AEM®/CEM® Applications

This section walks you through the application process. CEM/AEM candidates may reach out to members of their council's CEM commission for help and advice on the application process. Contact information for each commissioner can be found on the IAEM website here. Once a mentoring agreement has been made, mentors should complete the Mentor Approval Request Form to get permission from the council CEM commission chair.

Levels of Certification

There are two types of certification offered: the Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) and the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM).

AEM/CEM Application and Exam Process

The AEM/CEM certification is a two-step process. Candidates must:

  1. Pass a 100-question written multiple-choice exam.
  2. Submit a credential submission for review by the CEM Commission.

Applicants may choose to first sit for the exam or have their credential submission reviewed. Once the applicant has completed the first step, applicants will have one year to complete the second step.

Setting up an AEM/CEM Exam at a Location Near You

Candidates must request the AEM/CEM exam at least 14 business days in advance. See the Study Guide for details on how to set up an exam at a location near you. No exams or exam requests will be processed between:

  • Dec. 14, 2018 and Jan. 3, 2019
  • Dec. 13, 2019 and Jan. 3, 2020

Eligible proctors would be someone in the education or registrar department at a local high school, university, community college, military installation, a State OEM Training Coordinator, a current IAEM Board Member, Certification Commissioner, or IAEM staff. The proctor will need to be someone who does not work with the candidate on a regular basis or have a personal relationship with the candidate.

If you wish to set up an official group exam offering please contact IAEM staff member Chelsea Firth at Please indicate how many can participate; the date, time and location of the event; and who will be the proctor.

CEM Degree Requirements

Below are the degree requirements from a regionally accredited institution for each IAEM Council as of Jan. 1, 2017:

  • USA Applicants: Any four-year baccalaureate degree.
  • Canada Applicants: Any three or four-year baccalaureate degree or program. Or, any post-graduate degree in emergency management or related field.
  • Oceania & Europa Applicants: A baccalaureate degree.
  • Asia, International, and Latin America & Caribbean Applicants: CEM candidates can satisfy the education requirement with:
    • Any baccalaureate degree or equivalent, OR
    • Additional experience may be substituted at two (2) years of full-time comprehensive emergency management employment per year of college/university lacking (based on 30 credits per academic year).
      For example: If a candidate has no college credits they would be required to provide:
    • the mandatory three (3) years of comprehensive emergency management work experience PLUS
    • an additional eight (8) years of comprehensive emergency management work experience for a total of 11 years comprehensive emergency management work experience.
      If a candidate has 60 college credits of what would make up a baccalaureate degree of 120 college credits they would be required to provide:
    • the mandatory three (3) years of comprehensive emergency management work experience PLUS
    • an additional four (4) years of comprehensive emergency management work experience for a total of seven (7) years comprehensive emergency management work experience.

Additional AEM/CEM Requirements

CEM Requirements
AEM Requirements      
Training Essay CEM Exam EM Experience Education Professional Contributions

Submissions must be within
the last 10 years. 200 contact
hours are required, 100 each in emergency management
and general management.
Emergency management
training is considered specific to the profession, and general management includes content
that can be applied beyond
emergency management.
Note: no more than 25% of
hours can be in any single

Candidates must
demonstrate knowledge,
skills and abilities through
this written submission, as specified in the instructions
included in the application


One letter of reference, signed and on letterhead from current supervisor.

PLUS contact information for a total of three references, with an option to upload two additional reference letters if you feel it would be helpful for your review.

Candidates must pass by 75%
a 100-question examination in order to receive the CEM/AEM designation,
and can do so at any time by arranging
a proctor with their local high school
or college or at an IAEM event. A separate brochure
describes format and test content sources. Note: the
examination includes a portion of questions that are considered to be universal,
core content for emergency
management regardless of
location. Additional content is tested depending on country in which candidate is based.

Three years by date of application. Comprehensive
experience must include participation in a full-scale exercise
or actual disaster,
and must encompass all phases of emergency management (mitigation,
preparedness/ prevention, response and recovery).
Note: a baccalaureate degree in emergency management reduces the experience
requirement depending on how current is the degree) and waives EM Training if it is earned very recently.

U.S., Canada, Europa, Oceania applicants: A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university is required.

Non-U.S. applicants (Asia, International, Latin America & Caribbean): Any baccalaureate degree or equivalent thereof, or additional experience may be substituted at two years of full time EM employment per year of college/university. (Degree requirements as of Jan. 1, 2017, are listed in section above.)

Submissions must be within the last 10 years (Note: * indicates activity must be performed beyond the scope of candidate’s job requirements). Six separate contributions are required in areas such as professional membership,
conference attendance,
service role*, leadership role*, special assignment, speaking, teaching, course development, publication, audiovisual and
interactive products, awards or special recognition, state or province certification, or
legislative contact. See the
application booklet for more
details on each area.

    Reminder: Before candidates submit their AEM/CEM credential application, it is recommended that candidates review the Resources page of the Certification site for updated requirements and/or changes to the process. Candidates should ensure they are working on the most current application and should be aware that applications downloaded outside of a one-year time frame may be out of date. Also, candidates will find helpful Application Tips in this resource guide that guides your through the process.

Additional Tips

Be sure to visit the CEM Corner and read appropriate articles. The CEM Corner is organized by topic, and the link will open up to a myriad of helpful information about different components of the AEM/CEM requirements.

More Tips for successfully completing your AEM/CEM application:

  • Follow all instructions.
  • All documentation should be single-sided.
  • Letters of reference must be signed and on letterhead.
  • Remember to click on the blue "Submit Application" button on the candidate dashboard when you are ready for it to be received by IAEM Headquarters and scheduled for review by a CEM Commissioner.

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