IPMA Level-D: Certified Project Management Associate (CPMA)

IPMA Level D: Certified Project Management Associate (CPMA).

An IPMA certification at Level D requires that the candidate has knowledge in the CEs related to project management. As such, they usually have broad project management knowledge and may work in a project team.

Eligibility criteria: There is no previous experience required and only knowledge CEs related to project management are assessed.


Competence baseline for assessment

The frame of reference during the assessment process is the IPMA ICB and its component CEs. It is the IPMA standard for certification and is used for the assessment of candidates by each CB. The IPMA ICB has a number of CEs, each of which has a number of Key Competence Indicators (KCIs). The assessment of a candidate is undertaken at the CE level using the KCIs to support the assessment. The IPMA ICB definition of individual competence is the ‘application of knowledge, skills and abilities in order to achieve the desired results in a work environment’. The assessment of a D-level candidate is based on knowledge where candidates can demonstrate understanding of the relevant CE in a non-complex project environment;

To achieve Level D candidates must demonstrate knowledge of 80% of the domain CEs defined in the IPMA ICB.


A candidate who successfully completes the CPMA exam earns the right to use the letters CPMA (or IPMA-D) after his or her name plus can use the image to the left on their business card or online bio. The candidate is eligible to use these post nominals for as long as their certification remains current. If it expires and is not renewed, candidates are no longer eligible to use these post nominals.


The Exam

The CPMA exam involves two separately-timed exam modules:

  1. Multiple Choice Questions - (100 questions, 3 options each, choose a single most correct answer) - 100 minutes
  2. Essay Questions - (13 Questions. Answer in sentences/paragraphs. No fixed length required. Your answer will be marked on content, not spelling and grammar; however, the responses must be understandable to the assessors.) - 100 minutes. Typical questions look for more detailed responses such as "Describe the situations in which you would use the xxxx process" or "What are the factors influencing yyyy and why are they critical to project success" or "Strategically, what are the various ways to discuss zzzz with the project sponsor and the circumstances that would help you decide the best approach."

The exam is offered in a self-scheduled online option.

The CPMA assesses the candidate’s breadth of knowledge in all areas of project management, from strategic and commercial implications, to the technical, organizational, and people management skills required to participate effectively within a project team.

Preparing for the Exam

To prepare for the CPMA exam, candidates should first read the ICB4 as this document describes all of the topics to be covered in the exam.

Candidates for the CPMA exam can also complete the self-assessment tool measuring themselves against these competence elements to see where they may want to focus their study efforts.

Finally, candidates may want to take a course designed to help candidates pass the CPMA exam. The PMAC-AGCP accredits courses that have passed a rigorous review.

Whether or not candidates take a preparation course, the PMAC recommends the following books as a good study aid for the CPMA (Level-D) exam:


Project Manager's Portable Handbook (3rd edition) by David I. Cleland and Lewis R. Ireland. Published by McGraw-Hill, 2011. ISBN: 9780071741057.
Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (2nd edition) by R. Meredith Belbin. Published by Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005.


To apply to write the examination, please download and print out and fill in the Application & Self-Assessment form. If you are applying for an on-line exam, Guarantor Form for On-Line Level-D Exam should also be downloaded, printed out and completed by the candidate and a guarantor. The guarantor is a person from an authorized group of people who can authenticate the identity of the candidate, similar to when Canadians apply for passports. The guarantor will also need to sign the form attesting that the person signing the form is the individual named on the form and that the person is known to them for a period of at least two (2) years. Guarantors are not required for paper-based exam applications, only for online exam applications.

So, in summaryf or online exams, the Guarantor Form for On-Line Level-D Exam, and a filled-in Application & Self-Assessment should be faxed to the association at +1 (905) 986-5777 or scanned and emailed to certification@pmac-agpc.ca. Payment should then be made via credit card or PayPal using the CPMA Online Exam Payment Form (Members) and CPMA Online Exam Payment Form (Non-Members).

Whichever payment method is chosen, once the association receives the form(s) and the payment, candidates will be notified via email within 2 business days. The date/time/location of the examination and specific logistical details will be emailed to the candidate closer to the examination date. For online exam applicants, the form indicates the day on which the applicant would like to write the exam; the applicant will be emailed a login information to the examination system on that day.

The Fine Print

Please read the CPMA (IPMA Level-D) Certification Regulations for further details on this certification programme.


General Address

Project Management Association of Canada

455 boulevard de la Gappe, Suite 201
Gatineau, Québec
Canada, J8T 0E1

Phone: (819) 410-0427

PMAC Certification Body

Project Management Association of Canada

Box 58043, Rosslynn RPO
Oshawa, Ontario
Canada L1J 8L6

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