Certification Program FAQs

AACE Member vs. Non-Member

  • Do I have to be a member to take a certification exam?
    No. You are not required to be an AACE member to sit for an AACE certification exam. However, there are many benefits to AACE membership such as discounted certification exam fees, discounted recertification fees, discounted study materials, free Recommended Practices downloads, free TCM Framework download, and much more.

Cost & Payment

  • Do I pay before or after my application is accepted?
    Payment is due before you can submit your application.
  • If I change my mind, can I get a refund?
    No refunds are permitted.
  • I paid for my resit. What do I do next?
    Once your payment has been processed, you will receive another clearance email with instructions to schedule your resit exam.
  • It is past my six-month registration period. Can I resit?
    Once you are past your registration expiration, you may take the exam again, but you are no longer eligible for the reduced fee. You will be required to begin a new registration and pay full exam fees.
  • Will I receive a refund for a cancelled exam?
    AACE has a strict no-refund policy. There are no refunds given.

Eligibility & Application

  • If I cannot contact my former employer for employment verification, what can I do?
    Most employers do a preliminary background check prior to hire. In most cases, we will accept their verification of your past work history.
  • My diploma is not in English. Will you accept my typed translation?
    No. We will only accept a translation made by an official translation service.
  • How long do I have to wait to be cleared after I submit my application?
    AACE has up to 45 days to review your application upon submission. However, for CCT, CEP, CST, EVP, PRMP, and PSP, review usually takes a few business days and you should receive clearance.

Resources & Preparation

  • Are there any courses to prepare me to take an exam?
    AACE offers several on demand courses, as well as virtual and in-person seminars. Please visit our Upcoming Events page for the latest or contact the Education Department at education@aacei.org for current courses offered and all pertinent details.
  • Are preparatory courses required to take an exam?
    No. Preparatory courses are not required to take an AACE certification examination.
  • Do I have to buy all the recommended resource material to take an exam?
    You are not required to purchase any recommended resource. However, many candidates find the study guides and other recommended resources helpful in their certification endeavors.
  • What study materials does AACE provide to prepare for a certification exam?
    AACE provides study materials to prepare for a certification examination (see resources here). AACE members also receive the benefit of complimentary downloads of Recommended Practices (RPs) and the Total Cost Management (TCM) Framework.
  • How long does it take to prepare for an exam?
    This is something that AACE cannot determine because it differs for each candidate, and largely depends on your experience level. We do encourage you to complete your study prior to registering for the exam so that you can take full advantage of your six-month registration period.

Examination & Testing

  • Where can I take an exam?
    AACE certification exams are only delivered at Kryterion designated testing centers (over 800 worldwide). You may preview the cities/states/countries by clicking here.
  • Can I arrange for an exam at my company?
    No. Exams are only conducted at select testing centers that deliver AACE exams.
  • I am in an isolated area and there are no testing centers within 3-5 hours. Can I still take an exam?
    If you wish to take one of our exams but cannot find a testing location within a reasonable distance, please contact the Certification Department at certification@aacei.org.
  • How long do I have to take an exam?
    Once you receive your clearance email, you have six months in which to take your exam up to three times – two of those attempts would be at a reduced fee. We recommend scheduling your exam soon after receiving clearance, so you can take advantage of your entire six-month registration period, if necessary.
  • How many questions are on an exam?
    The CCT & CST exams have 100 simple multiple-choice questions.
    The CCP exam has 120 simple and complex multiple-choice questions.
    The CEP, DRMP, EVP & PSP exams have 120 simple and complex multiple-choice questions, including one written memo question.
    The CFCC exam has 100 simple and complex multiple-choice questions and 4 written essays.
  • Do I need to take my clearance letter from AACE to an exam with me?
    No. You are not required to take your AACE clearance letter to the testing center.
  • Do I need to know my AACE ID# to take an exam?
    If taking the CEP, CFCC, DRMP, EVP or PSP exam, you will need to know your AACE ID#. You will need to provide this number in your written memo/essay response(s). It is best to have your AACE ID# memorized as you are not permitted to bring any outside material with you (except for CFCC, which is an open book exam).
  • What is the difference between a cancelling and rescheduling an exam?
    Cancellations shall be deemed as any change made at exactly 72 hours or less before the originally scheduled exam and incurs a fee.
    Rescheduling shall be deemed any change made greater than exactly 72 hours before the originally scheduled exam and does not incur a fee.
  • What if I have to cancel a scheduled exam?
    You must contact AACE certification staff at certification@aacei.org or +1-304-296-8444, ext. 1110. A fee may apply if there is less than a 72-hour notice.
  • What if I have to reschedule a scheduled exam?
    If it is greater than 72 hours’ notice, you will log in to your Kryterion test taker profile and reschedule the exam to another date, time and location (if desired), with no additional fees.
    If it is less than 72 hours’ notice, you are required to contact certification staff at certification@aacei.org or +1-304-296-8444, ext. 1110. A fee will apply.
  • Am I allowed to take food and/or a drink into an exam?
    You will not be permitted to take anything into the exam with you except a calculator (CCT, CST, and CFCC will be allowed their open-book items). The exam center will provide a location for you to store your personal items until your exam is complete.
  • What do I need to take with me on exam day?
    You will need to take two IDs, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID.
  • There was a disruption that occurred during my exam. Whom should I contact?
    Please review AACE’s Disruption Policy for specific details.

