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Develop : Talent Management: Certification Track:

Certified Public Manager ® Program (CPM)

History | Enrollment | Selection Criteria | Prerequisites | Curriculum | Cost
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The Certified Public Manager ® (CPM) program provides in-depth, comprehensive, competency-based leadership development  to middle managers in North Carolina’s state government agencies/universities and local government organizations.  A graduate of the CPM program earns the Certified Public Manager ® designation, which is recognized by a National CPM Consortium of over 40 states and public sector entities. 

Each year 72 participants are selected by their organizations to enroll in the CPM Program.  The CPM Program format is blended, which means that participants complete some courses online.  Online courses are supported through in-class application and skill enhancement.  Approximately twelve in-class days (80 hours) are required of participants during the 16 month active CPM Program.  Additionally, 120 hours are required outside the classroom sessions to complete online modules, and pre/post class assignments.  Participants also may choose to take additional courses that would add to the online and/or contact days.   A CPM Project, which applies and demonstrates the concepts learned to a problem or service improvement opportunity in the participant’s work unit, is also completed over the 16 month Program period.

Program History

In June of 1979 an Executive Order established the Governor’s Advisory Committee to guide the design and development of the North Carolina Public Manager ® Program (PMP).  In July 1982 the program became fully operational. With the graduation of the 31st class in 2010, over 2,000 managers have completed the North Carolina CPM Program.  In 1988, the National Certified Public Manager ® Consortium accredited North Carolina’s program to award the Certified Public Manager ® designation.

Program Enrollment

Nominees are solicited annually from NC state agencies/universities and local government organizations.  Specific enrollment information is sent to state agency/university Training Coordinators and published in the state-wide Learning Management System (LMS) each Spring to start the process.  Participant selection criteria (including the prerequisite training program information) are provided to help in the nomination process.  State agencies/universities and local government organizations are responsible for ensuring that their nominated employees meet all criteria for CPM Program enrollment. 

NC State government agency/university managers interested in enrolling in the CPM program should download an application from the Learning Managment System (LMS) and contact their agency/university training coordinator for specific details about the CPM selection guidelines.

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria listed below is valid as of 3/4/14.

To be nominated by their NC state government agency/university or local government organization, managers must fit the following criteria:

