Getting CSPM Certified
Steps to the CSPM
Ready to earn the CSPM® credential and advance your career? The information on this page will guide you through the process of becoming a Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM). As you move through the process, you must complete the following steps:
- Meet Eligibility Requirement
- Apply to Take the Exam
- Prepare for the Exam
- Schedule the Exam
- Take and Pass the Exam
Additional information is provided in the CSPM Handbook, which includes the CSPM Application.
SIA has employed a professional testing company, Scantron, to assist in the performance of various examination development and administration functions, including contacting prospective candidates.
ITPG and its testing center network partner, Scantron, are companies whose names you will see referenced in the CSPM Application and Guide and as you make your appointment and sit for the examination.
Email is the primary mode of communication between SIA and certification candidates. Contact email@example.com at any time to reach SIA staff associated with the CSPM program.
Step 1: Meet Eligibility Requirements
All candidates for the exam must have a minimum of 6,000 hours (about three years) of hands-on project management experience of which a minimum of 3,000 hours must have been direct security project management experience.
Formal education may substitute for some of the required experience as follows:
- A candidate with a two-year associate’s degree in a security-related discipline from an accredited* institution may substitute it for 500 hours of the required experience; OR
- A candidate with a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited* institution may substitute it for 1,000 hours of the required experience; OR
- A candidate with a four-year bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or security from an accredited* institution may substitute it for 2,000 hours of the required experience.
- A candidate who also has a master’s degree from an accredited* institution may substitute it for an additional 500 hours of the required experience.
Step 2: Apply to Take Exam
Candidates must complete the CSPM Examination Application Form and pay a $325.00 US non-refundable application fee. (Checks or money orders payable to the Security Industry Association are accepted.) The completed form and payment should be submitted to the address noted on the application form. Alternatively, candidates can complete the CSPM Examination Application Form and pay the $325 non-refundable application fee online in the SIA Online Store.
Please carefully review the eligibility requirements PRIOR to submitting the application and non-refundable application fee.
Applicants may be contacted for clarifying information or supporting documentation. Individuals will be notified of their eligibility status via email within two weeks of application.
By signing the CSPM application form, applicants attest that they have read and will abide by the Certification Agreement (found in the CSPM Handbook) and the Code of Professional Ethics. Failure to conform to either may result in disciplinary actions up to and including revocation of the credential should it be earned.
Special Testing Accommodations
SIA complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and is dedicated to ensuring that no eligible individual is deprived of the opportunity to take the exam due to a disability as defined under the ADA, as long as the disability is not one which would render the individual incapable of performing the duties of a certified position. Candidates who require special accommodations must make a specific written request for the type of accommodation needed at the time of application. The reason for the accommodation must be recognized under the ADA. Requests must include documentation of a formally-diagnosed ADA-recognized disability from a qualified professional who has provided evaluation or treatment to the applicant.
Step 3: Prepare for the Exam
The design of the exam is based on the examination specifications, which define the content of the exam as well as the percentage of questions related to each topic (domain).
What Knowledge and Skills Does the CSPM Validate?
- Security Specific Knowledge such as:
- Knowing the basic language and principles of IT and IP systems relating to a security project
- Security Project Planning Skills such as:
- The ability to analyze project activity sequences and durations, identify potential constraints, allocate resources, and develop a project schedule
- Security Project Execution and Monitoring Skills such as:
- The ability to competently implement a process for identifying and solving problems throughout the security project
- Project Closing Competencies such as:
- The ability to validate and reconcile budgeted costs for final invoicing
- Management Skills such as:
- Applying key time management concepts as applicable in an SPM setting
To prepare for the exam it is recommended that candidates:
- Review the CSPM Examination Specifications (the test blueprint) and the list of suggested references and study guide found in the CSPM Handbook.
- Obtain education or training in any areas of weakness.
Step 4: Schedule the Exam
The CSPM exam can be taken using one of three methods.
- In-Person Exam: You can take the exam in person during one of our scheduled dates (typically held at the conclusion of a Security Project Management (SPM) training seminar), OR
- Computer-Based Testing: You can take the exam at a computer-based testing facility in your area and at your convenience.
- Live Distance Proctoring: You can take the exam from your home or office while being monitored via webcam by a trained proctor.
Computer-Based Testing at Your Convenience
The CSPM exam is administered by our testing and assessment service partners, Scantron. Scantron offers both live distance proctoring (LDP) and computer-based testing (CBT) options. LDP test appointments allow a candidate to take the exam remotely on a personal device (computer or laptop) and are monitored via webcam by a trained proctor. CBT provides candidates with the convenience of taking the examination at a nearby testing center to ensure a distraction-free environment. Scantron has more that 900 approved testing centers across the US, Canada, and internationally.
When you establish eligibility and your application is approved, you will receive an “authorization to test” via email. This will contain login credentials for the Scantron appointment website. Through this site, candidates schedule their appointment to take the examination and pay the $75 US testing fee. Available dates and times vary by testing location.
After receiving the “authorization to test,” eligible candidates must take the exam within one year. After 12 months, your application will expire and if you wish to sit for the exam, you must reapply as a new applicant and pay the application fee again.
Examination appointments can be rescheduled up to 72 hours in advance without penalty. Candidates can reschedule their exam online through the Scantron website. If rescheduling the exam less than 72 hours in advance, a $100 rescheduling fee will be assessed.
After receiving authorization, you must take the exam within one year.
Those who fail to appear for a test without giving prior notice to SIA will forfeit the entire examination fee unless they can document extenuating circumstances such as a death in the family, serious illness, or military duty. In such circumstances, the candidate should contact SIA as soon as possible and provide an explanation of the situation in writing. (Email is acceptable).
Every attempt will be made to administer all exams as scheduled. However, in the event of hazardous weather or any other unforeseen emergencies occurring on the day of a scheduled exam, Scantron will determine whether circumstances require the cancellation of the exam at a particular location. Candidates will be given as much advance notice as possible and will not be penalized in the event of a Scantron cancellation. In such instances, SIA will contact candidates for rescheduling.
Step 5: Take and Pass the Exam
Taking the Exam
Bring 2 forms of ID. Candidates are required to bring two forms of identification to the test site, at least one of which must be a form of government-issued photo ID.
The test takes 2 hours and is completed on a PC. Two hours are permitted for the examination which is comprised of 125 multiple-choice items.
Passing the Exam
To pass the CSPM Examination, candidates must achieve a scaled score of 700 points or greater out of a possible 1,000 points. Candidates will be provided their results at the testing center immediately following the exam. Individuals who pass will not receive detailed score information, only the fact that they passed. Unsuccessful candidates will receive diagnostic information about their results in order to help them focus future study.
Passing candidates will be randomly selected and audited by SIA. If audited, candidates will be required to submit documentation of their eligibility prior to the issuance of the certificate.
Candidates who pass the examination will be sent a certificate with a unique certification number issued by SIA within six weeks of passing the exam. The certification is valid for 3 years, subject to the payment of annual certification maintenance fees.
Candidates who do not pass the exam may retake it within 12 months of the initial “authorization to test” notification. Candidates retaking the exam must pay the exam fee for each subsequent administration.