The Certification Program

ICEAA’s certifications provide professional credentials that set the standard for the entire cost estimating and analysis community. Achieving your PCEA®, CCEA® or SCEC certification distinguishes you as a professional committed to excellence and demonstrates your mastery of the elements of a successful estimate.

  • Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCEA®) – the CCEA® certification is ICEAA’s primary professional certification that requires 5 years of relevant cost-related experience to qualify. Applicants must then pass both Part I and Part II of the certification exam. After passing, your CCEA® is valid for 5 years and is renewable either by retaking the exam or by a points system. (See How Do I Renew My Certification).
  • Professional Cost Estimator/Analyst (PCEA®) – the PCEA® certification is an apprentice-level certification, intended for those new to cost-related professions. Two years of experience in cost, budgeting, finance, accounting, or other related fields is required to qualify. Applicants must then pass Part I of the certification exam. After passing, your PCEA® is valid for 3 years and renewable only by retaking the exam.
  • Software Cost Estimating Certification (SCEC) – the SCEC certification distinguishes professionals committed to excellence and demonstrates mastery of the elements of a successful software cost estimate. Applicants must have 2 years of relevant software cost-related experience to qualify, then pass the SCEC exam. After passing, your SCEC is valid for 5 years and is renewable either by retaking the exam or by a points system (see How Do I Renew My Certification). Starting January 1, 2024, all individuals interested in sitting for the SCEC exam will be required to purchase or show proof of having purchased the CEBoK-S training material.

To achieve one of ICEAA’s certifications, individuals must:

  • Complete the online exam application
  • Receive an approval notification from ICEAA that they have met the requirements to take the desired exam(s)
  • Pay the appropriate exam fee
  • Pass your exam(s): PCEA® candidates must past Exam Part I; CCEA® candidates must pass both Parts Iⅈ SCEC candidates must pass the SCEC Exam. Starting January 1, 2024, all individuals interested in sitting for the SCEC exam will be required to purchase or show proof of having purchased the CEBoK-S training material.


To take the PCEA® exam, applicants must have at least two years of hands-on cost estimating and analysis experience or related field and a college degree (in any discipline).  For CCEA® certification, individuals should either have a college degree (in any discipline) and 5 or more years of relative experience, or without a degree have 8 years of experience. Acceptable related experience in cost estimating and analysis include accounting, finance, mathematics, statistics, engineering, economics, accounting or related sciences. To take the SCEC exam, applicants must have at least two years of hands-on software cost estimating experience and a college degree (in any discipline).


Complete the online application. Your application indicates which exam(s) you wish to take, allows you to provide proof of relevant education/work experience, and to verify the above qualifications for the different exams and corresponding designations. Within a few business days of sending your application, you will be notified whether you have been approved to sit for the exam and will receive instructions on how to pay your exam fee.

Exam Registration and Fees:

The PCEA, CCEA, and SCEC exams are administered online using our provided link and virtual AI proctoring system.

ICEAA Membership is $150.00 per year

Exam Member Rate* Non-Member Rate*
CCEA Full Exam $300.00 $475.00
PCEA $165.00 $275.00
CCEA Part 2 $165.00 $250.00
SCEC $350.00 $515.00
Exam Re-Takes
CCEA Full Exam $115.00 $115.00
PCEA $65.00 $65.00
CCEA Part 2 $75.00 $75.00
SCEC $170.00 $170.00

Log into your ICEAA profile (or create an account) and click the desired exam to purchase. Note: if you place both your exam and membership in your shopping cart at the same time, the member price will not be reflected until the final purchase confirmation page.

Prepare for the Exam, PCEA and CCEA:

While your application is being reviewed – or even before – you should start studying.  Both parts of the ICEAA Exam test applicants on their proficiency across all aspects of cost estimation and analysis.

