.

If you wish to speak to someone at the NIGP offices, here are four references:

  • For strategy, policy and governance: Rick Grimm, Chief Executive Officer, rgrimm@nigp.org
  • For learning and content: Todd Slater, Chief Content Officer, tslater@nigp.org
  • For credentialing and NIGP-CPP: Diane Daly, Director of Certification, ddaly@nigp.org
  • For communications and marketing: Fareshta Touhami, Director of Marketing, ftouhami@nigp.org

FAQs: PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION


NIGP Certified Procurement Professional

There are two significant differences:

First, the NIGP-CPP certification is based on a competency framework that measures a candidate’s ability to apply skills and behaviors to performance based on learning outcomes. In contrast, the CPPO and CPPB is based on a body of knowledge and measures a candidate’s ability to apply that knowledge.

Second, the NIGP-CPP certification covers a more comprehensive view of the major roles performed by public procurement professionals as defined in the competency framework; including the soft-skills (strategy and leadership) and relational skills (business principles) in addition to the technical aspects of public procurement which are covered in the CPPO and CPPB exams.

Integration

By integrating professional certification into the wider range of services provided by NIGP, public procurement professionals will have a more effective, seamless experience:

  • While the certification records will be maintained in a separate, secure module within the NIGP database, there are many benefits of using the same automated database system to support education and certification. There will be a single sign-on and a single profile for maintaining contact information. Records related to NIGP education will automatically transfer to the individual’s certification record without having to re-enter events and volunteer activities; saving considerable time in the certification and re-certification process.
  • Since learning and credentialing is under the NIGP banner, professionals can take advantage of new learning opportunities that integrate seamlessly and automatically into a publicly recognized credential. Complete the educational course requisites… and a certificate, designation or specialization is automatically registered in the member’s profile and transferrable to social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
  • And since the certification team at NIGP is housed in the NIGP offices, the team will have access to significant support resources to serve you more effectively; including customer care, marketing and communications, financial services, and technology.

Potential policy differences

There may be additional differences in policy and practice – once determined by the NIGP Certification Commission. For example, the Commission will explore the benefits of a modular exam where the candidate can take two or three separate modular exams rather than a single, comprehensive exam. And the Commission will also explore methods for exam administration. These are decisions yet to be determined. Stay tuned.

The NIGP Governing Board has established a NIGP Certification Commission that supports the NIGP Board in its strategic and visionary goals related to the professional NIGP certification program developed and administered by NIGP. The Commission independently makes essential certification decisions related to all NIGP certification schemes. These decisions are made without influence by any other individual or business entity within or outside of NIGP.

Purpose and Powers

The Commission is specifically empowered to:

  1. Oversee and monitor the objectives, performance and results of the NIGP certification program.
  2. Establish and monitor the NIGP certification schemes and scheme-related policies related to: (a) eligibility requirements for certification; (b) eligibility requirements to test; (c) requirements for re-certification; and (d) provisions and criteria for suspension or revocation
  3. Provide direction and oversight to the NIGP Certification Test Development Committee, the NIGP Practice Analysis Panel and the NIGP Standard Setting Panel.
  4. Address any candidate, credential holder, or volunteer ethics issues as they arise.
  5. Serve as the final review board for appeals and disciplinary actions (suspensions and revocations) related to the NIGP certification program.

Independence

The NIGP Certification Commission is an independent body within the NIGP legal, non-profit structure. The Commission is empowered to take actions in accordance with the expressed authority granted by the NIGP Governing Board. The NIGP Certification Commission independently makes essential certification decisions related to all NIGP certification schemes. These decisions shall be made under no influence by any other individual or business entity within or outside of NIGP.

This independent structure within a single non-profit association mirrors the structure followed by APICS, ISM, NCMA, and SCMA where the educational programs are distinctly separate from the certification programs through appropriate firewalls. And this arrangement complies with ANSI standards for professional certification programs. There is a substantial benefit for placing professional certification within the overall strategic mission of NIGP.

