The only testing companies that can offer the in-person DOT NRCME national exam are PSI and Prometric (Comira, still listed on the FMCSA website, was acquired by PSI in 2016). While both testing companies offer the same $79 exam, (read: About the NRCME Exam), there is a big difference between the two. To better understand what that difference is, one must start at the beginning of the certification process.
Once a provider completes an accredited training program, such as ours, they are automatically issued a personalized and dated Certificate of Completion. Using that certificate, providers will then apply for their free account with the DOT/FMCSA, who will, among other things, require you to submit the date you received your Certificate of Completion. Upon completing the application, the DOT will issue the provider a 10-digit national registry number and then verify the provider’s credentials, which can take one to three weeks. Once they have verified the provider, they will add the provider’s name and national registry number to a database that the testing companies tap into when a provider attempts to schedule the exam. Presently, the DOT will not notify providers when they have been verified, providers will only know they have been verified when they can schedule the exam. The big difference between the two testing companies is that PSI will only allow a provider to sit for the national exam with a Certificate of Completion that is less than a year old, while Prometric will allow a certificate to be less than three years old. The testing companies know the date of your certificate from your DOT application. Providers who want to sit for the exam with a certificate that is more than three years old must contact the DOT/FMCSA directly for assistance. Once a provider passes the national exam then their ten-year certification period begins, with a required refresher training in year five, which to date is still not available.