A variety of in-person training courses and study groups are available at ICEAA’s annual Professional Development & Training Workshop:

The Cost Estimating Body of Knowledge (CEBoK®) is ICEAA’s official training course material, available for FREE for all active ICEAA members. CEBoK®2.0 is a user-friendly cost estimating and analysis training resource, with information organized into 16 interactive modules within five general subject areas, designed to cover all of the topics that represent the body of knowledge that ICEAA promotes and tests for in the CCEA® exam. The modules are designed to facilitate self-study and study in small groups, or can be used effectively in a classroom environment. The PCEA and CCEA exam cover all 16 modules however, the PCEA exam is more terminology/concept-focused and simpler calculations. The CCEA exam has more multi-step problems and more abstracted calculations, applications, and critical assessment of the hypothetical work of other analysts.

ICEAA spent several years migrating version 1.2’s static files into an interactive, Wikipedia-style website that is easier to read and reference. Lessons have been streamlined, with clear, concise content and practical, applicable examples.  For those preparing for our PCEA® and CCEA® exams, each module now contains an explanation of which topics you should focus your studies on, and on the main page, you’ll find a link to download an Excel-based app with practice tests and study questions.

All active ICEAA members can access CEBoK®2.0 after logging in to their profile on the ICEAA Portal. ICEAA membership starts at $150/per year.  Learn more about the benefits of ICEAA membership.

Individual copies of the previous version of CEBoK® (version1.2) are still available for purchase. CEBoK®1.2 is a collection of PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF files on USB thumb drives for $235 for ICEAA members and $335 for non-members. Shipping is included in the purchase price. Your order will ship from the ICEAA business office within 3 business days. For those unable to use USB thumb drives, you may request to have a copy of CEBoK®1.2 burned onto a CD for an additional fee of $25 per copy.

CEBoK®2.0 is browser-based only; it is not available on USB or CD.

Prepare for the Exam, SCEC:

All questions on the SCEC exam are derived from ICEAA’s Cost Estimating Body of Knowledge-Software, or CEBoK-S. CEBoK-S has been cultivated to provide guidance on the essential considerations in software cost estimating, factually and objectively demonstrating all software sizing methods, and allowing users to draw their own conclusions about the merits of any given method. The curriculum is a how-to for undertaking software estimates regarding development effort and cost, sustainment and maintenance, and comparing procured solutions vs. commercial off-the-shelf software, as well as a guide for reviewing another party’s software size, development costs, and sustainment and maintenance schedules.

CEBoK-S builds upon the cost estimating best practices outlined in CEBoK by tailoring lessons on core cost estimating tenets like maturity models, risk, uncertainty, data analysis, and data normalization to the specific uses and applications when estimating software. A PCEA or CCEA certification is not required to qualify for the SCEC certification, but a thorough understanding of standard cost estimating practices is necessary for success.

All ten CEBoK-S lessons are at the ICEAA store, available for purchase in PDF format as individual lessons or a full-curriculum package:

Starting January 1, 2024, all individuals interested in sitting for the SCEC exam will be required to purchase or show proof of having purchased the CEBoK-S training material.

Taking the Exam:

Once your application has been approved and relevant exam fee paid, you will be emailed a link to test and adjust your computer settings if necessary.  The same link will be used to access your exam.

The PCEA Exam/Exam Part I features 60 multiple choice questions worth one point each. The CCEA/Exam Part II features 50 multiple choice questions worth one point each. Each section is two hours in length. The SCEC exam features 60 multiple choice questions and a 90-minute time limit.

The ICEAA Certification Exams may be taken from any desktop or laptop that has an integrated microphone and webcam. The exam is not supported on mobile devices such as cellphones, smartphones, iPads or tablets.  No additional software is required other than the latest version of either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, a downloaded browser extension, and the ability to give the browser access to your integrated microphone and webcam.  Employer-issued computers may have limitations on the sites you are able to visit using their network or blocks on what you are able to download. Forward the ICEAA Online Exam System Requirements PDF to your IT professional to find out if you can take the exam using your company’s network or computer.  If your work-issued computer or network is not compatible, you may use a personal computer.

We encourage you to conduct your system check during business hours at least one week prior to taking the exam so that you can reach out to ICEAA or your company’s IT department with enough time to resolve any issues that are revealed (URL/IP blocking, camera and microphone issues, etc.).  You do not have to take the exam immediately after you complete your system check. The system will provide ample warning that you can return to complete the exam later. If you are not ready to start the exam, do not continue – once you start the exam you must finish it in the time allotted.

