AEM/CEM Application Resubmissions (Professional Contributions, Part 1)

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By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission, and Chair, IAEM-Global Communications Work Group

Last month we continued our discussion on resubmissions with a focus on training requirements. This month I will continue the resubmissions discussion, focusing on part one of the professional contributions requirements and the general errors that Commissioners encounter while reviewing certification applications.


Professional contributions are the fourth biggest area often requiring a resubmission. Just as with general documentation errors discussed in a previous article, resubmissions due to professional contributions errors are due to a variety of reasons. They include not reading or overlooking the requirements for the specific professional contribution, making multiple submissions for a single professional contribution, and exceeding specified time limits.


Overlooking Requirements

The professional contributions requirement for initial CEM® certification is to document six different categories from a list of 15 different professional contributions. For recertification there is a sliding scale on the number of required categories for professional contributions from a minimum of three categories for the first (five-year) recertification up to six for the fourth (20-year) and subsequent recertifications. The Leadership contribution must be beyond the scope of your normal job duties. All other contributions may be part of your normal job duties. In addition, all submissions must have occurred within 10 years as of the date of application.


There are two different locations in the application packet that describe each professional contribution’s requirements. The first location is at the beginning of Professional Contributions in Section V. It consists of a summary list of the 15 professional contributions. The second location, the sub-section for each professional contribution, provides a more detailed explanation of the requirements and is the one a candidate should refer to because the summary description is not as complete. It is also the description our Commissioners use when evaluating your submissions.


Multiple Submissions

While multiple submissions for a specific professional contribution are not prohibited, many candidates will submit multiple contributions in a single category. The problem occurs when the candidate anticipates earning approval for multiple submissions and ends up being short on the required number of different professional contributions. The requirement is for “six different categories” of professional contributions and not “six different contributions.”


Candidates often submit multiple contributions in a single category in case one is not approved. Please ensure that you submit appropriate documentation for at least six different professional contributions. It is to your benefit to actually submit seven or eight different contributions to increase your chances of having six approved the first time.


Professional Contributions Exceeding Time Limits

Initial certification requires that each professional contribution be completed within 10 years of the application’s submission. Any professional contribution older than 10 years is not allowed. For recertifications the time limit is five years. The time limit starts on the day of the last successful certification, and the Commissioners verify this date before reviewing the professional contribution’s documentation.


Final Words

Understanding and following the detailed requirements for each specific professional contribution category and providing adequate documentation that validates your claims will go a long way toward preventing a resubmission. Should you still receive a resubmission letter from the Certification Commission, don’t despair. Read the instructions carefully, and follow them to the letter. Do a final review of your resubmission and all its associated documentation, ensuring that you provided everything your resubmission letter specifies. The Commissioners will use that letter to assess your resubmission. Not meeting the requirements therein will result in a rejection letter and the loss of your certification.


When you conduct your final review, use the same procedures the Commissioners use (as described above) so you won’t be surprised. Check to ensure that the documentation you upload is complete, accurate, and validates the claim being made. Also, ensure the documentation is readable. If we cannot read it, it will not count! It is your responsibility to ensure that the resubmission is correct and complete and submitted on time (within 90 days of the date of the resubmission letter).


Looking Forward

Next month I will continue our discussion on the professional contributions requirements by describing errors that Commissioners encounter under each individual category. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at info@iaem.com, and I will address them in future articles.

IAEM Bulletin, July 2018

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