MCPPO FAQs for Designations, OPMs and Designers, and Charter Schools Officials

Read frequently-asked questions about the Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO) Designation and how to renew the designation every three years. You will also find answers about certification requirements for Owner's Project Managers (OPMs), school project designers and charter school officials.

Table of Contents

MCPPO Designation

What is the difference between an MCPPO certification and the MCPPO designation?

Certification: We do not offer an MCPPO certification. Program participants often confuse the MCPPO designation that we do offer with the certifications we offer. The MCPPO program offers certifications, but these are not referred to as an "MCPPO Certification." For example, certain charter school employees must earn a certificate from the MCPPO program, called the Charter School Certification. To earn a certification, those employees must successfully complete the Charter School Procurement class. Charter school employees are also encouraged to earn the MCPPO designation.   

To assist in earning the designation, we will apply the Charter School Certification towards the requirements needed to earn the MCPPO designation. Instead of needing to take all three classes, charter school employees can opt out of our Public Contracting Overview class and just take the Supplies and Services Contracting and Design and Construction Contracting classes to earn their designation within the three-year period after earning their certification.

We also offer a School Project Designer’s (Designer) and Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) Certification. For Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) assisted projects, Massachusetts regulations require certain individuals to earn this Designer/OPM certification by completing the School Project Designers and Owner’s Project Managers Certification class. Every three years, this certification must be renewed.

Besides the MSBA, other agencies and jurisdictions require the designers and/or OPMs they employ to obtain this certification. For example, the UMass Building Authority (UMBA) requires OPMs under contract with UMBA to earn the certification. All designers and OPMs working on public construction projects in the Commonwealth are also encouraged to earn the certification and the MCPPO designation if their project responsibilities include using Chapter 30B.

To assist in earning the designation, we will apply the Designer/OPM certification towards the requirements needed to earn the MCPPO designation. Instead of needing to take all three classes, designers and OPMs can opt out of our Public Contracting Overview class and just take the Supplies and Services Contracting and Design and Construction Contracting classes to earn their designation within the three-year period after earning their certification.

Designation: The MCPPO program offers two designations: MCPPO and Associate MCPPO. In general, to obtain an MCPPO designation, you must successfully complete three core classes: Public Contracting Overview, Supplies and Services Contracting and Design and Construction Contracting. In addition, MCPPO designations have experience requirements.

In summary, we offer the following:

  • The MCPPO Designation
  • The MCPPO Associate Designation
  • The School Project Designer & Owner’s Project Manager Certification (required by MSBA regulations)
  • The Charter School Certification (required by MA law for all Charter Schools)

Why should I obtain an MCPPO designation?

Local jurisdictions in Massachusetts widely recognize the MCPPO designation as an indication that you are familiar with Massachusetts procurement law and best practices. Recipients of an MCPPO designation have successfully passed three examinations, completed at least 60 hours of professional training, met experience requirements, complied with continuing education requirements, and received a CORI (criminal record) check. Municipal job postings often require the MCPPO designation.

How long is an MCPPO designation valid?

A designation is valid for three years, and you must renew it every three years from the date of issue.

What are the different MCPPO designations?

Effective July 1, 2021, the MCPPO program offers two designations: MCPPO and Associate MCPPO. New applicants for an MCPPO designation (MCPPO or Associate MCPPO) must successfully complete our three core classes – Public Contracting Overview, Supplies and Services Contracting and Design and Construction Contracting – within a three-year period.

How do I apply for and obtain an MCPPO designation?

The MCPPO designations are available to individuals who have successfully completed the required classes and have met certain experience requirements.

After you complete the required classes, please fill out the application form and pay the required processing fee.

Do I have to submit a designation application if I am interested in changing my current designation?

No. Associate MCPPO designees may request a change to an MCPPO designation at no charge when they obtain more than three years of procurement-related experience. However, this will not change the original three-year renewal period for the designation. Please email us at MA-IGO-TRAINING@mass.gov to request this change. You do not need to complete the designation application.

If you need to update your designation from one of the former designations, i.e., MCPPO for Supplies and Services or Design and Construction, you may do so when you submit your next renewal application.