While completing the system check and compatibility test should eliminate most possible technical issues, there is a phone number at the bottom of each screen of the exam that you can call for technical assistance with the exam software or connectivity problems. The testing software continuously saves your exam answers so no information will be lost due to internet connectivity issues or power outages. Once an issue is corrected, you will be able to restart the exam where you left off within 24 hours. If your technical issue extends beyond the time frame you have been given to take the exam, contact ICEAA for further instructions.

If you find you can’t take the online exam using computers available to you, you can schedule to take the exam using a computer, AI proctor and microphone disabled, with an approved live proctor.

Once you have completed a successful system check and are ready to take the exam, you will click the green “Start Test” tab to be redirected to the test page where you will provide your registration details. You will go through the process of taking your profile picture, and showing your photo ID for comparison. You may cover personal information from your ID such as your drivers license number; we only need to compare your face with an ID that has both a photo and your name.

ICEAA’s Certification Exams are closed-book tests; the use of notes, reference materials, or help from others during the exams is not permitted, and doing so invalidates your exam. Before you begin:

  • Disconnect any additional monitors that may be connected to your computer so the only display in use is the device that contains your integrated webcam and microphone.
  • Center your camera above the monitor on which the exam is displayed so that your full face is in view while looking at the exam questions.
  • Clear your immediate area of any other computers or devices.
  • Remove any headsets or earphones.
  • We do not recommend wearing baseball hats, visors, or any headwear that may conceal your face.
  • You do not need an external calculator; the exam software has an integrated calculator that has all necessary functions enabled for the exam.
  • You are permitted to use one blank sheet of paper and a writing instrument to work out calculations, and will be required to show that your paper is blank on both sides, containing no formulas or notes.
  • During your exam, do not use the Search/Find on Page/Ctl+F function on your browser. This has been known to generate false external browsing errors and could lead to the termination of your exam session.

The exam software uses advanced analytics for AI proctoring. The AI proctor will monitor you through your computer’s integrated webcam and microphone to watch for distractions or instances where the test-taker may be looking at other files or programs. The AI proctor will flag if another person is detected in your camera’s field of view, if the user is looking away from the screen for long periods of time, if additional devices (like mobile phones) are detected, or if any other websites or programs are launched during the exam.  We do not recommend taking your exam in a public place or a busy office where you might be interrupted or where other people may walk into your camera’s field of view. If one of these flags are raised, you will receive one warning that possible cheating has been detected. On the second instance, the exam will be closed, locked, and marked as failed.

Check our FAQ page for additional information on the AI proctoring software.

If your exam is cut off because one or more of these violations, ICEAA will review your exam reports. If ICEAA determines that an infraction was made, based on a combination of the evidence from the exam recording and additional information provided by the user, the exam will be marked as failed and re-take will be subject to a fee and a waiting period to be determined by ICEAA. If the recording and additional evidence show there was no infraction and the exam was inaccurately invalidated, a re-take will be permitted at no charge.

If you require special accommodations to take the exam, contact the International Business Office to discuss your options. You may be asked to provide additional documentation to support your accommodation request. All information provided will be treated confidentially.
(703) 642-3090

After the Exam:

Approximately 10 business days after your exam is completed, ICEAA will email your pass/fail result to the address provided on your exam application, along with a PDF certificate, and your name will be added to the list of current ICEAA certified cost estimators on our website.  Once a certification expires, the name will be removed from the list. Anyone who has either passed the exam(s) or renewed their certification but has not paid the exam fee will not be listed on the website.

Candidates who do not pass one or more of the exams may re-take the exam they did not pass.  For any given exam type, (PCEA/CCEA Part 1, CCEA Part 2, and SCEC), a candidate may not exceed a total of two attempts per exam type in a 6-month period or three attempts in a 12-month period.

Each time you wish to take the exam you will be subject to an exam fee or re-take fee.  Pricing for re-taking the exams are as follows.

