Sample Certificate Exam Questions – AEM/CEM Self-Assessment Job Aid

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

The CEM Commission is proud to announce the implementation of the “Readiness for AEM/CEM Self-Assessment,” a job aid for gauging readiness for potential Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) and Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) candidates.

Approval by CEM® Commission

Dean Larson, Ph.D., CEM, CEM Commissioner, has created a job aid that literally walks a candidate through the process of self-assessing his/her readiness to meet the comprehensive emergency management experience requirement component of the AEM/CEM packet. The CEM Commission has approved the job aid for use by all potential AEM/CEM candidates. The job aid tool is available for download here.

Looking at Experience First

The tool begins by asking if a candidate possesses the requisite three years (or more) of comprehensive full-time emergency management experience. Comprehensive means that the candidate must have participated in all four phases of emergency management – mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery – for the equivalency of three full-time years.

The experience may be paid, volunteer or a combination, and full-time or a compilation of part-time experience, in which the sum of all the parts equates to three years of full-time comprehensive (all four phases) emergency management. Volunteer work and part-time work should be explained in percentages by the candidate, showing a direct correlation to the overarching three-year full-time equivalency. Ideally, the candidate will have the supervisor’s signature validating the percentage of time so that the CEM Commissioners reviewing the portfolio will be able to identify easily that the candidate has met the experience requirement.

Assessing Point Values to a Variety of Elements

This self-assessment tool is designed for those candidates who are able to answer that they possess the requisite comprehensive emergency management experience. The tool is similar to a matrix or flow sheet in which a variety of elements are cited, each requiring a scoring rating of 1-3 points.

A score of 1 means “have not started working toward achieving competence.” A score of 2 means “working toward competence,” and a score of 3 means “competent.” Competence is defined as “demonstrated capacity to apply knowledge, skills and abilities in more than one typical work environment, with desired, measureable impact.” (IAEM, 2010)

Each of the elements has an explanatory rationale accompanying it, and the candidate assigns a rating point value for the activity and the number of years performing the activity. The elements include: mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, comprehensive, progressive, risk-driven, integrated, collaborative, coordinated, flexible and professional.

The candidate figures element subtotals and adds all elements’ sub-totals to identify a total point score value. The total overall point value should be 26 or higher for the candidate to apply for his or her AEM/CEM.

The Readiness for AEM/CEM Self-Assessment in no way guarantees a successful AEM/CEM credential packet; however, it is an excellent tool to gauge readiness for the candidate to meet the comprehensive emergency management experience component of the candidate’s packet.

Author’s Note: The author thanks Daryl Spiewak, CEM, TEM TCFM, and Dean Larson, Ph.D., CEM, for contributing to this article.

IAEM Bulletin, October 2010

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

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