Significant Certification Program Changes Since 2011

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

This article discusses the significant changes the USA Board has made to the certification program since 2011. We covered individual changes in previous CEM Corner articles, but this article briefly discusses them all in one place for ease of reference.

IAEM staff posts approved changes on the IAEM website as they occur and incorporates these changes into the revised application booklet available online for free download. Candidates should review the certification section of the website prior to submitting an application packet to ensure that their application is the current version and that it fulfills all current requirements. Doing so improves the odds of becoming certified with the initial submission.

Overview of Program Changes

  • Official Letterheads. The IAEM-USA Board decided that applicants must submit various supporting documents on official letterhead stationery.
    • The first requirement is the reference letters. Candidates must submit three reference letters on official stationery with appropriate contact information. One of the references must be the candidate’s current supervisor.
    • The second requirement is in the exercise/experience section. Candidates must submit supporting letters on official letterhead stationery. Recall that the requirement here is for a significant role during an actual disaster or full-scale exercise.
    • The third requirement is in the contributions section. Various contributions require supporting documentation. Those documents must also be on official letterhead stationery. The IAEM-USA Board requires letterhead stationery because it ensures that the references are aware the Commissioners may be calling them for additional details regarding a particular section of a candidate’s application packet. Too many times, Commissioners have discovered that a reference is unfamiliar with a candidate’s work and cannot or will not verify the claims. This wastes everyone’s time and is unprofessional. Requiring official letterhead stationery is the IAEM-USA Board’s way of fixing this issue.
  • Contributions. There were two significant changes made to the Contributions to the Profession section.
    • The first change was to eliminate the job duties restriction. Previously, emergency management practitioners were unable to validate many of their professional contributions, because the contributions were deemed to be part of their normal or routine job duties.
    • All candidates may now submit contributions that may be deemed part of their normal or routine job duties, earning credit in all categories except Service and Leadership roles. Those two contributions retain the job duties restriction.
  • Research. Another significant change was the addition of a new contribution called Research. Previously, research projects were considered under the category of Other.
    • Now emergency management students and other candidates may submit their emergency management-related research project under its own category following the specific requirements stated therein. This addition brings the contributions list to 15 separate categories.
    • Candidates still must submit contributions from at least six different categories to fulfill certification and recertification requirements.
  • Essay. Two significant changes occurred in the essay requirement.
    • The first is a change to the essay scenario. Now candidates must describe how they would design and implement a disaster/emergency management program for an organization of their choosing.
    • The second change is in the knowledge, skills and abilities area. The number of categories was reduced, and the grade points associated with them changed. Now candidates have nine instead of 12 categories, and must obtain a minimum of 18 out of 24 possible points.
  • Candidate Signature Page. The current application booklet now contains a candidate signature page. IAEM is legally required to maintain candidate acknowledge-ments of various certification program requirements and the essay verification signature page. The rest of the application packet is destroyed after certification is granted.
  • Divider Tabs. To assist candidates with organizing their application packet, and to make it easier for the CEM Commissioners to review, we provide a template of application booklet divider tabs. (Note: This has since been changed as applications are now online only.)

Last Words

Before submitting your AEM/CEM credential application, review the material available in the Certification section of this website for for updated requirements and/or changes to the process. In addition, ensure that you are working with the most current version of the application booklet, as applications downloaded outside of a one-year time frame may be out-of-date.

IAEM Bulletin, October 2012

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