Certified Emergency Manager

Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), in cooperation with the Wisconsin Emergency Management Association (WEMA), administers the Wisconsin Certified Emergency Manager (WCEM) program. This program recognizes the individual efforts of dedicated Wisconsin responders, emergency managers and interested persons – both professional and volunteer – as they expand their knowledge and experience to ready themselves to respond to any type of emergency or disaster affecting their municipality, state, tribe or nation. The WCEM program fosters a continued culture of excellence among Wisconsin’s emergency management professionals.

The program is divided into three ranks, Basic, Professional, and Advanced Professional. Each level corresponds to an increasing level of complexity and commitment. The WCEM program is open to anyone and is not based on profession or educational degree. Aside from the listed prerequisites found in the guiding documents on this page, the only requirement is any interested candidate participates in a position related to emergency management. This includes the five national frameworks/mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery.

Candidates who successfully complete any WCEM level will receive a certificate signed by the Governor of the State of Wisconsin, the WEM Administrator and the President of WEMA. This certificate is presented at the annual Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Certified Emergency Manager Class of 2023

WCEM – Basic

The Basic level is the introductory level. Prerequisites are based entirely upon completing a set course of training, the majority of which are FEMA Independent Study courses that can be completed at the candidate’s own pace. A handful of the prerequisite courses are in-person classes that WEM typically holds once or twice per year. These classes can be completed in any order (though each may have their own prerequisites that a potential student must complete prior to attendance), but a candidate must attend and complete each course (including any testing requirements) to receive credit. All such classes are free to attend, but the candidate (or their agency) is responsible for transportation, lodging and meal costs. Finally, a WCEM – Basic candidate must pass a written knowledge test of State Statute 323 to complete requirements for this level. A new candidate can reasonably expect to complete the WCEM – Basic level in one to three years.

WCEM – Professional

The Professional level represents the next stage of expertise. Like the WCEM – Basic level, the prerequisites are based on a mix of FEMA Independent Study classes and in-person training classes, though leaning more heavily upon the in-person training. Additionally, professional-level candidates are expected to seek out an experienced mentor, who will aid them in understanding the wide base of knowledge a WCEM – Professional level candidate is expected to have awareness of. After completing all of the prerequisite training, candidates must pass a knowledge test covering multiple state statues, administrative rules and emergency management-related policies. A study guide is available to assist candidates in preparing for this test. A new candidate can reasonably expect to complete the WCEM – Professional level in three to five years.

WCEM – Advanced Professional

The Advanced Professional level is the ultimate level of recognition within the state and, unlike the other two levels, is meant to recognize dedicated career professionals serving in the emergency management field – those who have spent ten or more years full-time in the profession (or an equivalent number of hours in a part-time or volunteer position). While there is an expanded training prerequisite, there is no longer a directed list of classes. Instead, completion is based on total academic hours to allow for the wide variation of specialty training someone at this level will have accumulated during their career. WCEM – Advanced Professional candidates are also expected to have actively mentored less experienced emergency managers and to present a major project for review by their peers.