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Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) Program FAQs



General CPSD™ FAQs:

CPSD™ Exam FAQs:

CPSM® Application FAQs:


What is the Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity® (CPSD™) designation?

The Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity® (CPSD) is a professional designation for supply management professionals whose responsibilities include supplier diversity. The CPSD is also intended for other business professionals with responsibility for strategic diversity initiatives. The designation allows professionals to deliver added value to business leaders and other team leaders who participate in the development of diverse supplier initiatives within the organization — giving them the instant recognition that comes with a respected diversity-program standard.

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What are the criteria to obtain the CPSD™?

  • Successfully pass the Foundation of Supply Management — Exam 1.
    (This requirement is waived if the candidate holds a current C.P.M. or CPSM®.)
  • Successfully pass the CPSD Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam — 2.
  • Have a minimum of five years of professional (nonclerical, nonsupport) supplier diversity or supply management experience (does not need to be full-time), OR three years of professional (nonclerical, nonsupport) supplier diversity or supply management experience IF the candidate has a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

1Regionally accredited means that your bachelor's degree was earned from a college or university that is recognized by one of the six U.S. accrediting organizations listed with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). If you earned your degree outside the United States, ISM has compiled a general list of degrees that are accepted as equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Please email the Certification Department if you have questions regarding your degree.

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What is considered acceptable work experience?

Full-time professional experience where supplier diversity, supply management, procurement or supply chain is a component of your job function. Clerical and support roles do not apply. Candidates can submit a Work Experience Evaluation if they are unsure if their experience qualifies. This evaluation is optional and a fee will apply.

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

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

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What are the benefits of achieving the CPSD™?

You need to speak and understand the language of purchasing and supply chain to provide a solid business case for diverse suppliers. The CPSD™ demonstrates you have an understanding of procurement and the entire supply chain, not just supplier diversity. It proves you can lead a comprehensive supplier diversity program. This professional designation demonstrates to your employer, your colleagues, your suppliers and even your customers that you are serious about helping diverse suppliers and your organization succeed.

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What are the benefits for my organization if I become CPSD™ certified?

Successful organizations maintain an edge, especially in this competitive marketplace. The value of supplier diversity is that it gives your organization a distinction that shows your commitment to diversity through strong relationships with your suppliers and all stakeholders. A solid supplier diversity program creates opportunities to partner with innovative or otherwise untapped resources and markets. Additionally, having the CPSD™ designation is instant rec­ognition that you and your organization are on the right track.

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What is the average cost to obtain the CPSD?

The average cost for ISM members ranges from $347-$733 USD. The average cost for nonmembers ranges from $577 - $1,153.  ISM membership is not required to become a CPSD™, however significant savings, along with a host of member benefits are enjoyed by ISM members. For information about joining as an ISM member, visit the membership section of our website.

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How long will it take to get my CPSD™?

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

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How can current CPSM®s or C.P.M.s obtain the CPSD™?

Current CPSM®s and/or C.P.M.s only need to pass the CPSD Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam and then apply to obtain the CPSD™ designation.

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Are there exam(s) for the CPSD™?

Yes. There are two separate exams; the Foundation of Supply Management Exam-1 and the CPSD™ Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam-2, which together cover the main segments of supplier diversity.

Exam Registration

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Do the CPSD™ Exams need to be taken in any particular order?

No,the CPSD™ Exams do not need to be taken in any particular order.  The Foundation of Supply Management Exam 1 and the CPSD™ Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam 2 can be taken in whichever order you choose.

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What content is covered in the CPSD™ Exams?

There are two exams to obtain the CPSD™ designation. Below is a break-down of the exams by section, with the number of questions and time allowed. See the Exam Specifications for further details.

Exam 1: Foundation of Supply Management

Section Name

# of Questions

 

Cost & Finance

32



165 questions
150 scored
2 hrs. 45 mins.

Contracting and Negotiation

32

International

17

Social Responsibility

14

Sourcing

20

Supplier Relationship Mgmt.

35

 

150 questions

(plus 15 unscored)

 

  

Exam 2: CPSD™ Essentials in Supplier Diversity

Section Name

# of Questions

 

Policies and Planning

 



120 questions
all scored
2 hrs.

Sourcing/Supplier Development

 

Finance/Budgeting

 

Metrics/Oversight

 

Training and Development

 

Advocacy/Marketing/Outreach

 
 

120 questions

(all scored)

 

 

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How much do the CPSD™ Exams cost?

$229 USD per exam for ISM members
$379 USD per exam for non-members (includes ISM Direct Membership)

Exam registrations are valid for one (1) year from the date that ISM processes your registration. You must test by the expiration date to avoid forfeiting your exam fees.

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How are the Exams scored? What is passing?

Each candidate must pass with a minimum scaled score of (400 for the Foundation of Supply Management Exam 1) and (300 for the CPSD™ Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam 2) regardless of the number of questions in that Exam. ISM maintains multiple versions, or forms, of the exam. While the content of the exam remains constant, the actual questions used in the exam will change. Different forms of the exam use different questions, the level of difficulty will vary slightly from test to test. To compensate for these variations, a statistical procedure known as equating is used to account for differences in test difficulty. The passing score is not calculated based upon percentages.

