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CIPS Vs. APICS (What’s Good for You?)

Many people are asking about what is the difference between CIPS and APICS Certifications and what is best Certificate for my career?

In the following article; we will provide fair comparison between the 2 certificates and at the end it is your choice to select the one suitable for you

1.      Background information

CIPS (the Charted Institute of Purchasing and Supply)


in 1932 CIPS existed to promote and develop high standards of professional skill, ability and integrity among all those engaged in purchasing and supply chain management. CIPS assists individuals, organisations and the profession as a whole. CIPS was awarded the Charter in 1992 in recognition of its leading role in supporting and furthering the interests of the purchasing and supply industry.

CIPS is the world’s largest organisation dedicated to procurement profession.

Fast Facts about CIPS  

  • More than 115,000 professional members in 150 countries

  • 200 study center worldwide

  • 269 Exam Center

  • 64 branch and networks worldwide

  • > 360 clients across the globe in the in public, private and third sectors

  • > 800 global events per year reaching more than 32,000 procurement professionals


APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society),


In 1957, 20 production control managers formed the American Production and Inventory Control Society. The organization, which later became known as APICS. APICS has evolved into a strategic partner to global corporations and individuals at all career levels. APICS education programs ensure employees can be successful even when managing the largest and most complex supply chains.

APICS SCC, was formed through the 2014 merger between APICS and the Supply Chain Council.

APICS SCC enables corporations, academic institutions and public sector organizations to address the ever-changing challenges of managing a global supply chain to elevate supply chain performance. APICS SCC is part of APICS, the premier professional association for supply chain management.

Fast Facts about APICS

  • 45,000+ professional members in 100 countries

  • 190 APICS chapters in North America

  • 100+ international channel partners in 46 countries

  • 125,000+ certified professionals

  • $27.7 MM annual revenue in 2015

  • 2,000+ active volunteers and partner leaders

  • 100 staff

2.      Designations and Qualifications

CIPS – Main designation is the MCIPS (Member of CIPS )

In order to achieve this designation there are 4 routes

  • Accredited Degree through academic study in accredited universities

  • Corporate Award Programme through agreement between CIPS and corporates

  • Management entry route (MER) is for managers over 10 year experience and 5 years in managerial position.

  • Qualifications route is through studying CIPS qualifications and passing the exams of these qualifications

Depending on demonstrated experience, Knowledge and other qualifications exemptions from certain exams or qualifications 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 then sit the final set of exams.

In qualification route there are 2 main levels

  • Certificate Level for new people in procurement or employees with less than 2-year experience and consists of 2 modules

  1. Certificate in procurement and supply

  2. Advanced certificate in procurement and supply

  • Diploma Level is for employees over 2-year experience and consists of 3 modules

  1. Diploma in procurement and supply

  2. Advanced diploma in procurement and supply

  3. Professional diploma in procurement and supply.

APICS has two main designation (CSCP and CPIM)

catered to supply chain and operations personnel

  • CSCP (Certified supply chain professional)

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 business experience in a relevant field. They also accept individuals with other accreditations e.g. CSM, CIRM etc.

  • CPIM (certified in production and inventory management)

For the CPIM certification an individual needs to have 2 years’ experience in the field, they don’t require a degree.

3.      Accreditation

 APICS certification itself is not considered as an accredited degree but The National College Credit Recommendation Service recommends the following credit hours for APICS exams

  • Basics of Supply Chain Management: 3 credit hours

  • Detailed Scheduling and Planning: 2 credit hours

  • Execution and Control of Operations: 2 credit hours for bachelor’s degrees

  • Master Planning of Resources: 2 credit hours

  • Strategic Management of Resources: 3 credit hours

  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP): may be eligible for 3 credit hours

All CIPS qualifications are recognised by Office of Qualifications (Ofqual), the qualification regulator for England and Northern Ireland

  1. Certificate in procurement and supply operations equals GCSE

  2. Advanced certificate in procurement and supply equals A level foundation studies

  3. Diploma in Procurement and Supply equals 1st Year Degree

  4. Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply equals 2nd year Degree

  5. Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply equals Bachelor degree

4.      Exams setup and costs

APICS exams

     1- The CSCP exam is:

  • 1 exam 4 hours

  • Can be paper based or computer based

  • Offered 3 times a years

  • Price are above £ 1000

     2- The CPIM exam:

  • 1 exam 105 questions 3 hours (BSCM-module 1)

  • 4 exams 75 questions each 3 hours per exam

  • Computer based testing

  • Cost could be around $450

CIPS exams

For each CIPS module there are 5 exams

  • Certificate module has 5 exams but you can skip these exams and go directly to advanced certificate exams (4 exams in MCQs form paper based and 1 in written form)

  • Diploma level exams are either written exam form or case studies.

  • Offered 3 times Throughout the year (May, July, and November)

  • The certificate exam fees £72 per unit

  • Diploma exam fees £80 per unit

5.      Topics covered

CIPS qualifications

There are 5 qualifications to complete before becoming certified.

