What is CSCMP Supply Chain Management Certification – SCPro?

The SCPro™ supply chain certification program is offered by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. It offers four levels of certification, culminating in a unique, project-based credential at the highest level.

Certification is essential for supply chain professionals. The industry is not regulated, so certification credentials communicate knowledge, skills, and professionalism. The SCPro system of credentials is comprehensive, challenging, and highly regarded.

About Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is the system through which goods and services move from raw materials to final, sellable products. The supply chain must be managed to maximize profits and market share for the company selling goods and to improve customer value.

The job of a supply chain manager is to control every step of the process, make it more efficient, and save costs wherever possible. They have to make important decisions to ensure there are no shortages and to avoid other issues. As problems arise, they need to come up with practical solutions. The five main elements of supply chain management are:

  1. An overall strategy
  2. Sourcing materials or services
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Logistics and delivery
  5. A system for returning products

Supply chain management is complicated work. It requires a trained professional with an eye for detail and organization, the ability to problem-solve, and creative thinking.

Is Certification Required for Supply Chain Managers?

The supply chain and logistics profession is not regulated by a government agency. To work in the industry, you do not need to have a specific certification or license. There is one exception to this, which is defense acquisition. If you work for the Department of Defense, you must be certified through the Defense Acquisition University.

Most employers prefer to hire managers with a bachelor’s degree. However, an associate’s degree or experience in the workplace are often adequate prerequisites for employment.

The Importance of Certifications

Although it is not required, most supply chain managers work toward holding one or more certifications. Several professional organizations offer certification. To earn a credential generally includes educational requirements, work experience hours, and a passing score on an exam.

The majority of logistics professionals believe that certification in the industry is important or very important. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Certification validates your competency as a professional in the industry. It shows that you have the knowledge, education, and practical experience to do the job.
  • Managers with certification earn higher salaries.
  • Certification makes you competitive among new hires but also within your workplace. It signals that you are a leader.
  • Consistently working toward higher levels of certification shows that you are serious about your profession and desire to advance in your career.
  • Certified supply chain professionals tend to stay with their companies longer, advancing their careers within that company and earning higher salaries.
  • Certification is a built-in professional network that easily connects you to others in the industry.
  • Holding a certification means that you stay up-to-date on the industry. Most certifications require that you continue learning to stay current.

Certifications are important in many industries, but especially in supply chain management. The industry changes a lot, and staying current on best practices is essential. Several organizations offer certifications. Take the time to learn about each one, what they have to offer, and which is best for your needs.

About the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) is a leading professional organization in the industry. It seeks to advance the profession by educating supply chain professionals and connecting them to each other.

Through education, connections, and certification, CSCMP aims to improve the skills of individuals, support career development, maintain professionalism in the industry, conduct research, and increase awareness of the importance of global supply chains.

An Overview of CSCMP Certification

CSCMP’s certification program is called SCPro. It is an all-inclusive certification, which means it involves every aspect of the supply chain. It meets the needs of professionals working in all types of industries and businesses.

SCPro is a tiered certification program:

  • SCPro Fundamentals Certification is an entry-level, foundational certification that is also cost-effective for those new to the industry.
  • Level One is a test of all areas of basic knowledge for supply chain management with a multiple-choice exam.
  • Level Two is called Analysis and Application of Supply Chain Challenges. It uses a case-study exam to test your ability to apply knowledge to real situations.
  • Level Three is Initiation of Supply Chain Transformation. This highest level of certification involves a real-world project that shows you can use what you know and your experience to make tangible improvements for a company or organization.

What Makes SCPro Certification Different

Several organizations offer valuable and high-quality supply chain credentials, but SCPro is unique. It’s one of the only certifications that cover all areas of supply chain management. CSCMP has outlined eight learning blocks essential to understanding the entire supply chain:

  1. Supply chain management principles
  2. Customer service operations
  3. Transportation operations
  4. Warehousing operations
  5. Demand planning
  6. Inventory management
  7. Manufacturing and service operations
  8. Supply management and procurement  

In the past, supply chain management involved discreet units of expertise. One person handled suppliers, for instance, while another dealt with delivery logistics. Today’s managers are expected to be able to work on the entire chain. SCPro certification is comprehensive in this way, covering all eight essential areas.

As a tiered certification program, you can start at the bottom and continue to learn and earn credentials as you advance your career. The program also includes the Bridge Exam for professionals with alternative certifications or other credentials.

SCPro Fundamentals Certification

The starting point for many professionals is the Fundamentals Certification. This is designed for entry-level and some mid-level workers. It covers all the foundational knowledge for supply chain management. It costs less than the other certifications, making it a good value for companies that want to certify several workers.