Composition

The following individuals have been appointed to serve on the inaugural Commission:

  • Don Buffum, CPPO, FNIGP: Commission Chair. Executive Director, Procurement & Contracts for Mississippi State University
  • Carl Bonitto, CSCMP: Commission Chair-Elect. Manager of Purchasing and Risk Management Services for Northumberland County, ON
  • David Billingsley CPSM, C.P.M.: Member appointed by FAPPO. Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Orlando, FL
  • Sean Carroll: Member appointed by NIGP. Chief Procurement Officer for the New York State Office of General Services
  • Stacy Gregg, CPPO, CPPB: Member appointed by NIGP. Procurement Manager for the State of South Carolina Division of Procurement Services
  • Etta Henry, CPPO, CPPB: Member appointed by NIGP. Director of Procurement Services for Old Dominion University, VA
  • Barbara Johnson, CPPO, CPPB, MPA: Member appointed by NIGP. Director of Procurement for the State of Ohio Department of Corrections (retired)
  • Chris Liu, Public Stakeholder. Executive Director for the State of Washington Department of Enterprise Services, WA
  • Zulay Vincenty Millan, CPPO, CPPB, FCCM: Member appointed by NIGP. Assistant Manager for the Procurement Division at Orange County, FL
  • Jack Pellegrino, CPCM: Member appointed by CAPPO. Director of Purchasing and Contracting for San Diego County, CA
  • Christina Pryor, CPPO, CPPB: Member appointed by NPI. Purchasing and Materials Manager for the City of Chandler, AZ
  • Annie Teav: Member appointed by NIGP. Senior Contract Specialist for Multnomah County, OR
  • Dr. Mohamad G. Alkadry, Ph.D.: Non-Voting Academic Advisor. Professor and Public Policy Department Head for the University of Connecticut
  • Dr. Adam Williams, Ph.D.: Non-Voting Academic Advisor. Director of the Master of Public Administration Program and Assistant Professor of Public Administration for the University of Illinois, Springfield

The eligibility requirements are yet to be determined; pending the work of the NIGP Certification Commission which ultimately determines policies regarding certification eligibility.

Practice Analysis

The eligibility polices will be heavily influenced by a Practice Analysis survey of stakeholders that will take place in July/August 2019. This Practice Analysis is essentially a validation study that defines the “certification scheme” … the certification scope and tasks as well as the level of competence and abilities required for successful practice. At the present time, the results of the Practice Analysis should be available by no later than November 2019. As is the case for most professional certifications, eligibility will likely focus on three components: formal education, professional learning, and years of work experience. Check back to this microsite for updates.

Let’s wait to see what eligibility criteria is established by the NIGP Certification Commission. Nevertheless, a key principle of the integrated learning and credentialing system is to create multiple pathways for earning a credential – including the NIGP-CPP certification. For example, it is very likely that earning NIGP certificates will be an acceptable alternative to meeting some of the eligibility criteria. Stay tuned.

Absolutely! There is a section on this microsite that is specifically dedicated to current and aspiring CPPO and CPPB certificants. Visit that section to learn about the ability to bridge to the NIGP-CPP certification.

The NIGP Certification Commission may offer a bridge to the NIGP-CPP certification from other recognizable pathways; however, the first priority is to assist our members who are professionally certified as a CPPO or CPPB in attaining the NIGP-CPP if desired. Approximately 90% of the current CPPO and CPPB certificants are NIGP members.

It is important to understand that a bridge requires a significant level of effort. A gap analysis needs to be performed between the NIGP-CPP and the other certifications or academic certificates; and a formal examination needs to be developed to test a candidate’s mastery of those topics covered on the NIGP-CPP that were not examined in the other programs.

Those requirements are yet to be determined; pending the work of the NIGP Certification Commission. The Practice Analysis survey typically poses questions that are also germane to re-certification efforts. Traditionally, an essential component of a professional certification program is the provision for re-certifying in order to maintain the credential. Typically, the certificants must meet ongoing requirements such as continuing education at specific intervals and adherence to the code of ethics. Check back to this microsite for updates.

Usually, a significant cost for obtaining professional certification is the minimum eligibility requirements for earning procurement learning/training contact hours. Since these requirements are yet to be determined, a complete answer cannot be provided at this time. However, we can inform you that there will be no requirements to take specific NIGP courses. Candidates are free to obtain their educational credits anywhere if the provider meets certain standards.

Additionally, a key principle of the NIGP learning and credentialing program is to give you wide latitude on customized learning pathways that address your needs based on the roles you perform in the workplace; rather than forced learning that generates contact hours need to qualify for certification.

While we do not currently know how many contact hours of learning will be required for eligibility, we can tell you that the NIGP Board has waived all fees (application and examination) for professionals seeking the bridge from CPPO or CPPB to the NIGP-CPP. This offer extends to June 2021. The NIGP Board has also established preliminary fees for non-CPPO or CPPB holders to apply for certification ($150) as well as fees to take the exams ($225 based on the concept of a three-module exam @ $75 per module.) While the modular exam feature is yet to be determined, it offers great benefits to the applicant because she/her only needs to re-test modules where she/he didn’t earn a passing score. This reduces stress as well as the cost for re-testing.

