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Training and Certification


Whether you want to improve your skills, boost your resume or prepare for a new job opportunity, training and certification programs and resources can help you achieve your goals. With the right program and resource, you will be more productive and this will help you climb the career ladder.

Here is a forum to ask questions about a particular program, to exchange insight on which is the right training, to share which certifications are the best to attain, to seek out what to do first, and to offer recommendations to others.

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motorcity  
#1 Posted : Friday, August 14, 2009 11:36:59 PM(UTC)
motorcity

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I will be working as a Contract Specialist and will be attending the Federal Acquisition Institute for certification in contracting. What are the courses like? Are they similar to university-level courses or is it more of a workshop vibe? Are there projects and exams? Is there a certain grading system or method? If anyone can provide insight, it would be greatly appreciated! Basically, I want to know about the challenges that this certification will pose….is it something I need to really worry about?
1102CO  
#2 Posted : Thursday, August 20, 2009 3:57:36 AM(UTC)
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The CON courses are much more like a workshop. There are exams you need to pass, but they are all multiple choice and open book.
motorcity  
#3 Posted : Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:22:32 AM(UTC)
motorcity

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Ah, what would you say the difficulty level is? Are some online?
RetirednHappy  
#4 Posted : Thursday, August 20, 2009 11:14:00 AM(UTC)
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Re-read the last post. The exams are multiple choice AND open book. As long as you are attentive in class, actually read the assignments, maybe participate in discussions occasionally, you will do just fine. Trying to skate through without personal effort will get you in trouble.
bluedecor  
#5 Posted : Sunday, August 23, 2009 10:32:33 AM(UTC)
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quote:
Originally posted by 1102CO:
The CON courses are much more like a workshop. There are exams you need to pass, but they are all multiple choice and open book.


I just completed CON 120, and the instructor said that CON 217 has had some students fail recently. Can anyone address this issue?
bluedecor  
#6 Posted : Sunday, August 23, 2009 10:33:36 AM(UTC)
bluedecor

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quote:
Originally posted by bluedecor:
quote:
Originally posted by 1102CO:
The CON courses are much more like a workshop. There are exams you need to pass, but they are all multiple choice and open book.


I just completed CON 120, and the DAU instructor said that CON 217 has had some students fail recently. Can anyone address this issue?
1102CO  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, August 25, 2009 3:37:59 AM(UTC)
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CON 217 is an intermediate pricing course. Up until recently, it was taught on-line, which is silly for a pricing class. DAU is or has changed it back to in-class. That should help.
motorcity  
#8 Posted : Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:36:22 AM(UTC)
motorcity

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So what happens when you fail a course? Do they allow you to take it again or not? I will be in the CEP program so would anyone know how far I would need to reach before my 2-year stint is up? Would it be FAC-C Level I for the first year?
j_dude77  
#9 Posted : Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:42:06 AM(UTC)
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I just finished CON 120, and it is not too bad. You are graded on participation and class exercises that are either individual or group oriented. If you just got hired as an 1102 I recommend taking CON 100, 110, 111, and 112 (all online) asap. Then take your 120 as soon as you are able. DAU/FAI are adding a new course CON 90 which is 2 weeks and is going to be a prerequisite for CON 120. Also if you have the time take CON 214 and 216. If I remember correctly, they are going to stop offering one of those online, and make it a resident course. If you are going for FAC-C take CON 237 as an elective, as it is pretty easy, unless you attended other training that your agency says will count as an elective. Also when you take the tests online do not ***** out if you do not pass it on the first go. There are a few questions that are very misleading.
j_dude77  
#10 Posted : Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:46:16 AM(UTC)
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They will try to get you to FAC-C II when you are done. Ok the online courses are not bad. You get 3 shots to pass the tests. If you fail all 3 you can contact the instructor and they can reset the test. They will also walk you through the questions. Like I said before some of the questions are worded horribly. If you do fail it just reapply and you will be fine. Anyway in CON 120 I learned more than I did in 100, 110, 111, and 112.
hugorobinson  
#11 Posted : Thursday, September 17, 2009 3:51:47 AM(UTC)
hugorobinson