For example, let's suppose we have two test forms of an exam — Test A and Test B. Now suppose it is established that in order to pass Test A, a person must answer 100 out of 150 questions correct. Furthermore, suppose that Test B is somewhat easier than Test A. To compensate for this difference, the passing score for Test B is adjusted to prevent any "bonus" being given to the candidates taking Test B. Thus, it may be established that a candidate must get a score of 110 out of 150 on Test B in order to pass. This is test equating. It holds candidates to the same standard in terms of difficulty, regardless of which version is taken.

Due to this method of equating the percentage of correct answers varies from exam to exam. Then, to maintain consistency in scoring, a second statistical procedure called scaling is used. Scaling converts all scores to a scale ranging from (100 to 600 with a passing score of 400 for the Foundation of Supply Management Exam 1) and (100 to 400 with a passing score set at 300 for the CPSD™ Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam 2) . Thus, the scores you receive from ISM are actually scaled scores. For example, if the scaled score you receive on the CPSD™ Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam 2 Exam ranges from 100 to 290, this means you failed that Exam. If the scaled score is in the range of 300 to 400, you passed that Exam.

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What do I do if I fail an exam?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How long are my CPSD™ Exam scores valid?

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

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

There are three ways to register for a CPSM® exam:

Register Online

Phone: 480-752-6276, or 480-752-6276, option 8

Or mail your application to

ISM
Attn: Customer Service
309 W Elliot Rd, Suite 113
Tempe, AZ 85284

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

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

Exam fees are $229 per exam for ISM members and $379 per exam for nonmembers.

Within 24 hours of processing your registration, you will receive a confirmation letter from ISM with instructions on how to schedule an exam and locate a test center on Pearson VUE's website.

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

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

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

Driver's License*
Passport*
Military I.D.*
Official State, Government, or National I.D.
Employee I.D.
Student I.D.
Photo credit card

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

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

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

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

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

Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will be considered a non-refundable "no show" and your exam fees will be forfeited.

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

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

Calculators will be also be provided.

Wear comfortable, layered clothing. Test center temperatures vary.

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How do I reschedule or cancel an existing appointment?

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

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

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How do I apply for the CPSD™?

After you have met all requirements, you will need to apply for certification. You can obtain the appropriate application in the Certification Forms section on our website. Complete and sign the application, attach the required backup documentation and mail the application along with the appropriate member or non-member fee. ISM recommends that you maintain a copy of the entire application, including all backup documentation. ISM will accept copies of your score reports.

ISM is unable put an application on-hold, pending an exam score or work experience letter. Incomplete applications will be returned unprocessed.

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What is the status of my application?

Application processing may take up to 6 weeks. We offer a rush service for an additional fee. If rush service is purchased, we guarantee that your application will be reviewed within 2 business days.

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Do I need to re-submit documentation that has already been approved by ISM?

No, we do not need duplicate copies of documentation that has already been approved. Please email the Certification Department to verify what documentation we have on file for you.

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How long is my CPSD™ valid?

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

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Once earned, how do I maintain my CPSD™?

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

Please notify the Certification Department when you move or change jobs in order to keep your records current, as we may attempt to notify individuals when their designation has expired.

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How do I earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)?

To recertify, applicants must earn 60 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) during their current certification period. At least two-thirds of the points must be educational in nature. One-third may be earned in the professional contributions category. Candidates will be able to retake CPSD™ Exam for 20 CEHs each, but only in the last year of their certification or during their grace period. ISM does not pre-approve CEHs for recertification.

Categories for earning CEHs are:

  1. College Courses (taken or taught)
  2. Continuing Education (taken or taught), including seminars, web seminars, corporate training, etc.
  3. Contributions to the Profession
  4. CPSD™ Exam (20 CEHs each in the last year of qualification or during the grace period)

Please notify the Certification Department when you move or change jobs in order to keep your records current, as we may attempt to notify individuals when their designation has expired.

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Are there any low cost ways to earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)?

Yes, ISM offers several low-cost options to earn CEHs. Training offered by your employer or other organization may also qualify.

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If I have multiple designations do I need separate Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) each renewal or can I use the same hours for both?

You may use the same CEHs for all ISM designations so long as they were obtained during your current certification period.

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May I send two applications in the same package?

Yes, 2 applications with one set of backup documents will be accepted. Please put a note on the front page to bring to our attention that there are 2 applications. Also, please make sure to include both application fees.

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Will it be possible to achieve Lifetime status for the CPSD™?

No. Lifetime status is not available for the CPSD™. Since the profession is continuing to increase in complexity, continuing education will play a major role in making sure supply managers stay current on the latest supply management best practices.

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How do I know when my CPSD™ expires?

The expiration date is located on the bottom left corner of your certificate. You can also verify your credentials online or contact the Certification Department.

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What happens if my CPSD™ expires?

There is a one-year grace period in which you can recertify without penalty. During this grace period the individual is no longer considered a CPSD™ in good standing and should not use the designation until they are recertified. The grace period does not lengthen your certification period — using this grace period will not change your next expiration date. Your expiration date will remain three years from when you were certified. If your CPSD™ is expired beyond the one-year grace period, you will need to retake the CPSD™ exams to reinstate the designation.

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