Certification Program History & Administration

CAFM​® History

The current Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM®) program, serving as the Industry Standard for over 35 years, has its roots in the Certified Fleet Manager (CFM) program developed as a partnership between the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA), now doing business as NAFA Fleet Management Association, working through the NAFA Foundation, and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. There were 41 graduates of the Wharton CFM program, out of the 260 that had originally enrolled.

The CFM program was brought in-house by NAFA as the CAFM® program in 1989 primarily due to its prohibitive cost when offered by Wharton. Over 500 additional fleet managers have completed the CAFM® program since 1989. There are typically more than 500 currently enrolled as candidates in the CAFM® program at any given time. There are still over 300 active CFM or CAFM® of these graduates.

Successful completion of the CAFM® program requires passing all eight disciplines in NAFA’s Education Competency Model within a three-year period (candidates may receive up to two one-year extensions so long as they are actively testing). The eight disciplines are: Asset Management, Business Management, Financial Management, Fleet Information Management, Maintenance Management, Professional Development, Risk Management and Vehicle Fuel Management.

Starting in 2009, NAFA began offering fleet certification in two tiers: the higher CAFM® tier, covering all eight disciplines, and a lower Certified Automotive Fleet Specialist (CAFS®) tier. The CAFS® is a subset of the CAFM® program rather than separate from it. One, pre-approved set of four disciplines must be completed to attain the CAFS®.

NAFA implemented this two-tier approach to improve the professionalism of fleet specialists not yet at the senior management level targeted by the CAFM® program. Offering and recognizing mastery of the lower-tier of either fleet operational functions or financial management functions appeals to a broader base of fleet professionals and serves as a stepping stone to eventual attainment of full CAFM® status.

The CAFM® program has continued to evolve over the years to encompass the core competencies of fleet management for all fleet sector types. While the original CFM program heavily favored traditional corporate fleet management, the current CAFM® program is well balanced, including public safety, public works, utility and other fleet segment perspectives. The content of the CAFM® curriculum is regularly updated, having gone through fourteen revisions since its inception.

Each certification candidate is provided a full set of reference readings, a self-study guide and practice test questions as part of the enrollment price, all in easily navigable and transportable electronic format and online. The purchase of separate text books is not required. The syllabus at the end of this document provides a brief description of each discipline and subordinate core competencies.

The quality and consistency of testing have also improved markedly following consultation with a psychometrician in 2005 and regular training since of Certification Board members. Core competencies and sub-elements previously tested through a written case study requirement have been integrated into the objective discipline tests since 2006.

Objective tests for each discipline change with each of multiple testing sessions offered each year using a custom database to track question use and results. New questions are validated by program graduates and piloted on exams before use in scoring. Candidates may appeal questions for special review by the Certification Board.

In 2006, in anticipation of partnering with colleges and universities, NAFA broadened its eligibility criteria for enrolling in the CAFM® program and receiving the certification. Students may now enroll and will receive the certification once they have completed one year service as a broadly defined fleet professional. This change in eligibility also allowed all fleet professionals, including those providing products or services to fleet managers, to enroll.

NAFA continues to improve and expand our certification programs.