07 Nov

CSCP VS CIPS – What Should You Choose?

A lot of Supply Chain and Procurement folks who are in the early stage of their ask me if they should go for CSCP vs CIPS qualification.


Depending on their career aspiration to either grow in Supply Chain or become a specialised procurement professional, I advise them accordingly. But I have to be honest, I mostly direct them to SCMDOJO Academy as we believe we have the best On-demand Supply Chain & Procurement Courses, Best Practices, eBooks and Supply Chain Diagnostics Tools.


Like most good things in life, there is no right or wrong answer, it is only a matter of preference. Therefore, I thought a comparison of two leading supply chain bodies and their qualification would be helpful, and I hope it will make decision-making easier for aspiring Supply Chain and Procurement professionals.


CSCP vs CIPS – Comparision Table


Background Information


ASCM (changed their brand name to the Association for supply chain management), was founded in 1957, and now has over 117,000 qualified with their certifications and currently operates in 82 countries around the world. You can read more information here. CIPS (the Charted Institute of Purchasing and Supply) was created in 1932 and now operates in 150 countries all over the world.

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Qualifications- CSCP VS CIPS


ASCM has two main qualifications catered to supply chain and operations personnel, these are:


CSCP (Certified supply chain professional ) – This certification helps demonstrate to employers that the individual is an industry expert, knowledgeable in the best practices, and skilful in their knowledge.


CPIM (certified in production and inventory management) – Gaining this certification will demonstrate understanding and evaluating production and inventory activities within a company’s global operations. Similarly, this certification demonstrates to employers that you are an industry expert. Here are reasons why you should think of doing CPIM.


Depending on what the person wants to demonstrate, his skills in, or future plans, they can choose either certification, the website does have a section to help individuals choose which certificates would be better suited to them.

What is CIPS? – The main qualification is the MCIPS, but to achieve the certification, some other exams and certificates must be taken to take the final MCIPS exams.


Depending on demonstrated experience, Knowledge, and other qualifications, exemptions from specific exams or capabilities can be permitted.


The website also has an email to help people assess what level they are at and, therefore, what exams they need to take before being able to sit the final set of exams then.


See if you are also eligible for exemptions

Different Levels and Entry Requirements – CSCP VS CIPS


To be a candidate for the CSCP accreditation, one needs to have a bachelor’s business degree (3 years) or international experience or have 3 years of business experience in a relevant field.

They also accept individuals with other accreditations, e.g. CSM, CIRM, etc.


However, for the CPIM certification, an individual needs to have two years of experience in the field; they don’t require a degree.

The Professional Diploma in procurement and supply is for any individual with a degree or equivalent.


There are certificates for those with level 2 + education qualifications.


If individuals do not have a degree but have worked in a relevant field for more than two years, they are advised to start at a Diploma in procurement and supply.


Those with a relevant business degree or similar qualification can gain exemptions for specific units.


The link to the different certifications offered can be found here.

Exams Setup and Costs


The CSCP exam is :

CSCP Learning System + Exam + 2nd Chance Exam with Membership

  • CSCP Learning System and exam voucher
  • 2nd Chance Exam (restrictions apply)
  • Digital and printed books (for one year from the date of purchase)
  • Online study tools with quizzes, practice exams, learning activities and resource centre (instructor support not included).
  • CSCP Exam Content Manual (ECM)

Members without certification discount pay: $2,070 Nonmembers pay: $2,169


The  CPIM exam:

To earn your CPIM designation, you must pass two exams covering 14 modules of content. Each exam consists of 150 questions, and you have 3.5 hours to complete each. The exam score range is 200 to 350, with scores of 300 and above are considered passing. Candidates must complete past Part 1 and Part 2 exams within three years to become certified. Learn more about the exam.

CPIM exams are administered via computer-based testing at Pearson VUE test centres worldwide and online through the OnVue system.

CPIM Part 1 and 2 Learning Systems + Part 1 and 2 Exams with Membership

Members without certification discount pay: $1,960 Nonmembers pay: $2,059

See more details here.

How you can achieve MCIPS

CIPS has 5 Levels of qualifications with increasing breadth and depth of procurement knowledge.

See full details here.

Topics Covered


The CSCP exam is covered in three modules, these modules cover different aspects of the supply chain.

Module 1 – Supply Chain Design
Module 2 – Supply Chain Planning and Execution
Module 3 – Supply Chain Improvements and Best Practices

Below are some of the topics covered by the CPIM:

  • Procurement management
  • Supplier planning
  • Capacity planning
  •  Sales and operations planning
  •  Continuous improvement

There are 5 certificates to complete before becoming certified.

Each certificate has 4-8 modules

Each module has an exam

(the types of exam range from multiple choice to scenario-based question, short and essay-style questions).


For more information on the different modules and what they cover, please visit

Resources Offered


APICS offers a range of different studying options including:

  • self-study
  • instructor lead course
  • group or co-operate learning
  • Online instructors

They have two main UK centres but many online resources.

Here is a list of the different types of resources offered


CIPS has  90 study centers across the UK – 200 across the world, they also offer:

  • E-learning platform which is £120 per unit (certificate) and for £540 for 5 units.
  • 8 online tutors per module case studies ,
  • 8 hours of interactive e-learning access to module information for a year.
  • Self-study.

Staying Certified


To remain certified, a person must :

Abide by their code of ethics and also earn 75 maintenance points* every 5 years.

If not achieved, then the individual will be suspended from their qualification.

*Maintenance points  can be gained through Continuing education (attending internal and external seminars/ lectures) , doing presentations , publications, and educational development

Here is link to the maintenance of the certification.

Not Applicable




APICS has varying types of membership all for working professionals.


The main type is the international professional is for those outside North America offering members online resources, networking opportunities and local training courses.


They also have a young professional for students who graduated during the last two years.


Another type of membership is corporate membership for organisations.

Here is the link to the different types of memberships available

CIPS have 4 different  types of membership these are :


·         Affiliate member this is anyone who is not looking to become certified but has a strong interest in procurement and supply. (no need to have past experience or study the subject).

·         Studying member – anyone currently studying the subject giving access to a multitude of resources.

·         MCIPS is for anyone who has gained the certification and gives access to all the resources and discussion zone a professional can use.

·         Fellows are the highest level of membership given to those who achieve a gold standard in the field.

Here is the link to the membership page



In conclusion, I would suggest if an individual wants to grow in the Procurement function, MCIPS would be the preferred option. And I would tell CSCP for individuals who wish to grow in Supply Chain and Materials Management.


So what will you pick between CSCP vs CIPS qualification?


Recommended Books:


APICS Guide to Careers in Supply Chain and Operations Management

APICS CSCP 2016- Set of 5 Books

APICS Dictionary

About the Author- Dr Muddassir Ahmed

Dr MuddassirAhmed is the Founder & CEO of SCMDOJO. He is a global speakervlogger and supply chain industry expert with 17 years of experience in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in various Supply Chain leadership roles.  Dr. Muddassir has received a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School. Muddassir is a Six Sigma black belt and founded the leading supply chain platform SCMDOJO to enable supply chain professionals and teams to thrive by providing best-in-class knowledge content, tools and access to experts.

You can follow him on LinkedInFacebookTwitter or Instagram