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How can I get into Federal Acquisition Institute in the DC area? I’m trying to get a job as a contract specialist, (#1102) with any agency in the DC area. I've applied to probably forty #1102 positions and no luck so far. I was trying for GS9 & 11 but my similar experience as a mortgage loan officer I guess wasn't what they wanted. So I now think a GS-7 that gives training might be the best route. I have an MBA and recently took a government contracting certificate at George Mason U in Virginia.
Any thoughts?
Thanks!
mikipedia  
#12 Posted : Friday, December 11, 2009 12:06:36 PM(UTC)
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You can't get into FAI if you aren't already a government employee. FAI is funded on a share basis by many agencies, and they offer their classes free to civilian government. If you're a DoD 1102 you go through DAU, but they're the same classes.  

Most of FAC-C is now online through the DAU online system. I hated every online class I took. Sorry to be negative. And, the only two classes anyone ever fails are CON 217, which is cost/price analysis, calculating lots of G&A and using statistics. All of the classes I'd say are lower-lever undergraduate material, but you do have to work. Not hard- but you have to pay attention. You can't just show up and pass. But I would not say they are really comparable to the work you're required to do in a college course, and you don't get a grade unless you request one so that you can transfer it into college credit. There are presentations and short papers in some of the classroom courses and tests in other classes.

FAI doesn't actually teach the classes, they contract with one of the major acquisition training contractors- Management Concepts (MCI), ESI, BMRA. I've never seen NPI do an FAI class, but I guess they could.
 
If you really want to take one of the classes, then you can go directly to the contractor and take the class. MCI charges about a $1,000 for a one week course. But, I really wouldn't. I wouldn't do that if you are just trying to get into the 1102 field. You cannot educate yourself into the 1102 field. It's absolutely impossible. You cannot perform without doing the day to day work, because all agencies structure their acquisitions a little differently and use different financial systems.
 
What you should do is get a solid education in business if you don't already have one. You need 24 hours in business, law, economics, quantitative methods, etc. to work at a 13 or above in the civilian agencies and you need that to work at any level as an 1102 in DoD, I think. I don't work for DoD.
 
Then, just keep looking for a ladder internship. An 1102 intership is perfect, but you can try to transfer into the series if your agency has a need, if you just get into the government.
 
 
jwells1999  
#13 Posted : Saturday, November 12, 2011 6:55:04 AM(UTC)
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Ok buddy, and everyone else wanting to be or is thinking about entering the government as a 1102.  As a veteran and a newly graduated MBA I had a hell of a time getting into the government as a 1102.  I literally applied at over a thousand job listings over a 6 month period on USAJOBS.  There are many reasons why you may be getting certificates but not hearing back from these agencies, way too many to go into here-most of them have nothing to do with you or your qualifications.  The best advice I can give everyone is to just stay vigilant applying for jobs and stay open to any location to get your foot in the door.  I always heard and read  from other 1102's that their agencies need people so bad-just didnt make sense-you are not alone.  One thing that I can tell you is that if you dont have any experience as a 1102 do NOT try to take con 100-111-112 etc. to try to make yourself more marketable.  Many companies will try to rip you off and tell you it does but it doesnt.  PLEASE believe me, to get your cert or your warrant, you still need 1 year of experience as a 1102 so it doesnt really matter, the government WILL train you and pay for these classes.  Ive heard stories of people spending over 10k to take them just to find out you can take them all online and then do a resident 120 and your done once your in.  All you have to do is stick with it and keep applying, you will eventually get in-it really is like hitting the lottery with the number of people that apply.  I am a 1102 with the VA and am very, very happy with my job.  I have never had a civilian job like this before where I can actually see the direct impact im making with people, I love working for the va-highly recommend it.
 
Thanks

J
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