iCatalog Home DoD Acquisition Career Field Certification Facts and Not So Frequent Questions

This page last updated on July 20, 2020

Certification Facts:  Here are a few facts about certification that will answer most questions:

  • Certification is only available for DoD employees, military and (APF) civilians assigned to an acquisition coded position as well as select military officers whose career development will include assignment to acquisition coded positions
  • Certification is not a qualification requirement for employment within the DoD.  When noted on DoD job announcements, it is viewed as a “quality ranking factor” not a “qualification factor”.
  • All DoD personnel filling acquisition positions have 24 months to achieve the certification standards (career field/path and level) assigned to the position.
  • The 24 months starts:
    • The day you start work in an acquisition coded position either as a new hire to an acquisition coded position or should your current position become coded as an acquisition
    • Again should the acquisition career field/path and/or level assigned to your position change
  • Should you fail to be certified within 24 months, a position waiver must be executed in order for you to remain in your position.  This does not relieve an employee from the requirement to achieve certification.
  • Certification standards can not be waived.
  • The requirement to be certified can NOT be waived only the 24 month period to attain the proper certification can be waived.
  • There is reciprocity among all DoD organizations with respect to acquisition career field certifications.  If you receive a certification from one DoD organization, it is recognized and accepted among all DoD organizations so long as the certification was appropriately awarded.
  • You must meet the standards in place for the career field/path and level at the time of application
  • Predecessor Courses.  Predecessor courses listed in the DAU catalog can be used as substitutes to meet current certification training standards as well as current DAU course prerequisites.  Predecessor courses are NOT equivalent to the current course.
  • Once certified – always certified
  • Certification in multiple career fields is encouraged at any time the workforce member meets the requirements.  In other words, workforce members can be certified in a career field other than the one currently assigned as long as the standards for the certification being sought have been attained.  First priority should be to meeting current position requirements
  • Certification requirements and standards apply uniformly across DoD and are not be modified or augmented by the DoD Components, Agencies or subordinate organizations.


  • DAU does NOT certify anyone except DAU employees assigned to acquisition coded positions. 
  • Certification is not automatic when completing DAU courses.  Certifying is the responsibility of each service and DoD agency to administer.  Each service (Army Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force) as well as the other DoD Agencies (4th Estate) have web based systems to facilitate certification.  To learn more, visit your agencies site:  Army    Navy/Marine Corps    Air Force  4th Estate
  • A certification does not substitute for a course prerequisite requirement
  • Certifications issued by federal (non DoD) organizations such as the Federal Acquisition Certifications (FAC) and certifications issued by the Department of Homeland Security are not accepted within DoD although the component parts may be transferable and applied to a DoD certification.


The Not So Frequent Questions:

Q - I met the training standards for my career field certification last year but I forgot to apply.  The training standards changed, can I still apply without meeting the new requirements?


A - NO.  You must meet the current standards at the time of application. 


Q – How can I complete the training standards associated with my position?


A – There are only three (3) ways to meet training standards:  complete a DAU course; complete a DAU approved equivalent course; complete the training standard by exercising the DAU Fulfillment Program


Q - My certification standard requires a Continuous Learning module.  I looked at it and it looks a lot like the training course I took last year.  Can I substitute the training course?


A – Some continuous learning modules are extracts of current DAU training courses.  If your required module is an extract it will be noted in the notes section of the course concept card here in the iCatalog and YES in these cases, you can substitute the course for the module. 



Q - I am a support contractor working in a program office doing Life Cycle Logistics functions.  How do I get certified?


A - At the present time, acquisition career field certifications within DoD are available only to DoD employees (military and civilian) that are assigned to a position that has been coded as acquisition. 


Q - I have 30 years of experience in Systems Engineering while working on government program in Industry plus a Masters in Electronic Engineering and a PhD in Engineering Systems.  How do I get equivalency for these towards certification?


A – Equivalency is not the term you want to reference as the DAU Equivalency Program applies only to courses or programs that have been previously reviewed and approved by DAU at the request of the provider.  In this case, you are most likely interested in the DAU Fulfillment Program where your past education, training and experience can be assessed by your organization against the competencies associated with specific DAU courses. 


Q - My DAU transcript does not reflect my equivalent training and/or fulfillments.  How do I go about getting these posted in my training history so I can apply for certification?


A – It is your responsibility to follow your components instructions for having the information entered into ATRRS, the system that stores your DAU training completions.  See your components instructions at:  Army  Navy/Marine Corps  Air Force  4th Estate


Q – Why doesn’t my record show that I am certified when I have met all DAU training standards for my career field/path and level? 


A – Certification is not automatic once you have completed the training standards.  Training is only one standard that must be met.  All career fields/paths have an experience requirement and some have a formal education requirement. 


Q – I’m required to be certified at Level III for my position.  Do I first have to be certified at Level I and II? 


A – NO.  You only need to meet the requirements of the Level assigned to your position.  Keep in mind however, that many course prerequisite requirements are built into the lower level certification standards.  Unless you have extensive experience outside of DoD acquisition positions, it makes sense to progress through the lower levels. 


Q - I was certified in Contracting when I was with the Coast Guard.  Is my certification still good?


A – YES for the Coast Guard NOT for DoD.  The United States Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense.