Applying for the Certified Plant Supervisor (CPS) Program

Frequently Asked Questions

This credential is designed to validate that the certified person possesses the professional expertise and knowledge required to successfully perform plant and facilities supervisory activities.

What does the exam cover? What is it like?
The CPS exam contains 100 true/false and multiple-choice questions. The exam covers the role of the supervisor, communication skills, interpersonal skills, introduction to finance and budgeting, leadership and motivation, safety, time management and planning, business law, interviewing and hiring, conflict resolution and problem solving and teambuilding. A score of 70% is required to pass.

Is there an application or exam fee?
Yes. There is an application and exam fee. Please see the CPS application for pricing. All fees are non-refundable. If AFE finds you are not eligible for the exam, fees will be returned.

Am I eligible?
You are eligible if you have a minimum of two years experience in plant/facility supervisory capacity or a minimum of three years in the field overall.

Do I need to show proof of my employment history?
Yes. An employment verification form needs to be completed by your employer(s) based on your employment history and eligibility. For example, if you have been with your current employer for three or more years, one form is required. If you have been with several companies within a three-year period, one form from each employer is required.

Do I have to be an AFE member to take the test?
No. However, exposure to the many resources available to AFE members will enhance your knowledge of the plant/facilities field. AFE membership offers access to webinars, an electronic library and AFE's Facilities Engineering Journal.

How can I prepare for the exam?
AFE offers a CPS Review Pak, which covers the 11 topics contained in the exam. Please see the application for pricing. Assessment tests are available on the AFE website. These questions will give you an idea of how well prepared you are in each subject area.

Can I order the review pack before applying to take the exam?
Yes, you can purchase any of AFE's review pak's at the AFE store.

Does AFE offer Review programs?
We offer frequent in-person certification review courses at locations throughout the United States as well as online “virtual” seminars.  View the schedule of upcoming course offerings in the AFE Calendar of Events.

What if I cannot attend a Review session?
You may study independently using the Review Pak.

How much time do I have to complete the process of becoming certified?
AFE will approve your application after reviewing your qualifications and verifying your employment. Once your application has been approved you will have one year to complete the exam. If you do not complete the exam within that time, you will need to reapply and submit the necessary fees and required paperwork.

Where is the exam given?
The exam is available in paper form or online. You may take the test in one of three ways:

You also may request a substitute proctor if your human resources department is unable to assist you. Please contact AFE at (571) 203-7239 to make other arrangements. Test materials are forwarded to the proctor one day in advance of your exam date. Upon completion of the exam, the proctor will return the materials to the certification department for grading.

If I fail, can I take the exam again?
Yes. However, you are subject to a re-test fee. If you attend a review program and do not pass the exam you will not be charged a re-test fee. Please see the application for fees.

What happens if I pass the exam?
AFE will notify you of your successful passing of the exam. We can also share your success with your boss, to let them know of your achievement. You will receive a certificate and CPS identification card.

When does my certification need to be renewed?
Yes, your CPS certification needs to be renewed every three years. You must earn at least five recertification credits every three years. Three of those credits come simply from being continuously employed in the plant/facilities field. The other credits will come from professional development seminars, workshops, etc. When it is time to recertify, AFE corporate headquarters will be send you the CPS recertification guidelines and application.

AFE is committed to assisting you achieve your certification goals. Please contact AFE, (571) 203-7238, with any questions.