Qualifying for AACEI Certifications

by Peter W. van der Schans, CCC, PSP

After obtaining certification as a Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) in April, I decided to take the Certified Cost Consultant/Certified Cost Engineer (CCC/CCE) exam. For those considering this certification, the following information will hopefully provide you with some insight, including exam eligibility requirements and its potential relevance to your professional endeavors.

Both PSP and CCC/CCE certifications are awarded through the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACEI), which also offers a variety of other professional certifications. The CCC/CCE exam covers the skills and experience of a cost engineer, also known as a “cost consultant” in states that prohibit using “engineer” in a title for someone who is not a professional engineer. Cost engineering is a broad term for an occupation that bridges economics and project work, which often relates to engineering and construction projects. Positions in cost engineering include project controls, project management, and construction claims, among others.

To qualify for the CCC/CCE certification, a candidate is required to have eight years of professional work experience in a cost engineering capacity. Four of the years of experience can be substituted by a four-year university degree. I hold a Bachelor of Science from The University of Texas at Austin in chemical engineering and have worked for Interface Consulting for seven years. Thus, in lieu of the eight required years of work experience, I opted to substitute my educational background for four of the required years of experience.

After fulfilling the eligibility requirements, an applicant must submit a certification essay, as well as pass a seven-hour multiple-choice exam. Although the duration of the test may seem daunting, there are many useful study tools and resources to guide you through the process. The certification essay, submitted prior to the exam, is a minimum of 2,500 words and is intended to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to review, analyze, and communicate ideas, generally concerning a topic in the cost engineering field.

Completing the essay and studying for the exam can take months of preparation, although it is well worth the effort. The CCC/CCE certification is an internationally recognized symbol of achievement in the field of cost engineering. England’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the AACEI offer reciprocal certification programs; for example, a member of the RICS can apply and be granted a CCC/CCE certification.

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