The timelines are different for CPPO and CPPB holders seeking the bridge exam.

For those persons taking the full exam (non CPPO or CPPB holders)

At the present time, the Institute plans to make the NIGP certification application available by April 2020 and all NIGP-CPP Certification Prep tools available by May 2020. Prep courses will be available for the classroom or online experience. The first exams should be available in June 2020 and the first certifications conferred during the 75th Annual Forum Diamond Jubilee in Chicago in August 2020.

FAQs: CURRENT CPPO AND CPPB CERTIFICANTS AND FOR CANDIDATES PREPARING TO SIT FOR THEIR EXAM


NIGP Certified Procurement Professional

There are two significant differences:

First, the NIGP-CPP certification is based on a competency framework that measures a candidate’s ability to apply skills and behaviors to performance based on learning outcomes. In contrast, the CPPO and CPPB is based on a body of knowledge and measures a candidate’s ability to apply that knowledge.

Second, the NIGP-CPP certification covers a more comprehensive view of the major roles performed by public procurement professionals as defined in the competency framework; including the soft-skills (strategy and leadership) and relational skills (business principles) in addition to the technical aspects of public procurement which are covered in the CPPO and CPPB exams.

Integration

By integrating professional certification into the wider range of services provided by NIGP, public procurement professionals will have a more effective, seamless experience:

  • While the certification records will be maintained in a separate, secure module within the NIGP database, there are many benefits of using the same automated database system to support education and certification. There will be a single sign-on and a single profile for maintaining contact information. Records related to NIGP education will automatically transfer to the individual’s certification record without having to re-enter events and volunteer activities; saving considerable time in the certification and re-certification process.
  • Since learning and credentialing is under the NIGP banner, professionals can take advantage of new learning opportunities that integrate seamlessly and automatically into a publicly recognized credential. Complete the educational course requisites… and a certificate, designation or specialization is automatically registered in the member’s profile and transferrable to social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
  • And since the certification team at NIGP is housed in the NIGP offices, the team will have access to significant support resources to serve you more effectively; including customer care, marketing and communications, financial services, and technology.

Potential policy differences

There may be additional differences in policy and practice – once determined by the NIGP Certification Commission. For example, the Commission will explore the benefits of a modular exam where the candidate can take two or three separate modular exams rather than a single, comprehensive exam. And the Commission will also explore methods for exam administration. These are decisions yet to be determined. Stay tuned.

Stay the course! Continue to study for your exam and successfully complete the eligibility and examination requirements so you earn your CPPO or CPPB certification.

NIGP Support

NIGP will continue to support your efforts by providing educational offerings that align with the UPPCC’s Body of Knowledge and test domains. Those educational offerings will continue in the foreseeable future – at least through June 2020. And NIGP will continue to provide certification prep tools to aid your studies – from self- assessments and flash cards to prep courses online and in the classroom. NIGP is offering the CPPO and CPPB prep courses as pre-Forum seminars this August in Austin. NIGP will continue to provide these certification prep tools through at least the Fall 2019 UPPCC test administration period; perhaps further depending on demands.

Leverage your CPPO or CPPB to bridge to the NIGP-CPP

For persons holding a current CPPO and/or CPPB, NIGP will be offering the option of a unique bridge to the NIGP-CPP designation so earning your CPPO and CPPB reduces the requirements for earning your NIGP-CPP. The bridge option is discussed below.

Absolutely not! These are stand-alone certifications that demonstrate mastery over the Public Procurement Body of Knowledge (UPPCC) and competency in the seven areas of focus captured in the Public Procurement Competency Framework (NIGP). NIGP is providing options for CPPO and CPPB holders to consider. (The differences and value will become clearer once the NIGP Certification Commission finalizes the certification scheme in November 2019). CPPO and CPPB certificants will continue to display their designations with pride; just as many C.P.M. holders display their ISM credential alongside the UPPCC credentials.

Absolutely. To be clear, the bridge will initially only be available to current CPPO and CPPB certificants. We may look at bridging from other designations or certificates in the future; however, today, our top priority is helping current CPPO and CPPB certificants achieve the new NIGP certification if desired. To understand what is required of the Institute in order to build a bridge, please read the explanations below.