The cost of a first attempt at the exam is just $10 online and free with in-person testing. Second attempts are $35 and $25, and third attempts cost $50 and $60. There is also a $30 rescheduling fee that applies to any SCPro exam. There are no prerequisites to take the fundamentals exam.

SCPro Level One

SCPro Level One certification is the only industry credential that covers all elements of the supply chain. It’s a great way to show employers that you’re prepared to advance in the industry. You can qualify to take the exam with four years of relevant work experience or a four-year or higher degree from an accredited school.

The Level One exam consists of 160 multiple choice questions divided into eight learning blocks. You can take the exam online from any location. The cost of the first attempt at this level is $650 for members of CSCMP and $975 for non-members. If you don’t pass on the first attempt, CSCMP allows retakes after at least 30 days and up to three times per year. Retakes cost $395.

SCPro Level Two – Analysis and Application of Supply Chain Challenges

What sets the Level Two exam apart from Level One is the inclusion of case studies. Test takers are expected to be able to analyze real supply chain situations and make recommendations for optimizing efficiency and savings. It is a test of the integration of fundamental knowledge with troubleshooting real-world scenarios.

To be eligible for the Level Two exam, you must hold a current Level One certification and have either a four-year degree and three years of work experience or seven years of experience with no degree. The cost of the exam is $1,095 for members and $1,500 for non-members.

The Level Two exam covers additional skills, such as risk assessment, supply chain finance, strategy, network design, sustainability, and internal and external process integration. The exam is online but only available during scheduled, proctored sessions. You have four hours to read the case study and answer in essay format.

SCPro Level Three – Initiation of Supply Chain Transformation

The highest tier in the SCPro certification series is a project. It is unlike any other certification in the industry. To qualify for this level, you must have Levels One and Two certifications and either a four-year degree with five or more years of work experience or nine-plus years of work experience without a degree.

Rather than completing a sit-down, one-time test, Level Three requires the completion of a major project. When you register, you will be paired with an advisor to guide your project as a mentor. Your project will show the practical application of supply chain management skills and knowledge to make measurable improvements to a real supply chain. You’ll select a particular goal, such as improving time in the cycle or getting a better return on investment.

Once you complete the project, a panel of experts in supply chain management evaluates the results. Committing to this process shows that you are ready to be an expert and a leader in the industry.

SCPro Bridge Exam

To account for and leverage real-world experience and credentials from other organizations, SCPro offers the Bridge Exam. With a passing score, you achieve Level One certification and qualify to set for Level Two.

Eligibility for the Bridge Exam is a professional credential from another recognized organization or an advanced degree in supply chain management with four years of work experience. The exam includes 60 multiple-choice questions. Retakes are not allowed.

Registering and Rescheduling Exams

All SCPro exams are scheduled online. You will take the online exams through a site called Questionmark, which includes live proctoring through a webcam. You can take an exam from any location, but there are specific proctoring windows, so scheduling is important.

SCPro allows you to reschedule the exams, but a fee applies. If you need to cancel without rescheduling, you might also have a fee. This depends on the exam level.

Study Materials for SCPro Exams

CSCMP provides education and study materials for its exams. Level One materials include guidelines, an interactive learning exam, a study guide, and additional study materials with an interactive curriculum created by experts in the industry.

For Level Two, you can use the study guide as well as extra study materials. These include articles and excerpts from textbooks chosen by leaders in the field. There are no study materials for Level Three because of the nature of the credential.

How Long Does it Take to Achieve SCPro Certification?

This varies significantly by the level and the candidate. If you have a lot of experience already, you’ll need less time to study and prepare. CSCMP reports that candidates for Level One typically spend two to four hours per week studying over the course of two to three months before taking the exam.

If your company is sponsoring a certification program, you might need to follow a set schedule rather than study at your own pace. Corporate programs like these usually take about a year to complete.

Maintaining Certification

CSCMP renews certifications every two years. To qualify to renew, you need to complete 25 hours of professional development during each two years. The two-year timeline begins on the last day of the month, during which you earned the original certification. Professional development activities must meet eligibility guidelines set by CSCMP.

CSCMP offers several training options you can use as part of continuing education. You can also choose from providers approved by the organization. Some examples of providers include the University of Colorado, Denver, Governors State University, Blue Jay Solutions, and the International Chamber of Commerce Academy.

Getting certified as a supply chain professional is important for many reasons, from earning a better salary to maintaining quality standards in the industry. If you’re ready to get certified or are just starting out in the industry, CSCMP offers comprehensive options that are well-respected throughout supply chain management and by companies in all industries.