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Defense Health Agency

"On October 1, 2013, the Department of Defense established the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to manage the activities of the Military Health System. These activities include those previously managed by TRICARE Management Activity (TMA), which was disestablished on the same date. During the next several months, all TMA websites will change to reflect the new DHA. We appreciate your patience during this transition."


Certification Programs
Certification Requirements
Primary Career Field Certification Requirement
Secondary Career Field Certification
Certification Levels
Career Field Curriculum
Application Process for Certification
Changes to Certification Requirements

All personnel in acquisition positions have a certification requirement.  The certification requirement is determined by the position category and certification level assigned to the acquisition position based on the individual’s duties, responsibilities, and authorities.  Individuals may also obtain certification in career fields other than that required by their position. 

Certification Programs
Each acquisition career field has specific training and experience requirements to attain certification.  Some also have an education requirement. Completion of core courses in a logical sequence is necessary so that the appropriate level of knowledge is available for performance at a particular level and that later courses can build on the knowledge gained from earlier courses.

The requirements for certification build on each other.  An individual must meet the requirements for each previous level to be certified at the next level.  For example, in order to be certified to Level II in Contracting, an individual must have a Baccalaureate Degree in business or a Baccalaureate Degree in another field and 24 semester hours in business or business related subjects from an accredited university, complete all Level I and II training classes and have a total of three years of contracting experience.  Not all acquisition functions have a positive education requirement.  Certification requirements for each functional area are available at

Certification Requirements
All acquisition workforce members must be certified to their appropriate level in their respective career field. New hires, i.e., those from the private sector or those joining the acquisition workforce, have 24 months to obtain certification. New hires at the GS-9 through GS-12 level must meet the statutory education (if any) and experience requirements and the regulatory training requirements to be certified to at least Level I. They have 24 months to obtain the training required for a Level II certification, once appointed to a position. Similarly, a new hire at the GS-13 and above level must meet the requirements for certification to Level II and has 24 months to obtain the training required for certification to Level III. The experience requirements can only be met through performance of acquisition duties for the period of time required for that specific level. Existing acquisition workforce members must obtain their certification requirements for their level within the timeframes indicated.

New hires in the Federal Government do not necessarily have access to Defense Acquisition University (DAU) or Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) training. Therefore, any previous training will be evaluated by the Acquisition Career Manager (ACM) to determine equivalency, when applicable.

Primary Career Field Certification Requirement
The position requirements and certification level associated with the position encumbered by the workforce member determine the member’s primary career field certification requirement.

Individuals assigned to Key Leadership Positions (KLPs) must meet certification requirements when assigned. All other acquisition workforce members must meet the certification requirements within 24 months of assignment. Changes to certification standards do not start a new certification period. However changes to a position’s certification requirement, i.e., a change to the position category or level, do begin a new 24 month period.

Once an acquisition workforce member is certified, he/she remains certified even if the certification requirements change. Workforce members in positions that require Level II or Level III certification must meet certification standards for lower levels, including any and all course prerequisites.

Secondary Career Field Certification
Certification in a career field other than the individual’s primary acquisition career field is also known as a secondary career field certification. Workforce members are encouraged to pursue this kind of certification. The secondary career field should build upon competencies in the primary career field and relate to the individual’s acquisition assignment. Individuals should meet primary certification requirements prior to pursuing a secondary career field. Unlike primary career field certification, there is no time limit placed on secondary career field certification.

Acquisition career field certification is reciprocal among all Department of Defense components. This means that the Defense Health Agency (DHA) certifications are recognized by other Defense Components.

Certification Levels
Acquisition positions are assigned to certification levels, depending on the segment of the acquisition workforce and are tied to grades as shown in the table below.

Acquisition Certification Levels Based on Grade

Grade/Pay Band or Rank AT&L Position Certification Level (all but SPRDE-PSE)
Active Component 0-5 and above,
Civilian ES, ST, SL
Level III
Active Component 0-4; all Reserve
Component Officers
Level II
Active Component 0-1 through 0-3
Level I
Active Component Enlisted E-4 and above if in Contracting, E-6 and above in other than Contracting Level I or II
GS-13 and above NSPS:YA-3, YC-3, YD-3, YF-3, YE-4. DoD Acq Demo: NH-4 Level III
GS-9 through 12 NSPS: YA-2, YB-3, YC-2, YD-2, YF-3, YE-4 DoD Acq Demo: NH-4 Level II
GS-5 through 7 NSPS: YA-1, YB-1&2, YC-1, YD-1, YF-1, YE-2 (all levels) DoD Acq Demo: NH-2, NJ-2/3 Level I

CAPs and KLPs require Level III certification

Career Field Curriculum
The ACM, with input from functional advisors and the concurrence of the Component Acquisition Executive (CAE) may authorize mandatory training and experience requirements for certification in addition to those established by the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA).

The certification requirements are designed to build on each other, with each succeeding level more complex than the previous. Therefore, all workforce members must first meet the lower level career field certification requirements of their position before being certified to the next higher level of certification in their career field. To be certified to a level in a career field, a workforce member must meet all of the mandatory education, training, and experience requirements established for that level and apply for certification.

Application Process for Certification
A member of the acquisition workforce who believes that they meet the certification requirements shall request certification through the Acquisition Training Application System (ACQTAS) at

Changes to Certification Requirements
Changes in the Defense Health Agency's (DHA’s) program may be required due to changes in the acquisition environment. Members of the acquisition workforce may also see a need for changes. However, certification requirements may only be changed by DAU. Requests for changes to certification requirements must be addressed to the ACM, through the functional advisors for the appropriate career field for their review and concurrence. The request must be in writing and explain the reasons for the desired changes. The ACM will forward the request to the DAU for approval, with a recommendation for disposition.

Even when there are changes in certification requirements, once acquisition workforce members are certified, they remain certified provided they complete continuous learning requirements. Acquisition workforce members are required to complete any new certification requirements of their career field as Continuous Learning.

In the event acquisition employees permit their certification to lapse by failure to meet the continuous learning requirements, they will be required to meet any new certification requirements in effect when they apply for re-certification.

If acquisition employees begin taking training courses leading to certification in their career field and the curriculum is changed, they are bound by the curriculum in effect when they began taking training for that particular level only. For example, if an employee begins taking mandatory training courses for their Level II certification in contracting in June 2009, and the curriculum is changed by addition of new courses in October 2009, before the acquisition employee has obtained their Level II certification, the employee is bound by the curriculum in effect in June 2009, when they began the training for their Level II. However, they are required to complete any new certification requirements of their career field as part of their continuous learning. Prospectively, they will be bound by the curriculum in effect when they subsequently begin training for Level III, for instance, the October 2009 curriculum for Level III, not by the curriculum in effect in June 2009, when they began training for Level II.

Note: If DAU changes the certification requirements, acquisition workforce members must apply for certification before the effective date of the new curriculum.

Some acquisition career fields have an education component as part of the requirements for certification. Specific career field education information/requirements can be found at In general, coursework to meet education requirements must be documented on a transcript from an accredited institution of higher education. A transcript review is required to validate degree and semester credit hours.

The education requirement can be met by completing coursework or degree programs from an accredited institution of higher education, applying American Council on Education recommended credits when documented on the student’s official college or university transcript, and/or by substituting passing scores on Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support examinations for semester credit hours.

All career fields within the acquisition workforce have mandatory experience requirements. General acquisition experience includes experience in any acquisition career field. Specialized experience includes experience in specifically identified career fields. Experience can be gained in any position as long as it includes acquisition duties and responsibilities as defined in the Position Category Descriptions (PCDs). PCDs can be found on the DAU website at

Experience gained while serving in a designated acquisition position counts toward achievement of certification and statutory experience requirements. Experience requirements may also be met through comparable experience gained in acquisition functions in another Government agency or in private industry.

A NOTE ON MEETING EXPERIENCE STANDARDS: To support professional currency objectives, the acquisition experience claimed for the purpose of meeting Acquisition Technology and Logistics (AT&L) career field certification requirements should have been obtained within the past eight years of the certification request.

Alternate Experience Methods: Up to 12 months of training or education in acquisition may be counted toward the experience standards for AT&L Career Field certification, Acquisition Corps membership, or to meet the special experience requirements identified in DAWIA for certain AT&L positions, e.g., Acquisition Category (ACAT) I Program Managers (PMs), Flag, General Officer and SES, etc.

Acquisition training is sponsored by the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). DAU training is provided to support AT&L workforce members to achieve career field certification requirements of the position and to meet continuous learning requirements. DAU delivers courses through resident classroom offerings at DAU facilities or on-site at the location where the training is required and through distance learning (Web based) coursework. Whether obtaining AT&L career field certification, Acquisition Corps membership, or meeting some other training requirement associated with this program, DoD Components are responsible for assigning civilian and military employees to attend DAU courses.

Training Priority
Components should prioritize persons registering for DAU training to meet mission needs, to ensure they meet certification requirements, are qualified to perform the duties to which they are assigned, and to provide career development opportunities in the AT&L Workforce.

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that workforce members are provided the opportunity to meet the mandatory certification requirements of their acquisition positions and career fields.

Certification is obtained by meeting the training, experience, and education requirements, if any, established for each acquisition workforce segment. In some cases, the training requirements can be met through fulfillment based on experience or education, or equivalency, if the individual has taken courses from alternate providers.

Training Requirements
DOD publishes the certification standards annually in the DAU Catalog, available at The standards identify education, training, and experience requirements for the certification levels. The training requirements may be met in the following ways:

  • Completing the course through the DAU.
  • Completing a DAU approved equivalent course.
  • Fulfilling a DAU course.

DAU provides Defense Acquisition workforce members the opportunity to complete course prerequisite and program (acquisition career field certification) core and functional training requirements by exercising the Fulfillment Program. This program permits the assessment of a workforce member's demonstrated competencies (capabilities acquired through previous training, education, and/or experience) against the learning outcomes/objectives of select DAU courses. Per the DoD AT&L Workforce Career Management Desk Guide DoD agencies and components may approve a fulfillment request of a workforce member thereby certifying that the workforce member possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities that would otherwise have been gained by attending the DAU course.

The authority to approve a Defense acquisition workforce member's fulfillment request has been delegated to the DoD agencies and components. DHA AT&L workforce members desiring to pursue this alternative method of completing acquisition career field training or DAU course prerequisite requirements must consult with the ACM for process and approval authority guidance.

  • Complete DD 2518 and submit to ACM.
  • The approved DD form 2518 along with the supporting documentation must be maintained by the approving agency/component for as long as the workforce member remains in the agency/components Defense Acquisition workforce and twelve months (12) thereafter.
  • It is the approving agency/components responsibility to ensure approved fulfillments are documented in their employee’s official records to include the Army Training Requirements Resource System (ATRRS).
  • Beginning 1 April 2008, approved fulfillments as well as equivalencies documented in the ATRRS will be reflected on student official DAU transcript records available through Student Services at DAU.

Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Course Registration
Registration for DAU courses is accomplished through the Acquisition Training Application System (ACQTAS) found at DAU funds training, assists with temporary duty (TDY) orders, places individuals in a wait or reservation status or may disapprove an application. Any questions about the status of an application should be addressed to the appropriate DHA training coordinator.

Upon arrival to the ACQTAS web site, the enrollee will be prompted to choose a DoD component. Select “Defense Health Agency (DHA)” and complete entry by entering SSN and DOB. Employees should know in advance which class and section they want to attend, e.g., ACQ 101.

The program may prompt an employee to update or create the student profile. Fill out the application completely. Note all other options available on the menu, including canceling a class.

The application will go to the employee’s supervisor, who must approve/disapprove. As a courtesy, employees should alert their supervisor to this pending message.

Contact the DHA training coordinator if there are any questions about the status of an application, TDY orders, cancellations, etc. DAU does not have visibility of an application until the employee registers.

For classroom-style offerings (not web enabled): After the employee has a seat reserved for a course, 60 days before the start of the class the employee will receive an email explaining where and when to report for the class, lodging contacts, local Point of Contact (POC) and much more. SAVE THIS MESSAGE for future reference. Some courses have pre-course assignments or reading material. Employees should pay close attention to various messages received about any pre-course work.

The application and approval process may take several days. An employee can determine the status of an application by returning to the application program.

If an employee is not able to attend the class, the employee must officially cancel the reservation through the ACQTAS site used to apply for the course. DAU does not have user rights to cancel a seat in a class. If the class is not properly canceled, the employee status will be "No Show" when the class starts, which could prohibit the employee from applying for additional courses for 6 or more months.

Registration Time Limits
The ACQTAS system is designed in such a way that all student reservations must be entered in ACQTAS 75 calendar days prior to the class report date. If reservations are not placed against allocated quotas 75 calendar days prior to the class start date, unused quotas automatically become available for use by any ACQTAS user assigned to a DoD Component. At 65 days prior to the class date, any unfilled quotas become available to any employee of the Military Departments, non-DoD agencies, and the private sector.

Registration for DAU equivalency examinations can be accomplished through ACQTAS. The DAU will distribute course materials, grade and examinations, and enter “pass” or “fail” into ATRRS. Currently, PMT 250 is the only DAU course that offers an equivalency examination.