The bridge exam

An abbreviated bridge exam will be required, and it will be a single exam. The exam will be limited to those NIGP-CPP certification standards that were not tested in the CPPO and CPPB domains. These differences are typically called ‘gaps’ between the three certification programs. Because the CPPO and CPPB domains are different, the bridge exam for the CPPO candidate will be different than the bridge exam for the CPPB candidate.

If have both a CPPO and a CPPB. How do I bridge?

If you hold dual certifications as a CPPO and a CPPB, you will have the additional option of bridging either via the CPPO or the CPPB. There is no need to make this decision now. Wait until the ‘gap analysis’ is performed and then decide which bridge exam to take based on your professional comfort level.

Eligibility Requirements

The NIGP Certification Commission still needs to decide whether CPPO and CPPB certificants must meet the eligibility requirements of the NIGP-CPP; however, it is likely that those requirements will be waived if not met.

In order to achieve third-party ANSI certification, NIGP must demonstrate that its NIGP-CPP certificants have mastered the competencies of the NIGP-CPP exam. Assuming that there will be ‘gaps’ between the CPPO, CPPB and NIGP-CPP testing domains, a CPPO or CPPB would need to participate in an assessment to demonstrate that mastery; and the only way to do this is through an abbreviated exam.

NIGP will be providing opportunities for current CPPO and CPPB holders to learn about these gaps and prepare for the abbreviated bridge exam through several preparatory tools beginning in March 2020.

Yes, except for a different bridge exam. The bridge from the CPPB to the NIGP-CPP will be based on gaps between the CPPB domains and the NIGP-CPP competencies. The bridge from the CPPO to the NIGP-CPP will be based on gaps between the CPPO domains and the NIGP-CPP competencies. Those are the only differences. The new NIGP certification recognizes the Procurement Professional – incorporating both the professional buyer and the procurement officer.

Just as the Institute has helped countless professionals with their UPPCC certification journey, we will develop the same tools to help you be successful in earning your NIGP-CPP. We will offer unique preparatory classes (both in-person and online) for the bridge. We will offer study guides. And based on our capacity and market demands, we may also develop a self-assessment tool as well as flashcards.

Test Domains

The NIGP Certification Commission will engage a Test Development Committee and a Standards Setting Panel to determine testing standards and test questions. After their work is completed, the NIGP Certification Commission will be able to publicly post the test domains. We anticipate that this work will be completed by no later than February 2020.

Confidentiality

These groups of volunteer leaders are under strict non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements and are prohibited from disclosing examination content. NIGP’s content team will not have any access to the certification files or test questions – consistent with policies and standards established for associations that support both education and certification.

Prep Tools

As is currently the case, do not expect the NIGP preparatory tools to ‘teach to the test’. The preparatory tools focus on test-taking measures as well as examples of test question structure. Our ultimate goal is not to have you earn your certification (which is a public affirmation of your achievement) … our goal is to enable your success at the workplace as you impact the lives of your community.

The NIGP Governing Board is deeply committed to helping current CPPO and CPPB holders bridge to the new NIGP certification if they desire. Therefore, the Board has determined:

  • Free access to online NIGP-CPP prep courses through June 2021
  • Waived application fees ($0) through June 2021
  • Waived exam fees ($0) through June 2021

Effective July 2021, the bridge application fee will be $150, and the examination fee will be $100.

Yes, NIGP will continue to provide an array of preparatory coursework and support materials for both in-person and online formats. The first preparatory materials should be available in March 2020 for the first bridging exams that are likely released in April 2020. The preparatory online course will be free for CPPO or CPPB certificants holders through June 2021.

The NIGP Governing Board plans to have the bridge exams available through June 2024. This gives current CPPO and CPPB certificants four years to earn the NIGFP-CPP … essentially to coincide with a holder’s re-certification period.

This is a policy to be determined by the NIGP Certification Commission. There are several variables including the methodology for administering the exam (for example, the UPPCC offers two test administration periods each year). Look for an answer by no later than February 2020.

Absolutely not. You exerted considerable resources and effort to earn your CPPO and/or CPPB designation. Continue to carry your designation with pride. Similarly, we want professionals to publicly display their certifications earned through APICS, CIPS, ISM, NCMA, or SCMA.

This is a great question that needs to be answered by the NIGP Certification Commission via policy. However, a key objective of the new program is to increase the number of members – whether active or retired – who have earned the NIGP-CPP designation. Therefore, one can assume that the Commission will consider a pathway for UPPCC lifetime holders to earn the same distinction with the NIGP-CPP.

Yes, on demand via the individual’s profile in Aspire (NIGP’s Learning Management System) and available 24/7. Certificants will be able to independently download a PDF of their certificate or certification for framing or documentation.

