Pathways and Certification

Posted by [email protected] on Apr. 12, 2021  /   0

Are you on a pathway to certification? Maybe you are not sure where to start! My goal is for this blog post to shine some light on where to start!

First and foremost I strongly recommend researching and reviewing NIGP's website You can find a wealth of information at your fingertips to help you on your path to lifelong learning and certification!

Disclaimer: I am writing this blog based on my personal experience with Pathways courses and successfully preparing for and earning my CPPB and NIGP-CPP.  


NIGP created Pathways, as a lifelong professional development and credentialing program. Pathways is designed for entry, mid, and advanced career levels.

The beauty of Pathways is you can personalize your path. For instance, in my District, we have a warehouse/distribution center and I had not previously been exposed to warehousing. I was able to take a Pathways course and earn a core certificate on the foundations of warehousing.

To learn more about the foundations of pathways please visit the following link:  I also found this link to the NIGP Knowledge Base to be very helpful:

NIGP also suggests you start with the following:

-The Designation includes 3 core certificates (

-We also have an On-demand jumpstart bundle, which is a great onboarding to the profession (

Another great way to see where you stand would be to take the practice assessment for the CPP. This would provide someone with an idea of where they need to focus from a content perspective, then they could take whichever courses aligned to gaps identified before retaking the assessment. 

Certification: CPPB

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) is an independent entity formed to govern and administer the Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) and Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) certification programs. NIGP offers tools to help prepare for certification for these exams.  

I am going to be very honest with you, I consider myself to be a terrible test taker. My tips are what worked for me! I took the NIGP CPPB Prep course and aligned it with my testing window. I believe the course ended on a Tuesday and I took the exam on Thursday. I found it helpful to have the information fresh. The exam is very much knowledge-based memorizing key terms and knowing best practice(s) is necessary. Some of the questions are tricky because there will be two good answers and you have to pick the BEST answer. It takes about 6-8 weeks to get your test results. Several of the classes I took to prepare myself have now been rebranded and rewritten by NIGP through Pathways. I would recommend starting to take the core classes identified in Pathways.

How I prepared for the exam:

I purchased the prep guide I read it and took lots of notes. I created flashcards for key terms. I took the assessment tool over and over again to help determine areas I needed to focus on. I took the prep course and took lots of notes. I studied nearly every day for an hour a day 6-7 weeks before taking the exam.

Resources I used: 

NIGP CPPB Assessment Tool: You can purchase the practice exam and take the test over and over again to identify areas you need to work on and areas you are strong in. The questions on the tool are very similar to those on the exam.

David Nash’s Question of the Day: You can sign up for this free online assistance when you are close to taking the exam.

Certification: NIGP-CPP

After obtaining your CPPB you qualify to take the Bridge Exam for the NIGP-CPP. This certification is geared towards mid-senior leadership and is meant to compliment your CPPB. This exam is very much competency-based. I felt like the questions were heavily focused on leadership and most of them scenario-based. You find out at the testing center after you’ve taken the exam if you have passed or failed. If you have your CPPB you can register through June 2021 to take the NIGP-CPP for free.

For more information about the NIGP-CPP visit the following website: 

How I prepared for the exam:

I joined a study group and took lots of notes. I studies the prep guide and took lots of notes. I took the prep course and took lots of notes. I used the assessment in the prep course to help as well. 

I studied the content of the prep course and took lots of notes. Again, I aligned my prep course with the testing window which I think helped. I studied the content from the CPP prep course (the online content in ASPIRE not just the student workbook) and the assessment that is offered through that prep course. I also took the Pathways course Leadership Foundations, which I felt helped me prepare for the exam.  

Resources I Used:

David Nash’s Question of the Day: You can sign up for this free online assistance when you are close to taking the exam.

NIGP-CPP Assessment Tool: The questions on the tool are very similar to those on the exam.  

In a session I attended at NIGP VCON a presenter was discussing how they prepared and they recommended the John C. Maxwell book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

In closing, I strongly recommend tuning into upcoming NIGP webinars regarding certification and Pathways as I think you will find them very helpful. You can register for upcoming webinars at the following link:  You can also listen to webinar recordings which can be located at the following link:  As a reminder, if you are a NIGP Member webinars are offered free of charge!  If you are not a member webinars are $190 which includes a one-year membership.  I hope that you have found my personal experience to be helpful! If you would like to reach out to me please feel free to do so, I am happy to help with any questions you might have.

Kara M. Daniel, NIGP-CPP, CPPB
Missouri Association of Public Purchasing (MAPP) President
Institute for Public Procurement (NIGP) Area 6 Chapter Ambassador
The School District of Springfield R-12 (Missouri)
Manager I - Purchasing
Office: 417-523-0225
Email: [email protected] 


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