• CCEA® Exam: $115
• PCEA® Exam: $65
• CCEA® Part 2: $75
• SCEC Exam: $170

Answers to exam questions or information on which specific questions were answered correctly or incorrectly are not available. Should you not pass the exam, you will be provided with the three lowest-scoring topic areas to give extra attention to when preparing for your exam re-take. You will not receive the specific questions answered incorrectly or the correct answers to them. Partial credit is not provided for any incorrect answer, regardless of effort or other work shown.

If a candidate passes both Parts I&II but has less than the 5 years of professional experience required to attain the CCEA® certification, they will be awarded the PCEA® designation until the 5-year experience mark is met.

Renewing your Certification:

CCEA®, CCEA®-P, and SCEC certifications are valid for five years, but can be renewed with continuing education credit and other activities via a points system. The PCEA® Certification is valid for three years and may only be extended by re-taking the PCEA® exam.

During the five years that your certification is active, keep a log of the continuing education courses, relevant seminars or workshops, ICEAA membership, and other qualifying activities listed on the ICEAA Recertification Application. We suggest keeping all of your records in an email folder, share drive, or another safe place for ease of reference.

Starting six months before your certification is set to expire, ICEAA will remind you via the email address we have on file to record your points-earning activities on the ICEAA Recertification Application. Once your recertification application is approved, you will receive instructions via email on how to pay the recertification fee.  Recertification applications will be accepted up to six months (180 days) after your expiration date.

Anyone who fails to accumulate the 30 required recertification points, or does not complete their recertification application in time, may reinstate their CCEA® certification by passing both parts of the CCEA® exam again; SCEC certificants who do not complete their recertification may also take the SCEC exam again to reinstate their certification. CCEA® and SCEC Certificants can claim points for years worked in a cost profession, maintaining their ICEAA membership, participating in cost-related continuing education courses at universities, ICEAA events, or events held by other organizations providing relevant programs. Points will be awarded for volunteer contributions to ICEAA and our chapters, for serving as a proctor for others’ exams, and more. Allocation of points for qualifying activities is outlined on the ICEAA Recertification Application. If you are unsure whether or not an activity will qualify for points, contact us with a description and supporting documentation and we will review for relevance.

Ask for Help Anytime

Contact us at or 703-642-3090 with any questions, concerns, or clarifications.

Additional Information and Documents

Download detailed information for planning and preparing to certify.

Certification program details [PDF]

CEBoK® Training Material

CCEA® Testable Topics List [PDF]

CCEA® Sample Questions [PDF]

Formulae List and Study Tips [PDF]

Training Using CEBoK® Materials

Many ICEAA Chapters maintain a schedule of training seminars based on CEBoK® materials. Contact your local ICEAA Chapter President or visit the chapter section of the ICEAA web site for further information on seminar offerings in your area.

ICEAA is now offering official CEBoK® training videos online in an on-demand streaming format you can view anywhere! These videos will be an outstanding educational experience for candidates preparing for our PCEA® or CCEA® exams, individuals new to the field looking for an introduction to cost estimating and analysis, or experienced professionals who want to brush up on their skills. Supplemental CEBoK® training videos can be purchased at

ICEAA does not solicit for or advertise customized in-house training for certification preparation. If you have received an offer for CEBoK® or CCEA® training, contact ICEAA to ensure the proper materials are being used. Upon request, ICEAA will provide the contact information for organizations trusted by the association to provide training.

CEBoK® is copyrighted by ICEAA. Instructors wishing to make use of CEBoK® material in fee-based instructional courses must acquire a CEBoK® Limited License Agreement for Third-Party Training prior to conduct of the training. All students attending training must be active ICEAA members with access to CEBoK®2.0 or have purchased a copy of the CEBoK®1.2 USB drive. Trainers will be responsible for submitting records to ICEAA regarding the training and attendees, as well as a stipend of $20/student/training day in recognition of ICEAA’s copyrighted intellectual property.

Contact for information on instruction licenses.

Trademark Notice:

CCEA® is a registered trademark owned by the International Cost Estimating & Analysis Association (ICEAA).  USPTO: #4040978

PCEA® is a registered trademark owned by the International Cost Estimating & Analysis Association (ICEAA).  USPTO: #4040979

CEBoK® is a registered trademark owned by the International Cost Estimating & Analysis Association (ICEAA).  USPTO: #85209502