AEM/CEM Application Resubmissions (Professional Contributions, Part 2)

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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 in Part 1 on the professional contributions requirements and the general errors that Commissioners encounter while reviewing certification applications.


This month I will continue the resubmissions discussion, focusing on the first five of the 15 professional contributions. 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 expecting multiple credits, and exceeding specified time limits.


(A) Membership

The requirement is for the candidate to be an actual “member for three years in a disaster/EM-related organization.” The Commissioners verify the organization is directly related to disaster/emergency management by its title or by its stated mission. The organization must support “one or more phases of emergency management and be consistent with the protection of life and property from disaster.” Most

candidates who must resubmit additional documentation occurs when the organization they are claiming was not disaster/EM-related or they did not provide adequate documentation validating three different years of active membership.


Some candidates have tried to claim their workplace as a membership organization. Commissioners routinely have denied this claim because the workplace is considered a routine job and not a “professional contribution.” Commissioners are looking for more than simply showing up to work to earn a pay check. Belonging to a professional disaster/EM-related organization outside of your job is considered a professional contribution.


(B) Professional Conference

The requirement is for the candidate to demonstrate “participation in a disaster/EM-related workshop or conference for at least a cumulative total of 40 contact hours.” It doesn’t matter to the Commissioners who is hosting or conducting the workshop or conference.


The topics and contact hours do matter. Commissioners first verify actual attendance (from copies of certificate of attendance, conference badge, etc.) and then the contact hours. Resubmissions occur because candidates only submit a conference agenda rather than adequate documentation validating their actual attendance and/or because they count more than six contact hours per conference day when the contact hours are not provided on the attendance certificate or other documentation, resulting in less than 40 contact hours of actual attendance.


Note that it is possible to receive more than six hours per day provided the conference agenda shows more  than six hours per day of disaster/EM-related topics. Registration times, lunches without a speaker,  regional/group meetings, golf tournaments, and breaks of 15 minutes or more are not credited for conference hours.


(C) Service Role

The requirement is for the candidate to “serve on a board of directors, committee, task force or special project for a professional or jurisdictional organization contributing to or supporting comprehensive emergency management.” Most candidates do not have to resubmit additional documentation for this contribution. When they do, it is usually due to a lack of documentation that validates actual service rather than simply submitting an appointment letter. An appointment letter does not indicate the candidate actually served yet. Commissioners want documentation that validates actual service. Another problem area is when candidates submit documentation where they served on a board of directors or as trustees of a volunteer fire department, rescue squad, auxiliary police department, etc. The Commissioners view that service as “not necessarily meeting the intent of Service Role without substantial documentation.” That means Commissioners want to see documentation where the service actually contributed to or supported comprehensive emergency management and not simply emergency response oversight. Copies of meeting minutes showing how the organization and the candidate’s service contributed to or supported comprehensive emergency management would suffice.


(D) Leadership Role

The requirement is for the candidate to “voluntarily serve on a board of directors, a board committee, a task force, or a special project for a professional, emergency management or a jurisdictional organization contributing to or supporting disaster/emergency management (must not be part of the applicant’s required job duties).”


This looks very similar to the Service requirement above, but it is different in two areas. First, Commissioners are looking for leadership positions – president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, committee chair, etc.  Second, Commissioners want documentation validating that this leadership position was not a routine part of the candidate’s job. A letter stating so from the candidate’s supervisor is mandatory.


Resubmissions occur when the required documentation is missing and when the contribution is Service and not Leadership. Make sure your documentation validates a leadership position or submit your contribution under Service instead.


(E) Special Assignment

The requirement is for the candidate to demonstrate “involvement in a special assignment for a committee, task force, or work group addressing a substantive disaster/emergency management issue. The resulting product or decisions must make a significant contribution to or impact on the disaster and comprehensive emergency management profession. This may include the development of an official Student Chapter of IAEM.”


Here the Commissioners look specifically for documentation validating that the assignment actually addressed a substantive disaster/EM issue and that the results were significant and/or impactful to the  disaster and comprehensive emergency management profession rather than to a specific organization. If your contribution does not meet these two requirements, consider submitting it under the (O) Other category instead.


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 that the documentation is readable. If we cannot read it, it will not count! It is your responsibility to ensure the resubmission is correct and complete and submitted on time (within 90 days of the date of the resubmission letter).


Next Month

Next month, I will continue our discussion on the professional contributions requirements by describing errors that the Commissioners encounter under the second five categories. 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, August 2018

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