close

GSA Blog

GSA Blog Logo
FAST Training blog image

The Federal Acquisition Service training series you’ll want to attend

| Bill Toth, CASE
Post filed in: Acquisition

GSA’s annual, virtual series delivers training designed to meet the professional development needs of acquisition workforce professionals and offers Continuous Learning Points that such professionals seek to maintain their certification.

Did you know that the U.S. government is the largest customer in the world? It buys between $350-500 billion worth of goods and services annually from sellers within the federal marketplace.

But did you also know that the people buying these goods and services on the public’s behalf are trained shoppers? These trained shoppers are known as contracting officers, and they can use GSA for their ongoing professional growth and certification requirements.

Expertly crafting Acquisition Workforce (AWF) professionals

If you meet the education criteria — a four-year bachelor’s degree and 24 semester hours in related fields — you may be eligible for contracting officer positions. However, if you lack experience but are avidly interested, you still may get on the path to a contract specialist career. 

Shadowing and supporting contracting officers is a good start to learn about federal acquisition, exposing you to the acquisition lifecycle: market research, source selection, cost-and-price analysis, and negotiation. If you choose the path of a contracting officer, you will get an authority, also known as a “warrant,” specific to your agency that enables you to negotiate on behalf of the federal government within pre-approved ranges. 

The Federal Acquisition Institute, or FAI, was established in 1976 to smartly develop a federal acquisition workforce. Many contracting officers also earn a professional certification from the Federal Acquisition Institute, such as their Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C), FAC for Contracting Officer’s Representatives (FAC-COR), or FAC for Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM). 

Each certification may require that you meet levels of achievement and work experience, an exam, knowledge of core competencies and policies, and Continuous Learning Points earned regularly. 

Our model acquisition workforce professional, Anjanette Alvarado

Anjanette is a proud program analyst. She prevailed after an extensive process to earn her FAC-COR level II and FAC-P/PM level II certifications. Her preparation required: 

  • College and other relevant educational transcripts, and lining up courses and their descriptions to show she fulfilled certification requirements.
  • Meeting a training coordinator to walk through the paperwork.
  • Supervisor recommendation, and multiple levels of supervisor approval.
  • Training justification sign-off.

Today, Anjanette ensures Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) industry partners are compliant with contractual reporting requirements under the different GWAC contracts. This includes the reporting of task orders, modifications, and invoice data in the government designated system, and paying the contract access fees. 

Maintaining the certifications is her priority. Her FAC-COR requires 40 CLPs every two years within a timeframe, and her FAC-P/PM requires 80 CLPs every two years in that same period (May 1 through April 30 every two years). Trained shoppers like Anjanette earn their CLPs through training, coaching, higher education courses, leadership roles, or publications.

The Federal Acquisition Service Training advantage

Contracting officers who think critically, problem solve, and make smart decisions quickly require more than classwork and certifications. Networking with other AWF professionals, being exposed to best practices, and staying current on new policies, processes, and industry offerings is essential.

Our Federal Acquisition Service Training, also called FAST, is an annual, free, multi-day training series answering that need.

FAST is our virtual, marquee event that nurtures AWF professionals and enhances their careers. It provides up to three CLPs per session toward the FAC-C’s 80-100 hour requirement every two years. FAST affords up to 15 CLPs to participants attending our two monthly sessions and our three-day annual event. 

With the next CLP deadline approaching — April 30 — AWF professionals that may be working to meet their mandatory requirement have a timely opportunity to get additional CLPs they need.

Our category and acquisition professionals, with our agency and industry partners deliver a curated mix of discussions for thousands of government contracting professionals, government program managers, and industry partners.

FAST convenes experts, tools, and resources to provide high-quality solutions to today’s acquisition challenges and needs. This year, our FAST sessions are from 1-4:30 p.m. Eastern time, covering:

Register now, and share this opportunity with others who support government contract formation and administration. Also, visit our events calendar for additional training opportunities we’ll update throughout the year.