  1. Certificate in procurement and supply operations.

  • Procurement and supply principles

  • Procurement and supply functions

  • Procurement and supply processes

  • Procurement and supply administration

  • Procurement and supply stakeholders

  1. Advanced certificate in procurement and supply

  • Procurement and supply environments

  • Procurement and supply operations

  • Procurement and supply workflow

  • Inventory and logistics operations

  • Procurement and supply relationships

  1. Diploma in Procurement and Supply

  • Contexts of procurement and supply

  • Business needs in procurement and supply

  • Sourcing in procurement and supply

  • Negotiating and contracting in procurement and supply

  • Managing contracts and relationships in procurement and supply

  1. Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply

  • Management in procurement and supply (Compulsory)

  • Managing risks in supply chains (Compulsory)

  • Improving the competitiveness of supply chains (Compulsory)

  • Category management in procurement and supply (Optional)

  • Sustainability in supply chains (Optional)

  • Operations management in supply chains (Optional)

  1. Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply

  • Leadership in procurement and supply (Compulsory)

  • Corporate and business strategy (Compulsory)

  • Strategic supply chain management (Compulsory)

  • Supply chain diligence (Optional)

  • Programme and project management (Optional)

  • Legal aspects in procurement and supply (UK) (Optional)

APICS Certifications


CSCP is covered in three modules

MODULE 1 Supply Chain Design

  • Develop the Supply Chain Strategy

  • Design the Supply Chain

MODULE 2 Supply Chain Planning and Execution

  • Procure and Deliver Goods and Services

  • Manage the Relationship with Supply Chain Partners

  • Manage Reverse Logistics

MODULE 3 Supply Chain Improvements and Best Practices

  • Comply with Standards, Regulations, and Sustainable Best Practices

  • Manage Risk in the Supply Chain

  • Measure, Analyze, and Improve the Supply Chain


To achieve this certification, you must pass all of the following exams:

  • Basics of Supply Chain Management

  • Master Planning of Resources

  • Detailed Scheduling and Planning

  • Execution and Control of Operations

  • Strategic Management of Resources

6.      Resources offered

CIPS has multiple options for study

  • More than 90 study centres across the UK or 200 across the world,

  • E-learning platform including

    • 8 online tutors per module case studies,

    • 8 hours of interactive e-learning access to module information for a year

  • Self-study.

APICS offer a range of different studying options including:

  • self-study

  • instructor lead course

  • group or co-operate learning

  • Online instructors

7.      Staying certified

  • For CIPS No renewal to qualification is required but you need to abide to the code of ethics and keep your membership active.

  • For APICS in order to remain certified, a person must abide by their code of ethics and also earn 75 maintenance points every 10 years. Maintenance points can be gained through Continuing education (attending internal and external seminars/ lectures), doing presentations, publications, and educational development, If not achieved then the individual will be suspended from their certification.

8.      Membership

CIPS Annual Fees and types of membership

  • Affiliate & MCIPS 1st year £107 renewal fees £72

  • Student 1st year £92 renewal fees £62

CIPS have 4 different types of membership

  1. 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 studied the subject). (1st year £107 renewal fees £72)

  2. Studying member – this is anyone who is currently studying the subject giving access to a multitude of resources. (1st year £92 renewal fees £62)

  3. MCIPS this is for anyone who has gained the certification and gives access to all the resources and discussion zone a professional can use. (1st year £107 renewal fees £72)

  4. Fellows are the highest level of membership given to those who achieve a gold standard in the field. (renewal fees £90)

The above pricing is for Egypt and they differ according to the country you registering from 

APICS Annual Fees and membership structure

  1. Professional Membership

Ideal for supply chain management professionals who live in North America:

  • APICS CORE professional: $180 annual dues

  • APICS PLUS professional: $220 annual dues

  1. Young Professionals

Recent college graduates (within two years) who are also previous APICS student members, qualify for reduced annual membership dues:

  • APICS CORE young professional: $90 annual dues

  • APICS PLUS young professional: $110 annual dues

  1. International Professionals

Ideal for international supply chain professionals who live outside North America:

  • APICS CORE international: $120 annual dues

  • APICS PLUS international: $135 annual dues

  1. Joint International

Ideal for professionals who live outside of North America and have an affiliation with an international channel partner:

  • Dues vary by international channel partner

  1. Academic Professionals

Academics and educators who work as full-time faculty in the field of supply chain, logistics or operations management.

  • APICS PLUS academic: $75 annual dues

  1. Military, Armed Forces and Government Employees

APICS honors those who serve our country in the military, armed forces or work for the government in the U.S., Mexico or Canada.

  • APICS PLUS membership: $125 annual dues

  1. Student Membership

APICS offers free student membership for eligible full- time students. Learn about APICS student programs.

  1. Enterprise Membership

Offer APICS membership to all of your employees to help advance your organization’s supply chain.

At the end it depends on your specialisation and preference if you want start work in or you are specialised in procurement CIPS will be a good recommendation for you, but if you want to start or working in supply chain planning, or inventory and materials management so APICS certification will be more convenient for you.

2017-03-19T17:36:47+00:00 By |Categories: blog, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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