I hold one of the designations that the MCPPO program no longer supports. How do I obtain the MCPPO designation?

We no longer support the MCPPO or Associate MCPPO for Supplies and Services or Design and Construction. To update your designation to the MCPPO designation, you have two options: 

  1. During your three-year renewal cycle, you may take the core class that you need to update your designation instead of taking the required MCPPO Designation Renewal class. For example, say you hold the MCPPO for Supplies and Services. To update your designation, you need to take the Design and Construction Contracting class. You may take the Design and Construction Contracting class instead of taking the MCPPO Designation Renewal class. If you hold the MCPPO for Design and Construction, then to update your designation, you need to take the Supplies and Services Contracting class. You may take the Supplies and Services Contracting class instead of taking the MCPPO Designation Renewal class.
  2. Another option is to take both the Designation Renewal class and the core class you need to update your designation.

Please note that by choosing option one above, you also get the benefit of earning six additional renewal credits. Here’s how. The Renewal class provides 14 credits towards your renewal. If you take the Design and Construction Contracting class or the Supplies and Services Contracting class to update your designation, you will earn 20 credits – six more than the Renewal class. You may apply these six extra credits towards the 25 continuing education credits you need for your designation renewal. This means that you will have earned a total of 20 of the required 25 credits for renewal by taking one of the core classes you need to update your designation. You will only need to earn an additional five credits for your renewal requirement.

If we no longer offer your designation and you need to transition it to an MCPPO or Associate MCPPO Designation, here are your options.    

 

Option One

Option Two

1) Take needed core class

20 credits

20 credits

2) Take Renewal class

Not needed

14 credits

3) Other credits needed

5 credits

Not needed

TOTAL

25 credits

34 credits

 

We do not permit taking a core class in place of the required Renewal class when you do not need to transition your designation from one we no longer offer.

MCPPO electives and training webinar credits can be used towards your continuing education credits for designation.

I already have my MCPPO designation. If I take one of the classes that has an exam, do I need to take the exam?

Yes. The exam is part of the class requirements. To receive class credit, you must meet all class requirements. In the past, the MCPPO program may have allowed this practice for designation renewal purposes, but it was discontinued when the program introduced the MCPPO Designation Renewal class.  Retaking a core class at some point may provide a worthwhile refresher for MCPPO designees. Taking the exam could be a way for you to validate what you have learned or already knew. 

Additional Resources

MCPPO Designation Renewal

My MCPPO designation has lapsed. What can I do to renew my designation?

If your MCPPO designation has lapsed, a grace period of up to 90 days may be granted upon request for application filing and/or meeting renewal requirements. If the grace period has also lapsed, then you must complete our three core classes again: Public Contracting Overview, Design and Construction Contracting and Supplies and Services Contracting. If you have a reasonable explanation for this lapse beyond the grace period, then you may submit a written appeal outlining this explanation to the program administrator at MA-IGO-TRAINING@mass.gov.

How many credits are required for designation renewal?

Twenty-five credits are required for MCPPO designation renewal. This includes taking the MCPPO Designation Renewal class for 14 credits and earning an additional 11 credits within the designation cycle. You may only take the MCPPO Designation Renewal class within the 18 months before your designation expires. We have added this restriction because the Renewal class is intended to provide you with up-to-date information about procurement law and practice. This class will best accomplish the goal of providing timely information if designees take the class closer to their designation expiration date.

Required credits for regular MCPPO Designation renewal  
Take core class Not needed
Renewal class 14 credits
Other credits 11 credits

 

Which classes do I need to take for MCPPO designation renewal?

As of January 1, 2018, all designees due to renew will be required to successfully complete the MCPPO Designation Renewal class. An exam will be included. You will earn 14 credits for the successful completion of this class. You must also earn an additional 11 continuing education credits for a total of 25 credits during the designation cycle.

May I take outside classes for designation renewal credit?

Yes. In addition to the required MCPPO Designation Renewal class, you may obtain continuing education credits through other procurement-related professional trainings. The MCPPO Designation Renewal page provides examples of trainings that will qualify towards designation renewal. Please note that you will need to provide proof of attendance, number of credits earned, and a description of the training for any non-MCPPO training you wish to use towards your renewal.

