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How to Avoid AEM/CEM Application Resubmissions (Documentation, 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 on documentation errors. This month’s article continues the resubmissions discussion, focusing on the training requirements and the errors that Commissioners encounter while reviewing certification applications.

Training is the third biggest area often requiring a resubmission. Just as with general documentation errors, resubmissions due to training errors are due to a variety of reasons. They include misallocated training, a shortage of contact hours, more than 25 hours per topic area, and training claimed that exceeds the specified time limits.

Misallocated Training

The training requirement for initial certification is to document “100 contact hours each in Emergency Management and General Management training with no more than 25 contact hours allowed in any one topic area.” We see errors every review period where training that is clearly Emergency Management is allocated to General Management, or vice versa.

The Commission defines Emergency Management training as “any training from any source that covers one or more topics in any of the Four Phases of Emergency Management – preparedness, response, recovery,

and mitigation.” We define General Management as “any training from any source that covers one or more topics that would be beneficial to a manager in any field.” Examples are safety, security, risk management, budgeting, personal management, leadership, and communications.

The key here is “management” training and not “technical” training. Some training will cover both areas, meaning the candidate may choose to allocate the training to either Emergency Management or General Management. Our Sample Training Allocation Tables allocate many training courses commonly taken by our certification candidates, which makes it easier to allocate your training properly. Review the topic areas listed on the cover tab of the table to see how we allocated various topic areas to Emergency Management and General Management. Finally, if you are not sure, you may send a query to info@iaem.com, and we will tell you how to allocate your training.

Another common error here is in choosing topic areas. In most cases, the topic area for the training is described by the training course title. If that isn’t clear, then go by the topics covered in the course syllabus. Don’t forget to include a copy of the course syllabus if the training is not listed on the Sample Training  Allocation Tables.

Short on Contact Hours

The second error we encounter quite often is that a candidate is short of the 100 contact hours. This could be caused by misallocation, having some training denied, or simply miscounting the number of training hours for a particular class.

It isn’t the duty of the Commissioners to reallocate your training courses for you. However, we may do that, and not even tell you, if you can still meet the requirement and the individual Commissioners reviewing your application decide to do this. We may also call you, offer you the option of reallocating your training, and give you a time limit to get it completed.

Many training courses are longer than 25 contact hours and/or cover multiple topic areas. Unless you provide a copy of the course syllabus, with the various topics broken out by the number of training hours each, you will be limited to receiving credit for a maximum of 25 contact hours. It is up to you to provide adequate documentation to verify your claims. In addition, some candidates complete a variety of training courses covering the same type of material, such as planning.

Although all the planning courses combined total more than 25 contact hours, you are still limited to a maximum of 25 hours per topic area.

Another reason for errors here is claiming more hours than the certificate specifies. The Commissioners credit the number of hours specified on the training completion certificate up to the 25 hour per topic area limitation. When the certificate does not specify the total number of hours, Commissioners will review the course syllabus or other documentation provided to validate contact hours. Then Commissioners will refer to the Sample Training Allocation Table to see if the course is listed there. As a last resort, Commissioners will credit six hours per full day of training and not the eight hours many candidates expect to receive. Follow this same procedure when deciding how many contact hours to claim for your training course.

For recertifications, the training requirements vary depending on the number of recertifications already completed. The first recertification requirement is 50 hours EM, 50 hours GM, and 50 additional hours in either EM or GM. Each subsequent recertification reduces the training requirements while increasing the number of professional contributions required.

Training Exceeds Time Limits

Initial certification requires the training to be completed within 10 years of your application’s submission. Training older than 10 years is not allowed. We do accept a college degree that is older than 10 years for the education requirement, but you may not use college courses older than 10 years to count towards the training requirement.

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 training certificates.

Final Words

Do a final review of your resubmission and all of its associated documentation. Ensure 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. It is your responsibility to ensure the resubmission is correct, complete, and submitted on time (within 90 days of the date of the resubmission letter).

Next Month

Next month I will discuss the professional contributions requirements and associated documentation errors that result in resubmission letters to candidates. 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.

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