  1. Organizational Level
    1. Nominees must be North Carolina middle managers in a state agency or constituent institution of The University of North Carolina system, or in a city/county local government organization.  This may include UNC faculty members who have middle management responsibilities as a significant portion of their work assignment.  The middle manager functions at the level between executive management and the first line supervisor.
    2. The middle management role in state agencies/universities or local government organizations is defined, for purposes of nomination to the Certified Public Manager ® Program (CPM), as including one or more of the following:
      1. supervising the supervisors of first line employees;
      2. managing a program which has broad impact upon delivery of core services of the  agency/university/organization  (e.g., statewide and cross- agency/departmental impact for state government; city- or county-wide for local government)
      3. consulting and interacting on a regular basis with executive management.
    3. The design of the CPM Program presupposes that (1) participants have subordinate employees, which requires the middle manager to carry out the managerial functions of supervision and performance management and/or (2) participants provide program management to meet the needs of broad and varied groups of stakeholders/clients, necessitating the middle manager’s exercise of influence at or above their own organizational level.
  2. Certified Public Manager® Program Competencies
  3. To be eligible for nomination to the CPM Program, nominees must meet the middle management requirement.  They must also successfully complete the following 100 hours of pre and co-requisite programs.
  4. Required Document
    Along with the completed and endorsed application form, the nominee will include a written/typed description of his/her managerial role, including a detailed list of his/her supervisory responsibilities. The nominee's immediate supervisor is expected to verify accuracy of content and sign this document.
  5. Required Time Commitment for the CPM
    To earn the CPM designation, each candidate must complete 100 hours of pre and co-requisite coursework (see item #3 above) plus an additional 200 hours of coursework in the core CPM Program curriculum.  Thus, a minimum of 300 hours of course work is required to complete the entire CPM Program.   Additional time may be needed to complete the CPM project requirement.
    The 200 hour core CPM Program curriculum format is blended.  This means participants complete online course work, which is supported through classroom sessions focused upon practicing skills and giving/receiving “real-time” performance feedback.  CPM Program content is covered in four different modules; each module is comprised of pre- and post-class assignments in addition to a classroom session.    For the core CPM Program curriculum, approximately twelve in-class days (80 contact hours) will be required over a 14 month period.  During this same period, an additional 120+ hours will be required outside the classroom sessions to complete on-line modules and meetings as well as other pre/post class assignments.  It is expected that sponsoring state agencies/universities and local government organizations will allow participants to use paid work time to complete all CPM Program activities, including prerequisite and co-requisite course work (see Section 3 of this document).
  6. Executive Commitment of Support
    Each nomination carries with it the commitment of the applicant’s state or local government executive management to support the nominee.  This includes:
    1. Support of the nominee’s learning process:
      1. Making participation in the CPM Program a part of the nominee's work plan by building in paid work time to attend all courses and complete all non-classroom-based assignments on schedule.
      2. Encouraging and supporting application of CPM Program competencies on the job through a variety of strategies including the CPM final project.
      3. Completing all feedback instruments, evaluations and assessments required for the nominee.
      4. Becoming engaged in the learning process by having the nominee share competencies gained during a just-completed CPM module (learning objectives will be provided to the participant to share with his/her immediate supervisor).
      5. Providing feedback on curriculum content and program design to the CPM faculty and staff in order to ensure continuous quality improvement.
    2. Allocation of appropriate resources:
      1. Approval of funds for:
      2. participant fees for the Certified Public Manager® Program, including pre and co-requisite courses; and
      3. travel costs (mileage and per diem) for nominees outside of Raleigh.
      4. Authorization of reasonable use of state or local government organizational resources (e.g., computers and software, clerical support, photocopiers) for participants to complete CPM Program requirements such as assessments, online courses and meetings, reports, learning application assignments, etc.  This includes ensuring that the state or local government organization’s Information Technology function provides timely and reliable access to CPM Program online resources to participants.
  7. Expectations of Nominee
  8. The CPM Program emphasizes participant self-awareness and self-managed learning.   A set of core competencies is espoused by the CPM Program as integral to effective manager behavior.  Thus, a participant should be open to receiving extensive and specific performance-based feedback concerning his/her learning, management and behavior styles.  Feedback to the participant will be in both written and oral form and will come from the participant's immediate supervisor, employees, peers, psychological instruments and questionnaires, fellow participants, instructors and project coaches.  The core competencies that are espoused by the CPM Program are listed in Section 2.