FAQs: NIGP CERTIFICATE PROGRAM


Our goal is to provide options and pathways for earning public recognition regardless of whether you are just entering the public procurement profession or are a seasoned professional; and regardless of the role you play (and aspire to play) in your public entity.

We are giving you total flexibility based on what you want or need to learn – and then integrating our credentialing system around that learning to give you the recognition you deserve.

Three levels of certificates

You have options ... three levels of certificates to fit your specific professional development goals:

  • Level One: Competency Badges
  • Level Two: Core Certificates
  • Level Three: Designations

These levels are based on the concept of stacking credentials to achieve a higher level of recognition. Therefore, you begin by earning competency badges (level one) that are stacked to earn a core certificate (level two) that are stacked to earn a designation (level three).

Not everyone is seeking a certificate or designation. That’s perfectly ok. This is about choice and pathways. The bottom line: there is a level of publicly recognized credential for everyone who learns and successfully completes the assessment.

Let’s keep this simple.

The purpose of a certificate is to educate you on specific learning objectives and assess you on the attainment of those objectives. You must participate in learning event(s) and pass an assessment demonstrating achieving of program learning objectives. The result is a certificate that does not expire and has no continuing requirements.

The purpose of a certification is to assess your current education, experience, knowledge and skill. Therefore, you must meet eligibility requirements and pass an examination demonstrating current knowledge and skills as defined in the test content outline. The result is a certification that also requires meeting the ongoing requirements such as continuing education at specified intervals and adherence to the code of ethics.

Certificate = engaging in learning events and successfully completing the assessment; no additional requirements

Certification = meeting eligibility requirements and obtaining a sufficient score on the exam; additional ongoing requirements


LEVEL 1: COMPETENCY BADGES


A competency badge recognizes your achievement in completing all the learning activities and passing the assessment for any competency module. The assessment component is a critical indicator of success – so a competency badge is not earned until the assessment is successfully completed. The badge is instant and automatic – a way to earn public recognition for achieving the specific competency.

Variety and Relevancy

There will be 33 competencies to choose within the Public Procurement Competency Framework. And within some of the competencies, there will also be learning levels which reflect the degree of complexity – imagine baseline and manager levels. The Framework is all about the flexibility of aligning the competencies to your current role in public procurement… so you may opt for a baseline level competency badge for Business Management and Continuity while seeking a manager level competency badge for Negotiations.

Competency badges achieve several goals:

  • Public procurement professionals have no barriers to entry when enrolling in a competency module and can achieve public recognition via the competency badge relatively quick.
  • Public procurement professionals can select from among any combination of Framework competencies to align with her/his current and aspirational goals; earning competency badges as each module is completed. For some competencies, separate modules will be available for baseline level and advanced-level learning; providing even more tailored opportunities.
  • A public procurement director/manager can develop a customized, professional development plan and pathway for each employee or a group of employees within job functions; aligning the Framework competency modules to a training program based on related roles and responsibilities and the employee. The employee, in turn, will earn competency badges along this pathway.

None. There are no pre-requisites… no educational requirements… no work experience requirements. And there is no application or screening process. You simply complete all the learning activities and pass the assessment for any competency module.

NIGP will issue you a digital badge directly to your profile in Aspire – NIGP’s Learning Management System.

Digital badges are one of the newer offerings in the education marketplace that blend learning with technology. A digital badge is not only a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest that can be earned in many learning environments. It is also an easy way for NIGP to issue, and learners to earn and display, badges across the web—through an infrastructure that uses shared and open technical standards. NIGP will employ an open badge system; meaning that you can also digitally display your badges on social media platforms such as LinkedIn using Mozilla Backpack (an enhanced feature of Aspire).

The badge is complimentary and automatic for anyone who completes all the learning activities and passes the assessment for any competency module. However, we do not know the cost of taking a module … yet.

Building Out the Competency modules

NIGP is currently building out each of the competency modules – an arduous process that will continue through June 2020. Not all competencies are alike – and therefore, modules could range from a 30-minute tutorial and assessment to a more intensive learning event that requires multiple hours of engagement and study.

Pricing based on Contact Hours

Our plan is to set pricing based on the number of hours needed to achieve the learning results – just as we currently charge different rates depending on whether a course is for 8 hours, 16 hours, or 24 hours. One final comment: the Institute is price-sensitive based on feedback we have received from members. We want to ensure that funding is not a significant barrier to learning. For the fiscal year beginning July 2019, we are lowering our pricing for in-person and online learning events by more than 15%.

