Print Share Home

Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) Program FAQs

Common Certification Forms

What is the Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) designation?

The Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) program covered the operational aspects of purchasing, as well as supply functions such as contracts, negotiations, technology and relationship management.

The C.P.M. designation has transitioned to a recertification-only program.

Back to Top

What does ISM consider as eligible work experience?

C.P.M. experience must be full-time and requires decision making and independent judgment (rather than clerical or support) to be eligible. A majority of the applicant's job responsibilities must be in supply management.

ISM field research reveals that the scope of supply management is an integration across fourteen components:

1. Disposition/Investment Recovery
2. Distribution
3. Inventory Control
4. Logistics
5. Manufacturing Supervision
6. Materials Management
7. Packaging
8. Procurement/Purchasing
9. Product/Service Development
10. Quality
11. Receiving
12. Strategic Sourcing
13. Transportation/Traffic/Shipping
14. Warehousing/Stores

ISM also considers those who have supply management professionals reporting to them even if they themselves do not have supply management as their primary job function.

A full-time teacher, research specialist, department head, director, or dean of a college, university, or other academic institution, who is concerned with supply management as part of their regular assignment may also qualify for the C.P.M.

A consultant whose job includes major "hands-on" emphasis in supply management would be eligible as well.

Back to Top

How long is my certification valid?

If you were able to document 18 years of applicable experience when you first applied for your C.P.M. you should have received a Lifetime Certification. This means your certification will never expire. If you documented less than 18 years of experience, your certification will be valid for 5 years from the date you were certified. You will need to be recertified in order to maintain your C.P.M. certification. ISM provides you with a one-year grace period beyond the expiration date of your certification. Once this grace period has passed there is no way to reinstate your certification.

Back to Top

How will I benefit from maintaining my C.P.M. certification?

Organizations have communicated to ISM that they value the C.P.M. as evidence of a solid baseline of purchasing knowledge. The supply management profession has evolved into one of the most strategic and cost-leveraging functions in today's competitive business environment, therefore maintaining your Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) designation may help advance your career. C.P.M. certification helps you to develop the skills needed to solve problems effectively, negotiate at a higher level and take the lead in accomplishing the strategic goals set by your organization.

Experienced professionals with or without a four-year university degree can greatly benefit by maintaining their C.P.M. regardless of their current focus in supply management.

Back to Top


Is it possible to get a replacement or additional certificate from ISM?

ISM can provide a replacement or an additional certificate. If you are a lifetime C.P.M., we will provide this service one time at no charge. For all other replacement requests, there is a processing fee. All requests for replacement certificates must complete the form found on our website: These requests should be faxed to 480-752-7890, e-mailed to or mailed to: ISM, 2055 E. Centennial Cir, Tempe, AZ 85284.

Back to Top

How can I verify a C.P.M.s individual status?

Individuals wishing to verify a C.P.M.s certification status can use ISM Credentials Verification. Please remember there may be instances where a candidate's information may not be up-to-date due to the time factor in processing applications and recertifications. If you have questions about posted results, please contact the Certification Department at

Back to Top

Will I still be able to use my C.P.M. designation now that the CPSM® is available?

Yes. ISM has granted over 53,000 C.P.M.s since the program's inception in 1974 meaning the C.P.M. designation will remain one of the most recognized designations in purchasing, in addition to the CPSM®. However, your certification must remain in good standing. If a candidate allows the C.P.M. to expire past the grace period, the candidate will no longer be allowed to recertify and must stop using the C.P.M. designation.

Back to Top

What dates do I need to remember?

December 31, 2014 — Last day to apply for the C.P.M. Designation (given your exam scores are still valid at that time)

December 31, 2014 — Last day to register for the CPSM® Bridge Exam (must be a current C.P.M. in good standing to register)

December 31, 2015 — Last day the CPSM® Bridge Exam is available (must be a current C.P.M. in good standing to at the time of registration for the CPSM® Bridge Exam and at the time of application for the CPSM® designation)

Back to Top

How can I keep updated on ISM's credentialing programs?

Information will be provided on the ISM website, in Supply Line 2055: Certification Update, in NewsLine, through affiliate leadership and via e-mail updates to subscribers. Be sure to sign up to receive CPSM® updates.

If you have questions or comments, contact ISM Professional Credentials at:


Back to Top

How do I document my work experience?

Resumes and business cards are not accepted by ISM as proof of employment.

We ask for documentation of employment in one of the following ways:

1. A letter from your supervisor. The supervisor does not have to be currently employed with the company where you both worked. He or she just needs to have been your supervisor at the time of your employment.
2. Signed job description from the company (usually from the Human Resources department).
3. A letter from a co-worker. This person does not have to be currently employed with the company where you both worked. He or she just needs to have been your co-worker at the time of your employment and be able to verify your job tasks.
4. A letter from a supplier with whom you worked.
5. Your most recent employer can verify all your past work experience however, ISM would need to know how they verified that experience.

All documentation needs to have the following:
Your name, dates of employment, job title(s), job description for each job title, signature of supervisor or company representative, their job title, and their contact phone number.

Samples of work experience letters.


Back to Top

Can I still recertify when ISM no longer issues Original C.P.M.s?

At this time, ISM has no plans to stop the recertification process for the C.P.M. program. Current C.P.M.s must maintain their designation in good standing. If C.P.M.s lapse past their grace period, they will not be able to recertify.


Back to Top

How do I recertify my C.P.M.?

To be recertified for the C.P.M., you must apply every five years and have earned 84 CEHs (Continuing Education Hours) during your current certification period. At least 56 CEHs must come from education or professional development, while no more than 28 CEHs may come from contributions to the profession.

CEHs may be earned in the following categories:

1. College Courses (Taken or Taught)
2. Continuing Education (Taken or Taught)
3. Contributions to the Profession

Please submit your C.P.M. Recertification application no earlier than 120 days prior to the expiration date on your current certificate.

Please read "How do I earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)?" for more details.


Back to Top

How do I earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)?

There are several ways to earn CEHs.

  • Attend and pass (or teach) college courses: 
    • 14 CEHs will be given for each semester hour completed in the following areas: Purchasing, materials management, supply management, management or other business-related subject matter (e.g. accounting, management, marketing, computers, economics, law, engineering, traffic management, communications, finance, statistics, physical sciences and behavioral sciences.
    • 7 CEHs will be given for most other three semester credit hour courses -- that's 7 CEHs for the entire course. 
  • Attend or present a public seminar or conference
  • Business-related training provided by your employer
  • Correspondence courses
  • Publishing an article in an established purchasing or trade magazine or a refereed journal 

Applicable topics for articles include:

  • Supply management
  • Purchasing
  • Accounting
  • Finance or other business related courses
  • Computer classes
  • Job training 

All educational events must be at least one hour in length to qualify toward recertification. ISM does not need to pre-approve your courses. Each candidate is required to track their own continuing education hours earned.

ISM does not require that the continuing education be taken through ISM. However, ISM does offer numerous ways to earn CEHs (ISM-sponsored seminars, conferences, online courses, and more). We recommend that you download the C.P.M. Recertification application from our website to review all of the requirements.

Other opportunities for CEHs:

ISM seminars are an excellent opportunity for you to earn CEHs. ISM currently offers a variety of different seminars across the country on various dates throughout the year. Take advantage of ISM's line-up of educational seminars and earn CEHs per seminar.

ISM2015 Annual Conference has numerous workshops in which to earn CEHs.

ISM's Knowledge Center brings supply management education and professional development into the comfort of your own home or office — or even when you're on the road. Online courses adjust to your lifestyle and schedule. In addition, ISM offers online learning opportunities available anytime, anywhere.

ISM also offers self-study courses for your convenience. These courses are in the form of workbooks, and upon completion of the requirements, candidates receive CEH credit.

ISM affiliates are also an excellent resource for CEHs. Many affiliates offer courses through local colleges and universities. Candidates can also earn CEHs by attending monthly affiliate meetings. Contact the affiliate in your area or visit its Web site to find out what programs are available.


Back to Top

Are there any low cost ways to earn CEH's?

Yes. ISM has several low-cost options to keep your CPSM®, CPSD™, C.P.M. or A.P.P. certification current. Some are even free. Click here for the complete list.


Back to Top

My C.P.M. has expired — what do I do now?

ISM provides each candidate with a one-year grace period to recertify their designation without penalty. During this grace period the individual is no longer a C.P.M. Candidates in their grace period should not use their designation until they are recertified by ISM. This grace period does not lengthen your certification period — using this grace period will not change your next expiration date. Your expiration date will remain five years from when you were last certified or recertified.

If you do not postmark your recertification application within one-year of the expiration date, you will not be allowed to reinstate your C.P.M. ISM does not make exceptions to this policy.

ISM will send reminder e-mails or postcards approximately 1 year, 6 months and 3 months prior to a candidate's expiration date. Emails will be sent to the most current email we have on file. Please notify the Certification Department at of any changes.


Back to Top

What are the C.P.M. Lifetime Certification requirements?

C.P.M.s applying for Lifetime certification must document at least 18 years of full-time professional supply management experience. Candidates need to earn CEHs through the year in which they meet the requirements for Lifetime certification, regardless of when they apply for the designation. Applicants for Lifetime certification should apply as soon as they are eligible.

CEHs are determined on a prorated basis, since the candidate's last certificate date. At least two-thirds of the hours must be educational in nature. One-third may be earned in the professional contributions category. Refer to the prorated point scale below to determine the number of CEHs required.

Years Since Certification Began CEHs Needed for Lifetime C.P.M.
1 year or less 21 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)
1 but less than 2 years 35 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)
2 but less than 3 years 56 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)
3 but less than 4 years 70 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)
4 but less than 5 years 84 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)


Back to Top

Return to the Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Main Page

Return to the Certification Main Page