The Certified Public Manager (CPM) program in the United
States is a nationally recognized professional development program.
It is designed for federal, state, and local government managers,
but the skills, knowledge, and competencies taught are
also relevant for managers and supervisors in the nonprofit sector.
The CPM programs primary goal is to improve the performance of
public-sector managers and the organizational performance of
state, and local government employees. It is a comprehensive course
study through which public managers can acquire and apply the best
and theory to their management behaviors and strategies using
sets of professional standards, often referred to as competencies.
The curriculum uses theory as the foundation and applies it to
problems facing the participants, their agencies and departments,
the citizens.Those who complete the program earn a nationally
designation of CPM.
The CPM program has been operating in the United States since
1979. It began in Georgia as a certification program for public
in Georgias state government. Initially, it spread throughout the
states (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas) and eventually to all
in the country.
By 1995, the CPM program had expanded throughout the United
States, encompassing federal, local, and nonprofit and
employees. By 1996, the Graduate School, USDA, was delivering a
CPM program to federal employees, and the Texas CPM program
wastraining significant numbers of local government employees,
in addition to serving federal, state, and nonprofit
employees.By 2008, thirty-seven CPMprograms, including
Washington, DC, and the federal government (through
the Graduate School,USDA),were operating in the United
States. Some of the newest CPMprograms are in California
National CPM Consortium
CPM programs in the United States operate under
the umbrella of the National CPMConsortium.Formed
in 1979, this consortium establishes and preserves standards
for the CPM designation. It monitors and accredits
all CPMprograms in the United States.Only accredited
programs are authorized to award the CPM designation,
which is trademarked by the consortium and its member
programs.Accredited CPMprograms are reviewed and
reaccredited every five years for continued compliance with
national CPM standards.
The purpose of the consortium is to promote the
CPM programs. It provides and monitors accreditation
standards, facilitates program development, encourages innovation,
and develops linkages with programs and organizations
with similar values and interests.
The National CPM Consortium Council comprises
seventy-four members. Each CPM program is authorized
to send up to two representatives to the council.One
of the representatives is the state CPM program director,
who designates the states second member.The consortium
is a loose confederation of various CPMprograms,
which allows for variation and creativity in the development
of individual programs.The one thing that all programs
have in common is that they all conform to the general
standards and competencies set by the National CPM
The consortium authorizes one organization per state
to deliver the accredited CPM program.CPM applicants
go through a series of steps to reach full membership in
the consortium.The first step for a new member is associate
membership, which indicates that the applicant is willing
to develop a new CPM program.Active membership
is the next step, which occurs when a new member begins
to offer a CPM program.The final step is full membership,
which occurs after the new member successfully
passes a peer review evaluation and is initially accredited
by the consortium.
Additional information on the consortium, including
officers, standards, and accreditation proceedings, is available
on the CPMWeb site at www.cpmconsortium.org.
Texas CPM Program
TheTexas CPMprogram is an example of one of the
programs under the umbrella of the consortium.Texas State
University (TSU) began offering the CPM program for
Texas after receiving authorization inApril 1995 from the
consortium. In July 1995, the Public Service Academy, a
division of the Continuing Education Program at TSU,
began offering theTexas CPM program for state and local
government and nonprofit-sector employees.
The program is approved for continuing education
credit for a number of public and nonprofit organizations,
including the Peace Officers,Texas Commission on Law
Enforcement Standards and Education, and Texas State
Board of PublicAccountancy.The County Commissioners
Education Committee for Commissioners Continuing
Education Credit has approved it as mandated by theTexas
The Texas CPM program, through the William P.
Hobby Center for Public Service, offers seminars,workshops,
and a variety of field-based projects.The program
is designed to enhance the skills and abilities that participants
need to deal with real-world problems and situations.
One of the major features of theTexas CPMprogram
is the completion of several applied projects,
which deal with practical situations.
The seven courses that make up the CPM program
inTexas are as follows:
1. Personnel and Human Resources Administration
2. Managing for Quality
3. Organizational Communication
4. Public Finance and Budgeting
5. Productivity and Program Evaluation
6. Information Systems for Managers
7. Applied Project Practicum.
Prior to graduation, all CPMparticipants are required
to complete a major applied project inTrack 7, which is
the capstone of the program. In Track 7, the student
demonstrates the management skills,knowledge, and abilities
learned in the previous six tracks.Course Cycles
CPM courses operate in a cycle,normally beginning
withTrack 1 and ending withTrack 7.AfterTrack 7 is completed,
the rotation begins again withTrack 1.CPMcourses
inTexas can be taken in any order. In addition to receiving
certification credit, academic course credit at no
additional cost may be granted to students eligible to receive
it.After successfully completing the seven-course sequence,
participants receive the designation of Certified
Public Manager. For new graduates around the State of
Texas,CPMgraduation ceremonies are held June and December
at theTexas State Capitol in Austin.
Some of the CPMcourse cycles are open enrollment
cycles, in that enrollment is open to all participants
from the public and nonprofit sectors. Some cycles are
closed enrollment cycles, which means thatTSU has a
direct contract with a city or public-sector organization
to deliver the CPM program to that organizations
managers.A CPM class consists of between twenty and
To meet the needs of working participants, as well as
those commuting from long distances, CPM courses in
Texas are offered in two formats: one and one-half days
a month and one day a month. Completion of the program
takes a minimum of fourteen months for the former
and twenty-one months for the latter. In addition to
the regular classroomsessions,CPMparticipants are assigned
take-home exams for each day of work in the program.
At least thirty hours of outside work per course (graded
by the CPM cycle coordinator) is assigned. The total
amount of instruction under the direction of the cycle coordinator
is at least 160 hours for the entire seven tracks.