    1. Although admission to the Certified Public Manager® Program is not necessarily dependent on the nominee's educational level, the nominee is advised that the level of instruction in the CPM Program is that of a college graduate.  In addition to full participation in classroom sessions, participants are expected to complete online courses and discussions, reading assignments, surveys, case analyses, managerial scenarios and assessment instruments.  CPM Program participants are expected to understand theories, principles and management models, and to transfer and apply these to their jobs.  Written CPM Program assignments will include, but not be limited to, an individual growth and learning plan as well as a project proposal, first team meeting report, implementation plan and final paper (including a project log).
    2. The nominee is expected to commit to finishing all CPM Program requirements in a timely, complete manner.
    1. The participant should demonstrate the highest probability that every scheduled CPM Program module (classroom and/or online meetings) can be attended, and that pre-class and post-class assignments can be completed in a timely manner.  (Participants nominated by their state agency/university or local government organization will have the opportunity to select their schedule preference on page 4 of the CPM Application Form.  However, in the event of conflicts, participants may be able to reschedule classroom sessions in some cases).
    2. If a participant misses a scheduled classroom session it may prevent him/her from graduating from the CPM Program with his/her class since it may take another year before a classroom make-up opportunity is available.
    3. Due to the sequential, integrated nature of the program, the CPM Program will not accept state agency/university or local government organization substitutes if a participant drops out during the core CPM Program period.
    4. The nominee is expected to
      1. Come with a readiness and willingness to learn
      2. Complete all pre- and/or post-class assignments in the scheduled time frame
      3. Apply CPM Program competencies back on the job and
      4. Participate in on-going efforts to improve the quality of the CPM Program by providing constructive feedback to CPM faculty and staff.
    5. Nominees selected into the program are expected to complete all CPM Program requirements, including a final CPM project.
  9. Selection Process
    1. State Agency/University and Local Government Organization Internal Applicant Review
      1. Upon request, the Office of State Human Resources Talent Management Division can provide each state agency/university and local government organization a list of managers who passed any one of the following courses with a score of 90% or higher on the exam:  Advanced Skills for Managers OR Managing Effective Performance Program (MEP) OR Supervision for Managers/Professionals Program (SM/P) OR Fundamentals of Management Program.  One of the CPM Program goals is to ensure that enrollments reflect the diversity of the work force across North Carolina state and local government.  Each state agency/university and local government organization is asked to ensure that their nominations reflect this diversity.
      2. The nominations submitted to the CPM Program will be for those employees who have the greatest probability of successfully completing all requirements of the CPM Program.  The nominees will have, in the judgment of management in their sponsoring state agency/university or local government organization, the potential to contribute significantly to the effective operation of the nominee's work unit.  Each state agency/university and local government organization will review all CPM program applications to ensure that each nominee meets all Selection Guidelines.
    2. Certified Public Manager® Program
      1. Upon timely receipt of a completed and signed CPM Application Form, the CPM Program will review each application and, on the basis of the Selection Guidelines, determine those individuals to be admitted to the CPM Program.  Incomplete applications will be returned to the state agency/university or local government organization training coordinator.
      2. If a nomination appears questionable when compared to the Selection Guidelines, the CPM Program Director will discuss the matter with the state agency/university or local government organization training coordinator.
      3. Nominees selected for admission to the CPM Program will be notified by letter/e-mail, as will their state agency/university or local government organization training coordinator.

Prerequisites and Corequisites

The selection criteria listed below is valid as of 3/4/14.

To be eligible for nomination to the CPM Program, nominees must meet the middle management requirement.  They must also successfully complete the following 100 hours of pre and co-requisite programs:



  • Interaction Management Training that includes 20+ hours of skills-based courses covering topics such as: Communicating Performance Expectations; Improving Employee Performance; Improving Work Habits; Utilizing Effective Follow-Up Action; Maintaining Improved Performance.  Interaction Management training may be completed in on-line and/or classroom format.  This may be available through your agency or at additional cost through the CPM Program.  The Leading at All Levels High Performance Coaching course for Managers course, available from the Office of State Human Resources via the LMS,  will be accepted in fulfillment of the Interaction Management Training requirement for CPM purposes. If an applicant does not have access to Interaction Management training or a CPM Program approved equivalent through their agency, they may contact the CPM Director (Kathi Parker at Kathleen.Parker@nc.gov or 919.733.8333) to identify the OSHR/TM options available for meeting this requirement.  Completed or scheduled to be completed within 6 months of entering the CPM Program.


The CPM curriculum focuses on developing key leadership competencies through practical application.  Instructional strategies include online course work, case analysis, simulations, discussion, exercises, small group work, 360 feedback and reflection. The following four required modules are each comprised of a 2-1/2 to 3 day classroom session plus extensive pre and post course work.

You may review the learning objectives and methods for each of the four core modules by accessing the revised CPM brochure at here.

Each participant is required to complete a project by the end of his/her CPM Program.  The purpose of the project is to allow the participant to demonstrate application of learning by developing and implementing a plan of action which is intended to improve the quality of service in the participant’s work unit.  The project entails leading an improvement planning team.  It is assessed by program faculty, project team members, and agency personnel.


The current CPM participant registration fee is $1300. Fees are due once enrollment in the program is awarded, and prior to the first classroom session.


For information about the the Certified Public Manager ® Program, contact Kathi Parker, program director, by phone 919-733-8333 or by email.