Get Certified

CDFM and CDFM-A™ Certification

The Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) is a test-based certification for defense financial management professionals in government (e.g., Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community), academia, and in the commercial/private sector (e.g., defense contractors and suppliers).

Earning and maintaining the CDFM credential requires meeting eligibility and experience criteria, passing three multiple-choice exams, and recertifying every two years.

Individuals who meet the requirements for the CDFM and also pass an exam which tests defense acquisition competencies earn the CDFM-A: the CDFM with Acquisition Specialty.

The CDFM™ Candidate Handbook

Get the most important information about earning the CDFM and CDFM-A all in one place! Download a free copy of the CDFM Candidate Handbook here for guidance on:

  • Eligibility
  • Requirements
  • Exam Preparation
  • Policies

Step 1: Check Eligibility and Possible Funding Sources

Eligibility

Before beginning the certification process, it is important to verify that you are eligible to earn the CDFM. To be awarded CDFM or CDFM-A certification, a candidate must:

  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent*
  • Pledge to adhere to the SDFM Pledge of Professionalism
  • Enroll in the CDFM Program
  • Pass CDFM exam modules 1, 2, and 3 within a 4-year time frame
    (Module 4 can be taken at any time, but the CDFM-A cannot be awarded until all CDFM requirements are met.)
  • Submit a qualifying Verification of Financial Management Experience (VFME) form demonstrating the required financial management experience outlined below:
  • An associate degree or higher plus 2 years of defense-related or 4 years of Federal Government-related financial management experience, OR
  • A high school diploma or equivalent plus 3 years of defense-related financial management experience
  • *Although education requirements are reported on the honor system, all CDFM Program enrollees and candidates are subject to audit at any time.

Possible Funding Sources

Although some resources are listed below, SDFM recommends that you consult your training officer, career field manager, professional development staff, or a career counselor at your local educational services office for personalized guidance on all your funding options. (Note: The Department of Defense and the Department of the Army are neither affiliated with nor endorse SDFM.)

The Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) programs help service members and government civilians find information on civilian certifications and licenses related to their job. COOL programs may pay for training, materials, and/or exams that lead to industry-recognized civilian credentials.

Step 2: Prepare for Examination

See the “Prepare to Test” page here for detailed information and resources.

Step 3: Enroll in the CDFM™ Program

Initial Enrollment

Take the first step to becoming a CDFM today by enrolling in the CDFM Program here, which gives you 2 years of testing eligibility ($40 for SDFM Members and $75 for Non-Members).

Your enrollment is active as soon as payment is processed, and you can move forward immediately to purchase the CDFM Module Exams.

Enrollment Extension

If your enrollment has expired and you need more time to complete the examination process, you can extend your enrollment for an additional 2 years here. ($75 for SDFM Members and $85 for Non-Members).

Questions should be directed to certification@sdfm.org or (703) 549-0360.

Step 4: Pay for Exams

Purchase a Pearson VUE CDFM exam here. All CDFM Exams are $99 each and non-refundable except in the case of duplicate purchase.

Testing Options:

1.      Pearson VUE Online Proctored At-Home Testing (OnVUE)

2.      Pearson VUE In-Person Test Center

3.      Special Arrangement Testing (contact certification@sdfm.org)

After purchase, you should receive an email in 24-48 hours with your Pearson VUE Candidate ID and scheduling directions. When scheduling your exam on the Pearson VUE test scheduling site, you will select either At-Home (OnVUE) Testing or Test Center Testing. Conduct a Pearson VUE System Test here to see if your computer meets the requirements for OnVUE at-home testing.

Step 5: Schedule Exams

View information on CDFM and Pearson VUE testing policies, such as Exam Scheduling, Cancelling, and Rescheduling here.

Get a copy of the CDFM Candidate Handbook here to review CDFM Program Policies, including SDFM’s Non-Discrimination Policy, Contact Information Changes, Name Changes, and ADA Accommodations.

ADA Accommodations

SDFM complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and wants to ensure that no eligible individual is deprived of the opportunity to take the exam solely by reason of a disability as defined under the ADA (or equivalent), as long as the disability is not one which would render the individual incapable of performing the duties of a certified position.

Candidates must identify their need for special accommodations at least 5 weeks before the desired testing date by making a request in writing to certification@sdfm.org, to include a letter reporting a formally-diagnosed, ADA-recognized disability from a qualified professional who has provided evaluation or treatment to the applicant.

See the CDFM Candidate Handbook for details here.

Step 6: Take Exams

Visit SDFM’s landing page on the Pearson VUE test scheduling site to learn what to expect in a Pearson VUE test center and review testing policies, such as the Candidate Rules Agreement, accepted IDs at the testing appointment, No Shows, Inclement Weather, and Candidate Emergencies here.

Get a copy of the CDFM Candidate Handbook here to review CDFM Program Exam Policies, including the Exam Retake Policy and waiting periods, Life of Passed Examinations, the Certification Process Time Limit, Exceptions to Policy, Refund Policy, as well as information about Exam Results, Scoring, Exam Score Reports, and Appeals.

Step 7: Submit Experience Form

Candidates must submit a qualifying Verification of Financial Management Experience (VFME) form signed by a supervisor to earn the CDFM. It can be submitted at any time during the certification process. View the experience requirements and download the VFME form here.