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MCPPO program FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the MCPPO program

General Information

  1. When will you have a new class schedule?

ANSWER: The MCPPO program issues a schedule of classes for January-June and July-December. Also, a summer schedule may be issued if additional classes are offered. The current listing of classes is online and the MCPPO Spring Registration Form is available for downloading. We encourage you to register and pay online.

  1. Does your office offer any classes in my area?

ANSWER: Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the MCPPO program will be offering all classes online through June 30, 2021. The MCPPO program will assess when in-person classes will be offered again. For in-person classes, the MCPPO program uses a designated classroom in Boston. In 2009, the OIG incorporated videoconferencing into the MCPPO Program – simplifying the ability to attend the MCPPO training classes for those with travel or personnel constraints. The MCPPO program presents a few classes in locations other than Boston.

  1. What is the difference between MCPPO certification and MCPPO designation?

ANSWER:
Certification: For charter school employees, MCPPO certification requires successful completion of the prerequisite classes, Public Contracting Overview or the Charter School Procurement class. For certain Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) assisted projects, regulations require MCPPO certification, which entails successful completion of the School Project Designers and Owner’s Project Managers Certification class. Every three years thereafter, successful completion of the School Project Designers and Owner’s Project Managers Recertification class, is required to maintain the private sector certification.

Designation: In general, the MCPPO designation requires successful completion of the prerequisite class Public Contracting Overview and both of the other 3-day classes, Supplies and Services Contracting and Design and Construction Contracting. In addition, there are experience requirements that must be met for MCPPO designations.

  1. Why should I obtain an MCPPO designation?

ANSWER: The MCPPO designation is widely recognized by local jurisdictions in Massachusetts as indication that you are familiar with Massachusetts procurement practices. Recipients of an MCPPO designation have successfully completed examinations and have met experience and education requirements. Municipal job postings will often require MCPPO designation.

In addition, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) regulations require that municipal employees who will be in charge of procurements for a school building project be designated as an MCPPO for Design and Construction Contracting or an MCPPO. [For more information, see MSBA Certification/Recertification Requirements.] If you are currently designated as an MCPPO or an MCPPO for Design and Construction Contracting, you are automatically qualified to perform under the MSBA regulations.

  1. How long is a designation valid?

ANSWER: A designation is valid for three years. If your designation is no longer valid, please visit our website at MCPPO Designation Renewal.

  1. What are the different MCPPO designations?

ANSWER:

For additional information on changes to MCPPO designations, see our letter on MCPPO Designation Changes.

Until March 1, 2021, there were six (6) designations: MCPPO, Associate MCPPO, MCPPO for Supplies and Services Contracting, Associate MCPPO for Supplies and Services Contracting, MCPPO for Design and Construction Contracting, Associate MCPPO for Design and Construction Contracting. To be eligible for any designation, the applicant must currently hold a public procurement position with a Massachusetts public entity. The designation level depends on education and public procurement experience. The different MCPPO designations and requirements are listed on the Application for Designation of Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official.

  1. How do I obtain an MCPPO designation?

ANSWER: The MCPPO designations are available to individuals who have successfully completed the requisite classes and have met certain experience and education requirements. There is an application process and a fee requirement.

  1. I am a Commonwealth charter school administrator responsible for procurement. Am I required to attain MCPPO certification?

ANSWER: Yes. Pursuant to Chapter 46 of the Acts of 1997, charter school administrators who serve as school procurement officers must attain a MCPPO certificate. (Horace Mann Charter school administrators who are responsible for procurement are also required to attain MCPPO certification). You must attend and successfully complete either the Public Contracting Overview class or the Charter School Procurement class to meet this requirement and attain a certificate.

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

ANSWER: No. There is no requirement to be designated; the law requires that you receive certification that you have successfully completed either the Public Contracting Overview class or the Charter School Procurement class.

  1. I am a vendor. Are the MCPPO classes open to vendor participation?

ANSWER: Yes. Understanding uniform procurement practices of local jurisdictions is a sound investment and good insurance against unfair procurement practices. Vendors will receive a certificate of attendance.

  1. I am an Owner's Project Manager for construction projects. Am I required to attain an MCPPO certification?

ANSWER: Yes, but only if you plan to work on Massachusetts school building projects or if it is required by the jurisdiction for another public building project. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (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." [For more information, see MSBA Certification/Recertification Requirements.] The MCPPO program offers this specific training several times per year. See School Project Designers and Owner's Project Managers Certification.

  1. I am a Designer. Am I required to receive an MCPPO certification?

ANSWER: Yes, but only if you expect to be designing school building projects or if it is required by the jurisdiction for another public building project . The Massachusetts School Building Authority (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." [For more information, see MSBA Certification/Recertification Requirements.] The MCPPO program offers this specific training several times per year.  See School Project Designers and Owner's Project Managers Certification.

Registration

  1. How do I register for a class?

ANSWER: You can register for all of our classes by mail or pay online. Registration information is available at Register for an MCPPO class. Please register early as space is limited. You will receive written confirmation of your registration.

  1. If I have sent in my registration form, can I assume I am registered in the class?

ANSWER: No. You must receive confirmation.

  1. How do I know if I have been admitted to a class?

ANSWER: You will receive a confirmation packet with directions, an agenda and additional information.

  1. I am registered for an upcoming class but I am unable to attend. Am I allowed to transfer my registration?

ANSWER:  Yes. Transfer of a registration within your organization is possible with prior notice, one time only. Please refer to our updated class cancellation and attendance policy. Due to the limited number of seats available for each class, registrants must send a notice of non-attendance to the MA-IGO-Training@state.ma.us at least two days (48 hours) before the start of a class to receive a refund, request a one-time transfer to another class or send another attendee in their place.

  1. I am registered for a class in January. What happens if it snows?

ANSWER: In the event of a winter storm the MCPPO program follows the Boston Public Schools snow emergency schedule. If the Boston Public Schools are closed due to inclement weather, there will be no MCPPO class that day. Also, depending on the class location and date, additional information will be emailed to you.

  1. I am new to public procurement. Which class should I take?

ANSWER: Public Contracting Overview is the prerequisite class for all MCPPO classes unless you are a Commonwealth charter school administrator responsible for procurement. If you are a Commonwealth charter school administrator responsible for procurement at your charter school you can attend either the Public Contracting Overview class or the Charter School Procurement class.

Maintaining Your MCPPO Designation

  1. How many credits are required for designation renewal?

ANSWER: Twenty-five (25) credits are required for MCPPO designation renewal.

  1. Which classes must I take for MCPPO designation renewal?

ANSWER: As of January 1, 2018, all designees due to recertify will be required to successfully complete a 2-day, MCPPO Designation Renewal Class. An exam will be included. You will earn 14 credits for the successful completion of this class.

  1. May I take outside classes for designation renewal credit?

ANSWER: Yes. In addition to the required MCPPO class, you may obtain designation renewal credits through other professional affiliations and training. The MCPPO Designation Renewal page provides examples of training that will qualify toward designation renewal.

  1. 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?

ANSWER: The credits are valid for three (3) years.

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

ANSWER: No. You must keep track of your original designation date and apply for MCPPO designation renewal every 3 years.

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

ANSWER: Once the Application for Designation of Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official or the Application for Renewal of Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official Designation is complete, please allow up to ninety (90) days to process (as stated on the application).

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