I took a class two years before my MCPPO designation needed to be renewed. How long will those credits be valid towards MCPPO designation renewal?

The credits are valid for three years. Any valid procurement-related credits you earn during your three-year designation cycle would be valid towards your renewal requirements. All MCPPO credits are valid.

Will I automatically be notified when I am due for renewal?

You may send us an email request for your designation status at MA-IGO-TRAINING@mass.gov. You are ultimately responsible for tracking designation expiration and meeting renewal requirements. As a best practice, we recommend that you add a calendar reminder for yourself about six months before your designation expires to help ensure that you have time to earn any continuing education credits you may need. In 2022, we plan to post designee expiration information on our website.

Once I have sent in my application for MCPPO designation or designation renewal, how long does it take to be processed?

If you provide all required information with your MCPPO application, promptly pay the processing fee and clear the CORI criminal record background check, you should receive your renewal within 90 days.

Additional Resources

Charter School Certification

I am a Commonwealth charter school administrator responsible for procurement. Am I required to earn a Charter School Certification?

Yes. Pursuant to Chapter 46 of the Acts of 1997, charter school administrators who serve as school procurement officers must earn a Charter School Certification. Both Commonwealth and Horace Mann Charter school administrators responsible for procurement must earn this certification by successfully completing the Charter School Procurement class.

I am a charter school administrator responsible for procurement. Am I required to earn an MCPPO designation?

No. There is no requirement to earn an MCPPO designation, which is different than the Charter School Certification. The law requires that you receive a certification from our office. However, we strongly encourage charter school officials to earn a designation in addition to the certification to ensure that you are familiar with Massachusetts procurement law and best practices.

Recipients of an MCPPO designation have successfully passed three examinations, completed 60 hours of professional training, met experience requirements, complied with continuing education requirements and received a CORI (criminal record) check. Municipal job postings often require the MCPPO designation.

NOTE: To assist you with earning the designation if you are a charter school official, we will apply the certification towards the requirements you need to earn the MCPPO designation. Instead of taking all three classes, you can opt out of the Public Contracting Overview class and just take the Supplies and Services Contracting and Design and Construction Contracting classes.

Designers and OPMs

I am an Owner's Project Manager for construction projects. Am I required to earn a certification through the MCPPO program?

Yes, it is legally required if you plan to work on a Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) funded school building project or if it is required by another agency or jurisdiction to work on a public building project. MSBA regulations state that: "The Owner's Project Manager shall certify. . .that the individual directly in charge of the (school building) project is certified in the MCPPO Program as administered by the Inspector General." The MCPPO program offers this specific training several times per year.

I am a Designer. Am I required to earn a certification through the MCPPO program?

Yes, it is legally required if you plan to work on a Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) funded school building project or if it is required by another agency or jurisdiction to work on a public building project. MSBA regulations state that: "The Designer shall certify . . . that the individual directly in charge of the (school building) project is certified in the MCPPO Program as administered by the Inspector General." The MCPPO program offers this specific training several times per year. 

I am a designer or OPM working on public projects. Am I required to earn the MCPPO designation?

No. There is no requirement to earn an MCPPO designation, which is different than the School Project Designer and OPM Certification. MSBA regulations require that you receive a certification from our office. However, we strongly encourage any official working on public projects or contracts to earn a designation in addition to the certification to ensure that you are familiar with Massachusetts procurement law and best practices.

Recipients of an MCPPO designation have successfully passed three examinations, completed 60 hours of professional training, met experience requirements, complied with continuing education requirements, and received a CORI (criminal record) check. Municipal job postings often require the MCPPO designation.

NOTE: To assist you with earning the designation if you are a designer or OPM, we will apply the certification you earned towards the requirements you need to earn the MCPPO designation. Instead of taking all three classes, you can opt out of the Public Contracting Overview class and just take the Supplies and Services Contracting and Design and Construction Contracting classes.

Additional Resources

Contact

Address

One Ashburton Place
Room 1311
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: August 17, 2022
Image credits:  Shutterstock
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