Since the CPM program is offered through theTSU
Department of Continuing Education, people without a
college degree can be accepted.CPMcourses can be used
for academic credit toward a bachelors or a masters degree
atTSU.As mentioned, there is no additional cost for
registering for academic credit.
CPM Program Cycle Coordinator
AllTexas CPM locations have a cycle coordinator,
who is responsible for all seven tracks at a specific location.
The cycle coordinator, a university faculty member
with at least adjunct status, is responsible for organizing
and coordinating each of the seven courses that make up
a CPMcycle.The cycle coordinator is responsible for designing
and implementing the delivery of the CPMcourses
at a particular location and is the main point of contact
with program participants and faculty.The coordinator
also designs and grades the take-home exams.
Each of the CPMcourses is team taughtby a combination
of academic and practitioner faculty operating
under the direction of the CPMcycle coordinator.Many
of the academic instructors are regular or adjunct faculty
ofTSU, the University ofTexas, and otherTexas universities.
Practitioners include city or county managers,
state agency department heads, and school district administrators
from a variety of school districts and city, county,
state, and federal agencies. In addition, private professional
development and training consultants are part of
the faculty mix.
TSU Coordination with Other
TheTexas CPM program is run under the auspices
ofTSU.To facilitate the delivery of the program throughoutTexas,
TSU has entered into a series of interuniversity
contracts with institutions across the state.Current university
partners offering the CPMprogram inTexas include
The University ofTexas at Arlington
TexasTech University, Lubbock
Sam Houston State University, operating programs
Stephen F.Austin State University, Nacogdoches
Texas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi.
Each of the university partners is given a license to
offer the CPM program in Texas under the auspices of
TSU.TSU provides the curriculum and technical assistance
necessary to begin a CPMprogram. It also conducts
all CPMgraduations at theTexas Capitol. In exchange for
the services provided, the university partners provide an
agreed-upon overhead back toTSU.
CPM Program Linkages
The CPM program has been designed to link with
and complement other established public-sector associations
and organizations, such as the American Society
for Public Administration (ASPA) and the International
City/County ManagementAssociation (ICMA).Another
related organization is the American Academy of
Certified Public Managers (AACPM), an association of
TheTexas CPM program is linked in several ways to
ASPA. InTexas, for example,CPM participants are provided
ASPA membership at no additional cost. In addition,
ASPA and theTexas CPM program hold an annual
jointTexas CPM/ASPA conference, one of the largest
regional ASPA conferences in the United States.
In early 2007, paperwork was filed to initiate a new
ASPA section called the Section on Certified PublicManagement
(SCPM). Currently, more than 300 ASPA
members are enrolled in the new section.Additional CPM
participants and graduates around the country and the
world are being encouraged to join both ASPA and the
newASPA SCPM.The SCPM is open to CPM alumni,
students, and faculty as well as all ASPA members
(whether or not they are affiliated with CPM) interested
in the concepts, principles, and practices of certified
The goal of the SCPMis to promote the professional
development and training of public and not-for-profit
managers in the ethical values and technical competencies
associated with outstanding public service.The new
section has adopted The Public Manager, the premier journal
for public administration practitioners, as its journal.
The Public Manager, along with the SCPM and individual
CPM programs, is engaged in a number of cooperative
projects, including offering professional development
sessions at ASPA and CPM conferences and conducting
occasional forums, seminars, and other discussion events
around the country throughout the year.
For additional information about the Texas SCPM,
The CPM program forTexas has been developed to
meet the professional development and education standards
of ICMA.CPM courses forTexas are developed to
meet the eight essential training areas identified by ICMA:
staff effectiveness,policy facilitation, service delivery
strategic leadership, democratic responsiveness,
organizational planning and management, communication,
and integrity. ICMAs home page is located at
AACPM,a companion organization to the National
CPM Consortium, is the national organization made
up of the alumni of CPMprograms throughout the country.
Each state also establishes state CPM alumni societies.
Each year, theAACPMholds an annual conference,which
is attended by CPM alumni and program directors
throughout the country.The National CPMConsortium
meeting is held in conjunction with the annualAACPM
conference.For additional information,go to theAACPM
A Model for Worldwide
The CPM program continues to grow and expand
throughout the United States.Throughout its history,CPM
has served as a valuable companion program to the traditional
master of public administration (MPA) program.
CPM is more applied and less theoretical than the MPA
program. It is designed for those less interested in completing
all requirements of the MPA program than in acquiring
the skills,knowledge, and abilities necessary to become
outstanding public servants. CPM also can be of
value to those who have completed a traditionalMPA degree
and wish to update their practical skills.CPMfocuses
on values, such as improving ethics in the public service.
It sets up a continuing education network of federal, state,
and local civil servants,who can work together to improve
the quality and the image of the public service.
The next logical step is to take CPM to the international
level. Over the last few years, the authors have
delivered a series of papers at international conferences
around the world.The purpose of these papers was to provide
additional information about CPM to public administration
educators and practitioners worldwide. In July
2005, the concept of CPM was initially presented at the
InternationalAssociation of Schools and Institutes ofAdministration
Conference in Lake Como, Italy. InMay 2007,
the authors presented a paper focusing on the value of
CPM as a certification designation for public and nonprofit-
sector employees at a conference in Kiev,Ukraine.
We also presented related papers on the value of CPM
as an international public manager designation at conferences
inWarsaw, Poland, and Moscow, Russia.
The CPM concept garnered a great deal of interest
and comment at the international conferences where it
was presented.We hope that the seeds of the CPM program
planted at these conferences ultimately will take root
in a number of countries around the world.