Initial bundling for in-person courses

Initially, we will bundle related competencies into a single two-day course that is offered in-person and online. This helps you achieve four competencies in one setting. The fees for these courses are recommended at $425.

The NIGP Content Team will roll out the competency modules on a phased basis – with the end game of having all 33 competency modules available by June 2020. Watch for periodic announcements throughout 2019 and early 2020 as these learning modules are released.

While all competency modules will be available online, many will be bundled for an in-person learning experience. Keep in mind that some modules are short tutorials (less than an hour) while others could require several hours of engaging activities. By bundling related modules together for a classroom setting, you experience several competencies in a single setting.

The first bundled competency modules will stack the following competencies into a Certificate in Strategy and Policy:

  • Mission, Public Benefit, Advocacy, Placement
  • Enabling Regulations and Compliance
  • Ethics and Transparency
  • Legal Principles

Yes, several of the focus areas in the Public Procurement Competency Framework align with the UPPCC’s Body of Knowledge such as: Planning and Analysis, Sourcing and Solicitation, Contract Administration. These focus areas incorporate 17 of the 33 competencies. Just as the current NIGP core curriculum prepares candidates who are seeking their UPPCC certification, the competency modules under the Framework will do the same – while earning competency badges along the way for instant recognition.


LEVEL 2: CORE CERTIFICATES


A certificate program is traditionally developed to educate individuals in achieving specific learning objectives. Educational institutions (colleges and universities), trade schools, for-profit training organizations, and non-profit professional societies have long been excellent providers of certificate programs based on stakeholder needs.

NIGP will be offering core certificates to reflect the achievement of specific learning objectives anchored in the competency modules.

Depending on your pathway, a certificate may earn you sufficient contact hours when applying for certification. And if you cannot meet the specific eligibility requirements for certification, a certificate provides you public recognition. These are policies to be determined by the NIGP Certification Commission.

A Core Certificate is recognition you earn once you achieve all the pre-determined competencies that are stacked into the certificate. The core certificate is an instant, public recognition for achieving specific competencies.

The NIGP Content Management Committee

The NIGP Content Management Committee makes these decisions. The Committee is comprised of NIGP members who are either currently employed by a public sector agency or retired from public service. The Committee may also include industry leaders who have expertise in the discipline that is being considered for a certificate program. Although the inaugural Content Management Committee has been appointed, there will always be future opportunities to share your time, talents, and passion. Your first step is to complete a Volunteer Leadership Application with NIGP.

Purpose of the Committee

The key purpose of the NIGP Content Management Committee is to establish policies and practices for NIGP’s certificate and designation programs. This Committee creates new certificates based on recommendations from the NIGP staff, validates topics and related courses to be bundled into a certificate, and issues all NIGP certificates.

The power of stacking competencies

Since there are 33 competencies within the Public Procurement Competency Framework, the Content Management Committee can stack individual competencies in almost an infinite number of ways to create certificates. However, it makes most sense to create certificates based on market demand.

None. There are no pre-requisites… no educational requirements… no work experience requirements. And there is no application or screening process. You simply complete all the learning activities and pass the assessment for all pre-determined competency modules that have been stacked by the NIGP Content Management Committee.

No. Each competency module includes an assessment; so successfully earning the competency badges satisfies any need to pass further assessments.

Yes, if you plan to earn a core certificate. ANSI standards require that an individual take all the related coursework and assessments in order to earn the certificate. Remember… the certificate is an option; not a requisite.

The Certificate will be displayed as a digital badge that will be issued by Content Management Committee directly to your profile in Aspire – NIGP’s Learning Management System.

Nothing. The certificate is complimentary for anyone who earns all the pre-determined competency modules.

Yes, you will be able to print certificates directly from your profile on Aspire – NIGP’s Learning Management System.

The first Core Certificate will be the Strategy and Policy Certificate that will be available during the pre-Forum seminar in Austin in August 2019. This pre-Forum seminar will stack four competencies into a single two-day course:

  • Mission, Public Benefit, Advocacy, Placement
  • Enabling Regulations and Compliance
  • Ethics, integrity, transparency
  • Legal principles

The fee for this 2-day course is recommended at $425.

This is an in-person offering that can be replicated based on demand. NIGP Chapter affiliates may wish to make this offering available to their members as a chapter-hosted seminar. Regardless of the venue, participants who take the course and pass the assessment will earn the Strategy and Policy Certificate.

