Do's and Don'ts in Pursuit of your AEM®/CEM® Portfolio Submission

Back to CEM Corner

By Brian V. Bovyn, CEM, Emergency Services Supervisor, Manchester, New Hampshire Police Department

Preparing one’s AEM or CEM application packet can be a labor-intensive, detailed process, to say the least. Those candidates who have taken the opportunity to review the CEM Corner articles should fare well in their AEM or CEM pursuit. This article discusses a common list of do’s and don’ts in the AEM and CEM portfolio process. The list is not all-inclusive, though it is a list of common errors in assembling AEM/CEM portfolios.

Pay Attention to the “Do’s”

  • Do organize your work carefully in a three-ring binder notebook, properly tabbed out by requirement areas (such as work history, references, education, general management training).
  • Do include a couple extra professional contributions and additional training hours if you can. This is not a requirement; however, if commissioners rule some contributions or training ineligible, the candidate may still meet the requirements.
  • Do type all materials except the required signatures.
  • Do provide official job descriptions. Where official job descriptions do not exist, the candidate may create a job description. However, the work must be validated by a supervisory letter or signature.
  • Do list reference contact numbers, including cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and brief your references that he or she may receive a call from CEM Commissioners.
  • Do have adequate supervisory signatures (where appropriate) for professional contributions; attesting that the work completed was not part of the candidate’s normal responsibilities.
  • Do consider using the FEMA Independent Study courses to meet general management and emergency management training hour requirements (these courses are free and well established for commission acceptability).
  • Do be prepared to explain or describe how your job includes all five phases of emergency management (mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery). Explain percentages of time, and the sum of all the parts must equate to three years of full-time comprehensive emergency management activity.
  • Do be prepared to explain each of the phases of emergency management and all the KSAs in the comprehensive essay on emergency management.
  • Do consider utilizing a current CEM practitioner as a mentor for your AEM/CEM portfolio.

Avoid the “Don’ts”

  • Do not count technician level or focused work such as Hazmat, EMT, police officer, fire fighter or search-and-rescue. This experience is rarely involved in all phases of comprehensive emergency management.
  • Do not forget to sign and date your essay, along with the statement affirming that the work is your original work.
  • Do not submit college or university education credit from a non-U.S. Department of Education affiliated accrediting body (the six regional associations or its foreign accrediting body affiliates).
  • Do not “double dip” or try to count training in education. If you are using the credit in one area, you may not use it again in another.
  • Do not forget to include proof of compliance, such as certificates and/or course syllabi and registrations for training courses. or letters and other appropriate supporting documentation for professional contributions.
  • Do not forget to check the AEM consideration box on the application if you’re willing to be considered for Associate Emergency Manager (if the packet does not demonstrate CEM acceptability).
  • Do not forget to recertify in five years if you attain your CEM credential.
  • Do not forget to take the written examination or turn in the portfolio application within a year.
  • Do not forget that under “professional contributions,” the candidate must submit six different categories of contributions, not just six contributions.
  • Do not forget about the written examination study guide. The study guide lists all of the FEMA Independent Study Courses from which the database of potential questions is drawn.

In conclusion, remember to carefully read each of the requirements or rationale for each portion of the AEM and CEM application requirements.

IAEM Bulletin, July 2009

AEM® and CEM® are registered trademarks of the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Back to CEM Corner