Initial Certification

There are two types of initial certification offered: the Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) and the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM). The requirements are thoroughly outlined in the application.

AEM/CEM Online Application System

That the AEM, CEM and Lifetime CEM applications are available through the online system. All applications must be submitted through the online system.

Certification Fee

Candidates must submit the certification fee ($395 for IAEM Members; $595 for Non-IAEM Members) to be eligible to sit for the exam and have their online credential application reviewed by the CEM Commission.

The certification fee entitles candidates to:

  • Sit for the exam twice (if candidates do not pass the exam on the first attempt).
  • Review of their certification credential application by the CEM Commission twice. (if a candidate’s credential application is not approved the first time, candidates have 90 days from the date on their notification letter to submit supplemental information. Applications that were deemed incomplete during the first review will be reviewed a second time and will either be approved or rejected).

Candidates who do not pass the exam on the second attempt or receive notification that their credential application has been rejected must pay the certification fee again and start the process from the beginning. All certification fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Submit the certification payment now. Keep in mind that your certification application fee must be posted to your record prior to submitting your certification application. Payments made online are batched and posted on the next business day, so plan accordingly.

Access Certification Application

Access the certification online application.

Before candidates submit their AEM/CEM credential application, it is recommended that candidates review the Resources material and CEM News available on the website 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the most current application and should be aware that applications downloaded outside of a one-year time frame may be out of date."

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.

Helpful Tips

  • Letters of Reference. AEM and CEM candidates must submit one letter of reference (signed and on letterhead from a 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. For a list of qualified references, please see the online certification application for details. The letter(s) should attest to the candidate's character, and explain why he/she is deserving of the AEM/CEM designation. Many of the letters outline individual accomplishments, work ethic, leadership skills/roles job responsibilities, years of work experience, and initiatives taken in job/field. All letters should be signed and on official letterhead.
  • Course Work. The AEM/CEM applications outline that course work completed to earn the baccalaureate degree cannot also be used to meet any portion of the 100 hours of disaster/emergency management training and/or the 100 hours general management training. If additional advanced degrees are held, however, associated coursework can be applied to training.
  • It is considered double dipping to use courses from one’s baccalurate degree toward the AEM/CEM training requirement when that baccaluareate degree will also be used to fulfill the education requirement (either in an AEM/CEM application or upgrade application).

Maintaining Certification

Certification is maintained in five-year cycles. Recertification requirements can be found here.

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