In addition to the Strategy and Policy Certificate, we plan to roll-out two additional core certificates in the fall 2019:

  • Core Certificate in Planning and Analysis (October 2019) - $425 fee (2-day course)
  • Core Certificate in Sourcing and Contracting (November 2019) - $595 fee (3-day course)

By early 2020, the competency modules aligned with these three certificates will be available online. Stay tuned.

No, badges stay on your member record. However, they are no longer relevant; simply because the certificate includes those competencies. Like the competency badges, the certificates will be digitized – meaning that anyone can view the digital certificate to see what rigor of competencies are included in the certificate.

No, these programs stand-alone with no requisites or entry. Anyone can take any of the competency learning modules and can opt to earn stacked competencies and attain a core certificate. Take only what you need. Similarly, there are no prerequisites for specializations; so, you don’t have to earn a core certificate before enrolling in a specialization.

No, this is the authority of the NIGP Content Management Committee; consistent with standard policies and practices they establish. However, you can recommend new core certificates to them for consideration.

No, this is the authority of the NIGP Content Management Committee. However, the Committee will definitely engage with public agencies who wish to create agency-based recognition of learning pathways for their employees; using the very flexible series of competency modules within the Public Procurement Competency Framework (PPCF). Imagine credentialing where a core certificate is co-branded by NIGP and the public entity to reflect the achievement of competencies.


LEVEL 3: DESIGNATIONS


A designation distinguishes you as having demonstrated a strong grasp of learning or competencies in multiple functional areas (often referred to as macro learning). Because designations require extensive coursework, only an elite number of professionals will likely achieve a designation. By doing so, a designation is intended to identify and distinguish the culmination of an achievement.

A designation also enhances credibility of those professionals engaged in specific roles within public procurement. Additionally, a designation may be a suitable pathway for individuals who cannot earn a certification due to eligibility requirements.

A designation is automatically earned once you earn all the pre-determined certificates that are stacked into the designation. The designation is an instant, public recognition for achieving specific competencies.

The NIGP Content Management Committee establishes policies and practices for NIGP’s certificate and designation programs. This Committee creates new designations based on recommendations from the NIGP staff, validates topics and related certificates to be stacked into a designation, and issues all NIGP designations.

None. There are no pre-requisites… no educational requirements… no work experience requirements. And there is no application or screening process. You simply earn all the pre-determined certificates stacked by the NIGP Content Management Committee.

No. Since you successfully complete assessments for each competency badge that is stacked into a certificate and further stacked into a designation, you have already demonstrated assessment at the micro-level.

Nothing. The designation is conferred for anyone who earns all the pre-determined certificates.

The designation will be displayed as a digital badge that will be issued by Content Management Committee directly to your profile in Aspire – NIGP’s Learning Management System.

Yes, you will be able to print a designation (in the form of a certificate) directly from your profile on Aspire – NIGP’s Learning Management System.

The first designation will be a Designated Public Procurement Associate and should be available by late November 2019. This designation will represent a stack of three certificates:

  • Certificate in Strategy and Policy (available August 2019).
  • Certificate in Planning and Analysis (available October 2019)
  • Certificate in Sourcing and Contracting (available November 2019)

Yes, we may offer an on-line designation program for suppliers based on demand. We are still researching whether there is significant interest. There have also been preliminary discussions on a potential designation for contract officers and/or for warehouse and inventory control personnel.

Yes, we plan to pilot a bootcamp that covers all the competency modules that lead to the Designated Public Procurement Associate. The bootcamp will be offered as an intensive 4-day, in-person course or an 8-week online course. The registration fee is $1,295 – about a 10% savings – regardless of whether you take the course online or in person. The combined fees to take courses for each of the three certificates is $1,445.

No, however you should use the title of the designation next to your name on official letters and business cards:
Jane Doe
Designated Public Procurement Associate

No, badges and certificates stay on your member record. However, they are no longer relevant; simply because the designation includes those related certificates and competencies. Like the competency badges and certificates, the designations will be digitized – meaning that anyone can view the digital certificate to see what rigor of competencies and certificates are included in the designation.

Yes. Due to the comprehensive nature of the designation reflecting the public procurement practice, designations will likely have an expiration date. However, they will likely have a renewal option that requires individuals to take limited coursework to update their knowledge, skills and competencies on the newest public procurement practices and standards. These determinations will be made by the Content Management Committee.

No, this is the authority of the NIGP Content Management Committee; consistent with standard policies and practices they establish. However, you can recommend new designations to them for consideration.

