The Training Allocation Chart Spreadsheet

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The Training Allocation Chart Spreadsheet

By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, Lead Trainer for the CEM® Commission

Last month I said that the CEM Corner topics for the remainder of the year would cover the additional certification exam topics. However, I have received a number of questions from folks that would be of interest to a wider audience. Therefore, this month we will be discussing a training resource used by both the Certification Commissioners and certification candidates.

Training Requirements


Before we discuss the Training Allocation Chart Spreadsheet, I want to mention three training requirements for certification. Initial certification requires documented proof of 100 contact hours of emergency management training and 100 contact hours of general management training. The training contact hours awarded cannot exceed 25 hours in any one topic area. That means a candidate will need to document at least four different training courses, with different topic areas, in both emergency management and general management.


Recertification has similar training requirements. The difference is in the total number of training hours required. Each new recertification requires a lesser amount of training contact hours to qualify.


Certification Commissioners earlier had to rely upon course catalogs provided by various training providers to assist with the reviews. As training courses were accepted that could be as old as 10 years, this meant we had to maintain up to 10 years’ worth of these catalogs! Keeping a copy of the many training course catalogs for 10 years, and transporting them to Commission meetings, became an expensive and difficult undertaking.


Rather than making on-the-fly decisions as to the number of contact hours to award, the topic area to credit, and the category of emergency management or general management to assign for each training course each and every time we had to review a certification application, we needed a better tool. So, we started making a list of decisions previously made to maintain consistency and to speed up the review process. As the list grew, we decided a spreadsheet was better suited to our needs, as it would be easy to update and it had a search capability.

The Training Allocation Chart Spreadsheet: What It Is

 The Training Allocation Chart Spreadsheet (TAC) was the tool we developed. It was originally developed for Certification Commissioner use only. It contained a list of training courses that the Commissioners reviewed most often in certification applications.


We purposely limited the TAC’s scope, because to make a listing of every possible training course, by every possible training provider that we may only see claimed in an application once, would be an undertaking of huge proportions. Maintaining that list would be even more prohibitive, as were all those training catalogs we previously relied upon. Thus, the limitation on the courses listed. Courses not on the TAC would have to be evaluated individually when they came up for review.


For the Certification Commissioners’ use, the TAC contained the name of the course provider, the course number, the course title, the number of contact hours, and the category of emergency management (E), general management (G), or either one as selected by the applicant (E/G). The Certification Commissioners had to, and still does, vote to accept any additions or adjustments to the TAC. The tool helped us so much that the IAEM-USA Board decided to make it available to everyone to use when preparing their certification application. This decision tended to reduce the number of resubmissions required for training.

How Training Courses Are Added to the TAC

Training courses are usually added by the Certification Commissioners themselves. After reviewing a certification application, a Commissioner may recommend adding a new course he or she encountered during the review. A determination will be made as to the number of contact hours to award and which category to assign (E, G, or E/G) to the course. If the course has multiple topic areas, the Commissioners will decide how many contact hours to award to which topic areas.


Afterwards, the Commissioners will vote on the changes. Then the TAC is updated as approved and posted online for easy access and download by everyone who desires a copy.


The other way courses may be added is for an individual or a training provider to submit to the Certification Commission (at info@iaem.com) a course(s) syllabus and other documents that describe the course(s) title, course number (if it has one) and content, the topics covered in the course(s), the number of contact hours for each topic, and any other pertinent information for the Commissioners to review.


The Certification Commission Lead Trainer or a current Certification Commissioner then will review the documents and make a recommendation to the full Commission. The full Commission will discuss the recommendations and then vote whether to accept them or not. Those recommendations that are accepted will be added to the TAC, with a new date, and posted online to replace the previous version.

Benefits of Using the TAC


The TAC provides many benefits for certification candidates.


  • First, for courses listed on the TAC, it helps to categorize them the correct way.
  • Second, it provides the accepted number of contact hours when the completion certificate fails to list them.
  • Third, and most beneficial, candidates do not have to provide a course description, syllabus and other documents since the Commissioners already have reviewed the specific course. That speeds up the process.

For Certification Commissioners, the benefits are just as valuable. For the courses listed on the TAC, the Commissioners do not have to make individual determinations since they have already been made. This speeds up the review process and helps keep reviews consistent. In addition, when the course completion certificate does not contain contact hours, the TAC provides those that the Commissioners previously accepted for that course and course provider.

Final Words


Just because a training course was not reviewed and placed on the TAC does not mean it will not be accepted by the Commissioners. Many training courses are accepted that do not appear on the TAC. For a training course to be accepted, you must follow the requirements and submit the appropriate documents. You must provide a course description, a course syllabus or training schedule, and the course completion certificate. The Commissioners will then review the documents and make a determination on the claims made.


Don’t despair if your training course does not show up on the TAC. It will most likely be accepted provided you submit the required documentation. It may even be included on the next TAC update. So, download and use the TAC when preparing your certification or recertification application. The Certification Commissioners do.

In the Next IAEM Bulletin


Next month we will continue our discussion on social media use in emergency management. We also will analyze some practice exam questions. 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 2019

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