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Subpart 301.6--Career Development, Contracting Authority, and Responsibilities

HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR)

Sections on this page: 

301.607 Certification of Program and Project Managers.

301.607-70 General.

In accordance with the Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM) program, HHS has established a certification program for Program or Project Managers. See HHS’ Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers Handbook (P/PM Handbook) for information on the methods for earning FAC-P/PM certification.

301.607-71 FAC-P/PM levels and requirements.

(a) The FAC-P/PM certification program specifies three different levels of certification, depending on the core competency, training, and experience required to manage different types of acquisitions—

     (1) Entry/Apprentice – Level I;

     (2) Mid-level/Journeyman – Level II; and

     (3) Senior/Expert – Level III.

Each FAC-P/PM certification level is independent of the others – i.e., applicants for the Senior/Expert level need not have been certified at the Mid-level/Journeyman or Entry/Apprentice levels. General and specific core competencies, training, and required experience vary by certification level. (NOTE: Individuals certified under the FAC-P/PM program meet the general competency and experience standards for P/PM certification. However, IT Program and Project Managers should attain/demonstrate IT-specific P/PM requirements. See Appendix C, Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers – Information Technology Technical Competencies, in the P/PM Handbook for additional information.

(b) Competencies. An applicant can satisfy the competency requirements through
(1) successful completion of training; (2) completion of comparable education or certification programs; (3) demonstration of knowledge, skills, and abilities; or (4) any combination of these three. The FAI describes the following three sets of general core competencies on its website: 

 (1) General Business Competencies: includes decision-making, interpersonal skills, oral communication, team-building, and writing.

 (2) Technical Competencies: includes contracting, financial management, quality assurance, and risk management.

 (3) Essential Competencies and Proficiencies: includes management processes, systems engineering, test and evaluation, contracting, and business.

Specific core competencies also apply to the three certification levels. See Chapter 2, Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers – Requirements and Performance Accountability, in the P/PM Handbook for additional information. 

(c) Training. Suggested training includes course work, varying from 16-24 hours in duration, in (1) acquisition; (2) project management; (3) leadership and interpersonal skills; (4) Government-specific training; and (5) earned value management and cost estimating. The depth of the training for each course required may vary by certification level.

(d) Experience. Experience requirements vary by certification level. For example, for certification at the Entry/Apprentice – Level I, at least 1 year of project management experience within the last 5 years is required. The Mid-level/Journeyman – Level II requires at least 2 years of program or project management experience within the last 5 years. The Senior/Expert – Level III requires at least 4 years of program and project management experience on federal projects within the last 5 years.

(e) Additional OPDIV guidance. OPDIVs may issue supplemental guidance and requirements for selection and assignment of Program and Project Managers and require additional skills and competencies to meet organizational or mission needs.  However, OPDIVs may not reduce the requirements specified in the P/PM Handbook.

301.607-72 Applicability.

(a) The FAC-P/PM certification prerequisites and continuous learning requirements apply to all HHS employees who seek to obtain a FAC-P/PM certification. Although obtaining a FAC-P/PM certification qualifies employees to serve as a Program or Project Manager, it does not ensure their selection or designation as such. (NOTE: Contractors and their employees are not eligible to be certified or to serve as Program or Project Managers.)

(b) Mandatory certification is limited to major and non-major IT and construction capital investment acquisitions. Consistent with OFPP guidance, HHS requires FAC-P/PM Level III certification for Program and Project Managers responsible for major IT and construction capital investments – i.e., those requiring preparation of an OMB Exhibit 300, HHS Form 300, or equivalent. An individual must obtain FAC-P/PM Level III certification within 1 year from the date of being assigned to such a major capital investment. Also, HHS requires that an individual obtain FAC-P/PM Level II or I certification for non-major IT and construction – i.e., tactical or supporting, capital investments, respectively, within 2 years from the date of being assigned to such a non-major capital investment. See Appendix A, Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers – HHS Projects and Programs with Associated Certification Levels, in the P/PM Handbook for additional information regarding major and non-major IT and construction capital investments. FAC-P/PM certification for other types of investments [e.g., advanced research and development (R & D)] is encouraged, but is not mandatory.  

