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Kansas Certified Emergency Manager Program 

In response to a growing movement nationwide to provide for methods of professional certification of emergency managers, KEMA developed a certification program that would increase the visibility and scope of emergency managers’ positions and the commensurate requirement to ensure that some mechanism was in place to evaluate persons who occupied these positions.

Click on one of these links for more details:

Initial Certification

Re-Certification / Lifetime 

Certification Information as of January 1, 2024


In 1989, the Kansas Emergency Preparedness Association (KEPA), board of directors determined that action at the national level (after much discussion and study by national level organizations such as NCCEM) was not going to be either timely or address the needs of county level emergency managers in Kansas.  Since certification by private associations was a long-recognized precedent (e.g. AMA, Bar Associations, etc.), the board placed the proposition of establishing a certification program on the annual conference agenda for the fall of 1989.  At that conference in McPherson, Kansas, the membership took action to establish the structure and procedures to implement certification in the state.  The conference endorsed a proposal that the KEPA president appoint a committee to devise a certification program and present an amendment to the bylaws providing for the establishment of a standing certification committee to the 1990 conference.

The proposed guidelines were provided to the general emergency management community in the April 1990 Kansas Division of Emergency Preparedness (KDEP) newsletter for questions, concerns, comments, etc.  The required notification of the proposed amendment to the KEPA bylaws was made by the chair of the committee and published in the June 1990 KDEP newsletter.

On October 4, 1990, the required bylaw changes were unanimously approved by the general membership at the 1990 KEPA Annual Conference in Salina, Kansas.  On October 6, 1990, the KEPA president appointed the members of the study committee to the standing committee on standards and practices.  On October 23, 1990, the KEPA board of directors formally adopted the initial version of the “CEM Guidelines.”   In 1992, the board approved modification of the guidelines to allow for biannual recertification and changed the requirements for training and education needed for recertification.

On January 4, 1994, the Kansas Adjutant General issued Kansas Administrative Regulation (KAR) 56-2-2 that made certification a requirement for all county coordinators.  The KAR does not designate which certification programs are recognized by the state; however, subsequent official correspondence by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) designated the KEPA/KEMA program as one of the certifications recognized as meeting the KAR requirement.

In early 1997, NCCEM registered the “CEM” designation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  In April 1997, the KEMA board of directors voted to use KCEM (Kansas Certified Emergency Manager) for their certification program.


The Lifetime KCEM information as of January 1, 2024.

The Kansas Emergency Management Association’s Standards and Practices Committee Proposed the creation of a Lifetime Kansas Certified Emergency Manager designation, which was approved by action of the KEMA Board in November 2023.

The Lifetime KCEM designation is an honor bestowed by the KEMA Board of Directors.  This designation recognizes the candidate is retired as a full time emergency management practitioner and has been, and is qualified to uphold the standards and practices of the KCEM program.

Learn more about the Lifetime KCEM here. If you have questions, contact the KCEM re-certification chair.

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