Materials Management Certification Program Overviews

Read about the certifications available for materials management professionals. See which groups offer certification, learn about the requirements and get information on testing and test preparation courses.

Essential Information

Materials management refers to the main components of business supply chains, which include purchasing, shipping, managing inventory, inspecting materials, and ensuring quality. Professionals looking to earn certification in materials management can take tests from several different organizations. Qualifying to take the certification tests generally entails a combination of formal education and experience. Certifications are offered in several areas, including supply management and inventory management.

Professional Certifications

APICS, the Association for Operations Management, provides two certification programs. First, there's the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) program, which is intended for those who are fairly new to the materials management field; APICS CPIM requires at least two years of experience, but no bachelor's degree. Second, there's the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential, which requires a minimum of five years of professional experience or two years of experience and a bachelor's degree.

Another organization offering materials management certifications is the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Several certifications at ISM are relevant to materials management, including the Certified in Supply Management (CSM) and the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). The CSM and the CPSM cover a broad base of materials management knowledge, though individuals seeking the CPSM are required to possess a bachelor's degree.

Exam Details

Materials management certifications typically require passing between three and five exams. The exams test an individual's expertise in areas such as supply chain management, resource planning and contract negotiation. Each exam covers a variety of specific details in an area of materials management. For example, an exam on materials sourcing may test knowledge of different types of distributors, quality control, finding new sources and price analysis.

Review Courses

Many organizations offer review courses that help individuals prepare for the certification exams. APICS offers in-person courses, self-guided online courses and instructor-led courses. Group classes, whether online or in-person, offer the benefit of studying alongside industry peers. In addition to courses, most organizations make extensive review materials available through their websites.

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