by Sarah K. White

CMMI certifications: A complete guide

May 27, 202110 mins
CareersCertificationsIT Governance Frameworks

The CMMI institute offers certifications and training courses for individuals, appraisers, and instructors, but you'll have to start at the associate level and work your way up.

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The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) helps organizations streamline process improvement and encourage behaviors that decrease risks in software, product, and service development. The model provides businesses with a framework for developing better products and services, starting with a series of appraisals of process and service development, service establishment and management, and product and service acquisition. The CMMI was updated to V2.0 in 2018, with a greater focus on improving business performance, building agile resiliency and scale, increasing the value of benchmarking and accelerating adoption.

Professionals seeking to improve their organization’s development processes — and their careers — should consider pursuing CMMI certification. Certifications are offered directly through the CMMI Institute, which certifies individuals, appraisers, instructors, and practitioners.  

Following is a guide to all the CMMI certifications you can earn and the courses you’ll need to complete to qualify for the exams.   

CMMI Associate

The CMMI Associate Certification demonstrates your commitment to capability and performance improvement, which can help you stand out among other candidates in your field.

The certification validates that you understand and can use the CMMI model as a tool for improving performance, that you know how to connect the CMMI model to business value, and that you have the skills to participate as an Appraisal Team Member (ATM). Certification is valid for three years and you will need to retake the Associate Exam each time to recertify.

Prerequisites: Complete the Foundations of Capability training course (see below) or an upgrade training program for those who have completed the CMMI V1.3 certification and are transitioning to the CMMI V2.0 (see below).

CMMI Professional

Once you complete the CMMI Associate certification, you can move onto the CMMI Professional credential, which demonstrates your ability to apply the CMMI model in an organizational structure through road maps for performance, team coaching, organizational change management, and fostering a culture of improvement. You’ll dive deeper into the CMMI maturity levels and find ways to apply your knowledge to real-world scenarios.


  • CMMI Associate certification
  • 3+ years of experience with domain-specific work, including product development, service delivery, or acquisition of products and services; 5+ years without a higher education degree or global equivalent
  • 2+ years of experience with developing, assisting, or implementing process improvements

Certified CMMI Lead Appraiser

As a Certified CMMI Lead Appraiser, you’ll be qualified to help organizations determine their capability level or maturity level, as outlined in the CMMI model. Your application will be reviewed by the ISACA Appraiser Application Review committee, who will evaluate your experience and training in classroom presentations and management skills. You’ll need at least one year of experience presenting information in clearly and concisely, and in an engaging manner. And you’ll need an additional 10 years of experience in your “desired view of the model” and three years of experience interpreting or applying CMMI models in that work environment. Discipline areas include development, services, and supplier management.

Certified CMMI Instructor

If you want to instruct others on how to use the CMMI model, you can become a certified CMMI instructor. Once you become a Certified CMMI Professional, you can apply to be certified as an instructor. You’ll need to ensure your sponsoring organization is an ISACA Partner and is licensed for the CMMI product suite. Similar to the Lead Appraiser certification, you will need 10 or more years of experience in your chosen discipline and at least three years of experience using the CMMI models in a related work environment. After completing the training course, you’ll be observed leading a course to demonstrate your real-world abilities too teach a course on CMMI.

CMMI training courses

The CMMI Institute offers courses that will help get you ready for your certification exams. In some cases, one or two courses will be required as a prerequisite to take the exam.

Advancing Enterprise Data Management Capabilities

The second course you’ll need to pass is Advancing Enterprise Data Management Capabilities, which is a five-day course that takes place in-person at predetermined dates and locations. The course goes in-depth on the Data Management Maturity (DMM), graduated improvement path for each Process Area, how Process Areas work together in data management, and the complexities of change management.

Price: $5,000

Duration: 5 days

Advancing Organizational Capability: Achieving High Maturity

This course on achieving high maturity covers the traits of high-maturity organizations and goes in-depth on maturity levels four and five. The course covers how to leverage CMMI best practices, how to evaluate the performance of process improvement, and how to apply the CMMI model within “specific organizational contexts.” You’ll also explore statistical methods and how they can be applied to assist with high-maturity practices.

Price: $4,400

Duration: 4 days

Building Enterprise Data Management Capabilities

Building Enterprise Data Management Capabilities is a one-day e-learning course designed to help you strengthen your data management skills. The course promises to help you better understand and diagnose data management challenges, use a holistic approach to data management and apply the DMM model in real-world scenarios.

