Eligibility Requirements
  Study and Prepare for the Exam  Take the Practice Test
Take the Exam  Exam Information  Candidate Statistics
Adhere to the Ethics 
Earn Continuing Education  What If I Need to Retake the Exam  I Passed, Now What

How to Earn Your Credential

Eligibility Requirements

Each eligibility requirement has been established to ensure that certified individuals have an acceptable level of knowledge, as evidenced by the examination and education requirements, and skill, as evidenced by the experience requirement, needed for certification. All individuals who seek certification must meet the established eligibility requirements.

To be eligible to sit for the CGMS exam, candidates must attest to having one of the following:

  1. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education or equivalent foreign degree that would allow you to qualify for a master’s or doctoral degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university AND a minimum of three (3) years of full-time* grants management experience in the last 10 years**; OR

  2. No college degree, BUT a minimum of five (5) years of full-time* grants management experience within the last 10 years**.

*Full-time is defined as 32 hours per week or more. Candidates may determine if they meet the requirement by calculating the percent of time spent on grants (years of experience x percent of time spent on grants).

**Grants management experience includes any and all activities covered by the Grants Management Body of Knowledge.

Eligibility Audits

A percentage of candidate applications will be audited to ensure compliance with the eligibility criteria. Applications for audit will be selected randomly. If your application is selected for audit, you will be provided with instructions on how to supply satisfactory documentation that supports your compliance with the eligibility criteria before your certificate is released.

Study and Prepare for the Exam

NGMA encourages candidates to prepare for the exam by:

  • Looking for a study group or partner, connecting with a mentor or searching exam preparation tips and best practices in the CGMS Discussion area of the NGMA Community Forum.

  • Taking NGMA's GMBoK Training. The training is a good starting point in preparing for the CGMS exam, as it covers the full lifecycle of grants management. Note: GMBoK Training is not a CGMS exam prep course.

 Additional preparation tips:

  • Read and know 2 CFR 200.

  • Take the CGMS Practice Test.

  • Remember: Even experienced grant professionals need to study for the exam!

Take the Practice Test

The Practice Test was designed using test specifications similar to the actual CGMS examination. It includes 40 multiple-choice questions that are similar in type to those that will be found on the actual credentialing exam. It is intended to provide individuals with a sample of the type of questions that will be asked on the actual credentialing exam. Practice Test questions do not appear on the credentialing exam.

The Practice Test may be taken virtually from the comfort of your home or office and has a time limit of two hours.

The Practice test is included with the purchase of your CGMS exam. It is available for a one-time use.

Take the Exam

Visit our Candidate Management System HERE
to apply for the CGMS Certified Grants Management Specialist Exam
and receive a one-time access to the CGMS Practice Test free with your purchase.


You must submit a CGMS application and pay the exam fee before scheduling your exam.

The computer-based CGMS exam is offered in-person at testing centers or with a live-remote (virtual) proctor. You may review the Environmental and System Requirements for the live-remote proctor option on pages 3-4 of the Prometric ProProctor User Guide. Candidates will be given three (3) hours to complete the exam.

CGMS Exam Fee (nonrefundable)$500 for members | $674 for non-members
(non-member fee includes a one-year NGMA membership)


Exam Information

Prometric, NGMA’s testing vendor, provides technical assistance to NGMA in the delivery of the computer-based testing center and remote proctored CGMS exam.

The computer-based CGMS exam is offered at proctored testing centers across the United States and as a live remote proctored assessment available 24/7.

The CGMS exam contains 150 multiple-choice questions. Candidates will be given three (3) hours to complete the exam. A score of 112 is required to pass the CGMS exam.

Candidate Statistics
As of January 12, 2024, there are 308 CGMS holders.


  2021 2022 2023
Exam Candidates 60 100 114
Pass Rate 57% 38% 44%


Adhere to the Ethics

Read and adhere to the NGMA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The document articulates ideals and values related to the NGMA's:

  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Honesty

Failure to adhere to these ideals and values may result in the revocation of the CGMS credential.

What if I Need to Retake the Exam?

Candidates may retake the exam 90 days after test dates and are allowed three attempts in a 365-day period (one year). Candidates will be required to pay the retesting fee for each exam retake. Retakes are initiated through NGMA and NOT the Candidate Management System (CMS). Contact [email protected] for more information on scheduling a retake exam.

CGMS Non-Refundable Retesting Fee: $175 for members | $250 for non-members

I Passed, Now What?

Congratulations, you passed! You have earned your CGMS designation and will receive an email from NGMA welcoming you to this elite group. You will have access to the CGMS social community page. A PDF of your CGMS certification may be downloaded from the Candidate Management SystemYour CGMS is good for three years from the date you passed the exam. 

To maintain your CGMS designation: Upon receiving your CGMS, you will need to work toward earning 60 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits in the next three years. When you reach your credential expiration date, you will need to show documentation of the 60 CPEs and will be required to pay a CGMS renewal fee.

CGMS Non-Refundable Renewal Fee: $299 for members | $473 for non-members

Earn Continuing Education

CGMS recertification assures employers and peers that the CGMS holder remains knowledgeable about the most current processes and practices in the field of grants management. Recertification promotes professional development for professionals and ensures that individuals who hold the CGMS credential maintain an ongoing commitment to learning in their area(s) of practice to strengthen their knowledge and skills.

To qualify for recertification/renewal, the CGMS holder must submit a minimum of 60 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits and a renewal fee. The continuing education credits must be valid (accredited) CPE credits that deal with subjects related to grants, financial management, audit control and the grant making process. According to generally accepted standards, 50 minutes of training equals one CPE. General knowledge and ethics-related CPE credits that are not related to grants will not be accepted. CPEs are not interchangeable with other units of continuing education (ex. CEUs, CLEs, etc.).

Sources of CPEs


NGMA offers CPEs through monthly webinars (free for NGMA members), Annual Grants Training (AGT), GMBoK Training, and a variety of other trainings. Visit the Events & Trainings page to view a full list of upcoming NGMA trainings. Certificants will need to submit a CPE certificate/documentation at the time of renewal.

From Other Organizations

Certificants may earn CPEs through other organizations. Certificants should ensure that organizations offering CPEs are on the NASBA list of CPE sponsors. Certificants will need to submit a CPE certificate/documentation at the time of renewal.

“During previous NGMA events, grants professionals spoke highly about the [CGMS] opportunity, which inspired me to grow in my profession and obtain the certification. It is my hope that having knowledge of the federal regulations will allow me to be a better resource for my grants department and the district as a whole.” (Pasadena ISD’s Stewart earns prestigious grant certification)

- Rikitra Cephus, CGMS