No, this is the authority of the NIGP Content Management Committee. However, the Committee will definitely engage with public agencies who wish to create agency-based recognition of learning pathways and unique designations for their employees based on the competency modules within the Public Procurement Competency Framework (PPCF). Imagine credentialing where a designation such as the “Designated City of ___ Professional Contract Officer” is co-branded by NIGP and the public entity.

FAQs: SPECIALIZATIONS


Specializations are one of three distinct offerings within the NIGP Credentialing System

In many professions, a professional will initially learn and practice the foundational aspects of the profession and then specialize in a specific discipline and skill through advanced learning and education to practice within a particular purpose or area of knowledge. As an example, in medicine, physicians specialize in areas such as sports medicine or oncology.

Within the public procurement network, specializations are specific learning programs that are focused on emerging competencies that are valuable to public procurement professionals based on the roles they play within the public entity. Specializations stand apart from the certificate and designation program and are not designed to be stacked or combined with any other learning program.

Specializations address the need for life-long learning by offering advanced knowledge and skill development within a specific procurement specialty. Since these are optional learning programs that target a very specific procurement function, the learning is laser-focused and concentrated.

Specializations are a value to seasoned professionals who are seeking specialized learning to either enhance their overall learning portfolio or prepare them for new roles within the public entity. Specializations are also a value to CPOs and public service managers who seek advanced level competencies to specific employee groups.

Like the other NIGP credentialing system offerings, specializations include a public recognition that validates advanced knowledge and competency and distinguishes the professional as having expertise in a specific procurement function.

  • Technology Procurements (available August 2019)
  • Public Construction Procurement (available August 2020)
  • Supplier Diversity (future)
  • P-Card Programs (future)
  • Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery (future)
  • Federal Grants Compliance (future)
  • Sustainability (future)

Our NIGP Content Team continually assesses member needs based on research analysis and member feedback.

A key function of an educational program is to anticipate what knowledge, skills and competencies are needed today and in the near future and to build learning events that prepare public procurement professionals to successfully perform those competencies. Those learning events may be developed by NIGP’s Content Team in partnership with subject matter experts and/or third-party educational providers with expertise in the specialization.

Our Content Team will engage the NIGP Content Management Committee in the decision-making process since the Committee is responsible for issuing the Specializations to individuals once they complete the learning program and successfully pass the assessment.

Possibly. The Content Management Committee, in partnership with the NIGP Content Team, will need to determine whether baseline knowledge contained within one or more competency modules of the Public Procurement Competency Framework is required before an individual register for a Specialization.

As an example, a specialization in construction procurement may require that the individual understand the fundamentals of sourcing before registering for the specialization. The best way to demonstrate this would be through a competency badge or a certificate that incorporates sourcing; or obviously, a NIGP-CPP certification. Each specialization will have different requisites depending on the importance of baseline knowledge.

Yes. At the conclusion of the learning event there will be an assessment to ensure that you can apply the learning and competency. You need to successfully complete the assessment in order to earn the specialization.

The Specialization will be displayed as a digital badge that is issued by Content Management Committee directly to your profile in Aspire – NIGP’s Learning Management System.

Yes, you will be able to print specialization certificates directly from your profile on Aspire – NIGP’s Learning Management System.

NIGP intends to offer one new specialization every year – with a launch to coincide with the annual NIGP Forum and Products Exposition.

The first Specialization will concentrate on Technology Procurements and will be offered in-person as a three-day, pre-Forum seminar in Austin in August 2019.

The second specialization will concentrate on Public Construction Procurements and will be offered in-person as a three-day, pre-Forum seminar in Chicago in 2020.

We will continue to offer all specializations until the market demand is no longer sustainable.

Specialization courses offered in-person at the annual Forum can be replicated based on demand. NIGP Chapter affiliates may wish to make this offering available to their members as a chapter-hosted seminar. Regardless of the venue, participants who take the course and pass the assessment will earn the Specialization.

Each specialization will have its unique attributes that require intensive learning and multiple hours of engagement and study. Our plan is to set pricing based on the number of hours needed to achieve the learning results – just as we currently charge different rates depending on whether the course is for 8 hours, 16 hours, or 24 hours.

For the first specialization on Technology Procurements, to be offered in Austin this August 2019, the registration fee will be $595.

Yes. They will likely have an expiration date; but this is yet to be determined by the NIGP Content Management Committee. Since specializations are typically focused on emerging procurement topics, it is likely that they can be renewed if additional coursework is taken to update knowledge, skills and competencies on the newest trends and best practices centered on the specialization.






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