Results & Scores

  • When do I get my exam results?
    • CCT & CST exam results are given immediately upon completion of the exam.
    • CCP exam results are given within a few business days, as the technical paper component must be included in the result.
    • CEP, CFCC, DRMP, EVP & PSP exam results are not given immediately, as the written portions of the exam (memo/essay) must be graded and averaged with your multiple-choice exam result. Memos and essays are sent to be graded during monthly grading cycles (on or around the 15th, depending on what day it falls) and results are given approximately 2-3 weeks following. 
  • What score do I have to get on my exam to pass?
    You must receive 70% for your overall result to pass. For CCP, you must also pass your technical paper to pass the overall exam.
  • Will I get a numerical score for my exam?
    It is the policy of the Certification Board, in accordance with our accreditation authority, to release results on a Pass/Fail basis only; therefore, no individual scores will be given.

Disputes & Appeals

  • How do I file a dispute regarding certification matters?
    Any candidate or certificant with a dispute or complaint related to testing centers, examination results, policies and procedures, staff or board members, may file a formal dispute or complaint to report the issue. The online form is found by clicking here.

    Complainants will have the opportunity to appeal any dispute or complaint decision.

Recertification & Maintenance

  • Why do I have to recertify?
    Recertification is necessary to verify continuing competence for maintaining AACE certification for an additional certification term.
  • How do I recertify?
    You must complete an application through your AACE profile. You may choose to apply for Recertification by Activity or Recertification by Examination from the menu options before your expiration date. There is no opportunity to apply for recertification in any other manner.
  • Do I have a grace period?
    You have a 6-month grace period to recertify by CEUs or by exam. If recertification has not been achieved by the end of your grace period, the certification is immediately decertified and not eligible for further extension.
  • What is a CEU?
    CEU stands for Continuing Education Units. We use CEUs for the recertification process. Other groups refer to this as Professional Development Units (PDUs) or Professional Development Hours (PDHs).
  • What constitutes one CEU?
    One CEU equals ten contact hours of participation in organized continuing education classes and/or training or meeting. A contact hour is equivalent to one 60-minute interaction between an instructor/presenter and the participant.
    • Example: You attend a two-day, 16-hour professional development course. You will receive .10 CEU per hour, for a total of 1.6 CEUs. The calculation is: x hours/10.
  • How do I convert PDUs to CEUs?
    10 hours = 1 CEU
  • How many CEUs can I claim for AACE's Conference & Expo?
    This is dependent upon the total hours of technical sessions. Once the program is finalized the total CEUs are are listed on our website and in your agenda. Typically, the average range is 1.5 to 1.8 CEUs.
  • How often do I need to recertify?
    Recertification is every three years.
  • How many CEUs do I need to recertify by Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?
    You will be required to show that you’ve accumulated a minimum of 12 CEUs for the past three-year certification period.
  • When do I submit my Recertification by CEUs Application?
    You may submit your recertification application up to six-months prior to your expiration date.
  • When does my recertification start?
    Your recertification begins at initial certification; the day you become certified.
  • How long does it take for my recertification application to be processed?
    Please allow 2-3 weeks for review and processing after receipt of your application.
  • Can I recertify by exam?
    This option requires registration for a certification examination and payment. You must pass the examination, which will renew your certification for three additional years.
  • When can I recertify by exam?
    You can recertify by exam, up to six-months prior to your expiration date.
  • How long do I have to take my recertification by exam?
    You must have taken and passed your recertification examination before your final expiration date, unless other arrangements have been made and approved by AACE certification staff.
  • How many attempts do I get to pass by recertification by exam?
    You get one attempt to pass your recertification by exam. There are no resit opportunities.
  • I have multiple certifications. Do I have to complete an application for each one?
    Yes, you are required to submit an application for each certification you hold. However, in order to not have to re-enter your information in each application, complete one application in its entirety, when you create your subsequent applications, the details will copy to your application and items that fit into the recertification period will be applied.

CCP Technical Paper 

  • How long do I have to turn in my technical paper (for CCP exam)?
    It is at your discretion. You can begin your CCP application process at any time, but since the technical paper is part of the eligibility requirements, you are not able to submit the application until the technical paper has been uploaded.
  • How long does my paper have to be?
    Your paper must be at least 2,500 words and shouldn’t be more than 5,000.
  • When is the best time to register and submit my technical paper?
    Our grading cycles run on or around the 15th of each month. If you register a week or so prior to the 15th, your paper should be able to be included in the following grading cycle.
  • May I use my thesis or dissertation for my submission?
    You may, but the paper must not be more than 5,000 words and must be formatted to fit the Technical Paper Template.
  • What should the topic of my paper be?
    Your topic can be on anything as long as it pertains to Cost Engineering/Total Cost Management. If you still need help, members can view hundreds of papers that have been published or presented in AACE’s publications or meetings in the Virtual Library.
  • Why does the CCP have a technical paper requirement?
    All professional-level and expertise-level certifications have a written component of the exam that tests the candidate’s ability to communicate professional knowledge. The CCP’s written component is in the form of the technical paper.
  • How long is my paper valid?
    Your technical paper must be current and written within the last three years. If your paper passed but you are retaking the exam, your passed paper is valid for three years from the date written.
  • I received my clearance email. Does this mean I passed the technical paper?
    No. Your clearance email only indicates that you have been cleared to sit for your exam because we have received the evaluations for your paper. Clearance is not indicative of pass or fail. The technical paper is considered part of your exam, so you will receive the paper result when you receive the result of the multiple-choice portion of your exam.

To remain strong and responsive to the needs of certified members and other cost professionals, the public, and AACE International Certification Institute, our certification programs solicit input from all interested individuals and organizations as to the policies and procedures used in administering the Association’s certification programs. Please address any comments you may have regarding the administration of certification programs to the Certification Board via e-mail to certification@aacei.org or via U.S. mail at Certification Board, AACE International, 726 East Park Avenue #180, Fairmont, WV 26554 USA


If our FAQs library does not
answer your question, contact
the Certification Department at certification@aacei.org or
304-296-8444, ext. 1115 for assistance.