301.607-73 Certification waivers.

(a) Waivers to certification requirements may be approved in certain situations. Waivers for additional time to complete certification requirements are not necessary for the first year following an assignment to a major IT or construction capital investment and for 2 years following an assignment to a non-major capital investment. For waivers beyond those periods (for up to 1 additional year), the HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO) (for IT programs and projects) and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Facilities Management and Policy (DASFMP) (for construction programs and projects) are delegated authority to approve waiver requests. The HHS CAO is the only individual authorized to approve waiver requests for additional time beyond the initial 1-year waiver period.

(b) Approval of a waiver request does not relieve an individual from meeting the certification requirements. Also, unlike FAC-P/PM certifications, waivers issued by other federal departments and agencies do not transfer to HHS, since a waiver is agency-specific.

301.607-74 Certification transfers.

(a) HHS recognizes and accepts FAC-P/PM certifications issued by other federal departments and agencies. In addition, HHS complies with FAI determinations as to which certifications by organizations outside the federal government are eligible for full or partial consideration under FAC-P/PM. See FAI’s website, and Chapter 3, Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers – Application and Certification Procedures, in the P/PM Handbook for additional information.

(b) A certification transfer should not be initiated when an individual, who holds a current FAC-P/PM certification from another federal department or agency, becomes an HHS employee. Instead, the individual must apply for recertification (which will result in issuance of an HHS certification) at the time the candidate’s immediate supervisor performs the bi-annual assessment to determine whether the individual has met the HHS FAC-P/PM CLP requirements.

301.607-75 Maintenance of FAC-P/PM certification.

(a) FAC-P/PM certification lasts for 2 years. To maintain FAC-P/PM certification, HHS Program and Project Managers are required to earn 80 CLPs of skills currency every 2 years, starting from the date of their initial certification or recertification, and document completion of all training. If the required CLPs are not earned within each 2-year period, a FAC-P/PM certification will lapse. Lapsed certifications may be reinstated when 80 CLPs have been accumulated. 

(b) Continuous learning activities related to FAC-P/PM include, but are not limited to—

(1) Training activities, such as teaching, self-directed study, and mentoring;

(2) Courses completed to achieve certification at the next higher level;

(3) Professional activities, such as attending/speaking/presenting at professional seminars/symposia/conferences, publishing papers, and attending workshops;

(4) Educational activities, such as formal training and formal academic programs; and

 (5) Experience, such as developmental or rotational assignments.

See Appendix F, Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers – Guidance on Meeting Requirements for Continuous Learning Points, in the P/PM Handbook for additional information.

301.607-76 FAC-P/PM application process.

The P/PM Handbook contains application procedures and forms to be completed for basic certification; certification transfer; certification through fulfillment; recertification; and certification waiver. Applicants for HHS FAC-P/PM certification actions shall comply with the requirements and procedures specified in the P/PM Handbook and refer any questions to their OPDIV ACM for resolution.

301.607-77 Governance.

The Departmental ACM, in ASFR/OGAPA/DA, serves as the Departmental FAC-P/PM Program Manager and is responsible for administering the program. To support the overall management of the FAC-P/PM certification program at the OPDIV level, Executive Officers and their HCAs may either use their existing ACM or designate an additional ACM, whose professional background includes program and project management. See Appendix B, Federal Acquisition Certification – Program and Project Managers – Roles and Responsibilities, in the P/PM Handbook for additional information.

301.607-78 Contracting Officer designation of a Program/Project Manager as the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative.

Personnel who are FAC-P/PM certified, at any level, meet the requirements for FAC-COTR certification and are, therefore, not required to obtain FAC-COTR certification to serve as a COTR for an HHS acquisition. However, for those individuals serving as a Program or Project Manager under a FAC-P/PM certification waiver – see 301.607-73, the Contracting Officer shall ensure that the individual meets the requirements of HHS' FAC-COTR program before delegating authority to that individual to act as a COTR. See 301.605 for additional information regarding the Contracting Officer’s designation of a COTR.

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