Price: $750

Duration: 1 day

CMMI Instructor Training

This instructor training course consists of lectures, exercises, candidate presentations, and assignments to complete before and during the course. You’ll learn how to teach Introduction to CMMI and to showcase your deep understanding of the CMMI model. The course qualifies you to teach one of the three introductory courses for CMMI Development, CMMI Services, or People CMM.

Fee: $10,750

Duration: 3 days

Enterprise Data Management Expert Training

To qualify for the Enterprise Data Management Expert Training course, you’ll need to meet several requirements before the CMMI Institute will accept you into the course. You will be contacted for an EDME Candidate interview by the CMMI Institute — once you’re accepted, you can take the Enterprise Data Management Expert Training course.

Price: $7,500

Duration: 5 days

Lead Appraiser Training

The Lead Appraiser Training covers the skills you’ll need to succeed on the path to becoming a Certified CMMI Lead Appraiser. The course consists of lectures, class exercises, and group discussions. It takes place in-person over five days and you’ll be graded on a pre-course assignment, class participation, a final written assignment, and an exam at the end of the course.

Price: $10,000

Duration: 5 days in-person or a 6-day virtual course

Foundations of Capability

The CMMI Institute offers a foundations level course that also includes a credit to take the associate exam to earn your certification. You’ll learn how to use the CMMI model and how to connect it back to business value. It’s also a prerequisite for anyone who plans to serve on a CMMI appraisal team or take any of the advanced CMMI training courses.

Price: Varies by location

Duration: 2 days

Introduction to the People CMM

The People CMM is aimed at human resources to help manage your workforce and to establish process improvements to streamline talent management. This course covers the basics of the People CMM, how to improve workforce management, and how to better manage technical professionals. You’ll learn how to actively recruit the right talent for your organization and how to motivate and retain your IT staff. It’s designed for team managers, process improvement managers, and human resource professionals.

Price: Varies by location

Duration: 3 days

Building Development Excellence

Designed to be taken after the Foundations of Capability course, the Building Development Excellence course will teach you how to identify information in the CMMI model that relates to best practices in engineering and development. The course focuses on using the CMMI Development 2.0 view to assess, improve, and sustain process capability and performance.

Price: Varies by location

Duration: 1 day

High Maturity Concepts

In the High Maturity Concepts course, you will learn how to explain the business value behind performance improvement and the maturity model. You’ll also learn how to spot processes that would benefit from or meet the criteria of the CMMI high maturity best practices. It’s a lecture-based class with class exercises and time for group questions and discussion.

Price: Varies based on location

Duration: 1 day

Advancing Organizational Capability: Applying CMMI

The Advancing Organizational Capability: Applying CMMI course is designed to teach you how to leverage CMMI best practices to improve processes and evaluate the performance and impact of those improvements. The course also covers how implementing infrastructure and governance practices “contribute to process persistence and sustainment.”

Price: $5,000

Duration: 5 days

CMMI v2.0 Upgrade Training for Lead Appraisers and Instructors

The CMMI went through an upgrade in 2018, moving from V1.3 to V2.0. Therefore, anyone who earned a certification as a Lead Appraiser or Instructor under the old model will need to transition to the certification for the updated CMMI V2.0 products. You will need to take the CMMI V2.0 Upgrade Training for Lead Appraisers and Instructors course to transition your certification to the new scheme.

Price: Varies by location

Duration: 5 days

CMMI v2.0 Upgrade Training

The CMMI v2.0 Upgrade Training course is for anyone who needs to transition from a CMMI V1.3 certification to the updated CMMI V2.0 version. It’s designed for those who completed the CMMI V1.3 Building-level course and for Appraisal Team Members who participated on a CMMI V1.3 appraisal and need to conduct future appraisals under the new version. The course is offered in-person or through an e-learning format.

Price: Varies by location

Duration: 1 day

Building Service Excellence

In the Building Service Excellence course, you’ll learn how to deliver and manage services using the CMMI services view to assess, improve, and sustain process capability and performance.

Price: Varies by location

Duration: 1 day

Building Supplier Management Excellence

The Building Supplier Management Excellence course is designed to teach you how to select and manage suppliers and how to use the CMMI Supplier Management view to ensure that processes are running as effectively as possible and whether or not they’re sustainable or could use more improvement.

Price: Varies by location

Duration: 1 day