ICMA / Membership / Credentialing / FAQs

Credentialing Program: FAQs

by category

Applications

Am I eligible to apply?

What are the application deadlines?

What are the steps to apply?

How long does it take to become credentialed after I apply?

How will I know where I am in the process?

Is a Credentialed Manager Candidate the same as an applicant to the program?

Assessments

Why can’t ICMA provide answers to the Applied Knowledge Assessment (AKA)?

Why do I have to do a multi-rater assessment after I’ve been in the program for five years?

Do I have to use one of the pre-approved multi-rater assessments?

Why do some multi-rater assessments cost so much?

Credentialing Policies & the Credentialing Advisory Board

Does the Credentialing Advisory Board really look at every application and every annual report?

Why do I have to fulfill a 40-hour annual professional development requirement for credentialing?

What if I wasn’t able to complete an activity that was on my original plan?

Why do I have to tell what I learned from my professional development activities?

Can special, irregular job activities count as professional development?

I am retired. Do I have to continue to fulfill the 40-hour requirement?

Administrative Details

Where do I go to find sample plans reports, recommended reading lists, and other helpful resources?

How will I remember to submit my annual report?

Cost

How much does it cost to participate in the ICMA Credentialing Program?

Why does ICMA charge a credentialing application fee?

Why do some multi-rater assessments cost so much?

What if I cannot afford to go to conferences or do not want to because I am retired?

 

 

Applications

Q: Am I eligible to apply?

A: It depends on your education and local government executive experience. See the eligibility policy, and contact credentialing@icma.org with questions.

Q: What are the application deadlines?

A: Application deadlines are January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

Q: What are the steps to apply?

A: After you verify that you are eligible, take the Applied Knowledge Assessment and receive results. Next, complete the credentialing application. That's it!

Q: How long does it take to become credentialed after I apply?

A: It takes 3.5 months from the application deadline, so the time varies for each applicant. For example, if you apply between April 2 and July 1, your application will go into the July review round and, if approved, you will receive the credential by mid-October. 

Q: How will I know where I am in the process?

A: Recommendations will be published in the ICMA e-newsletter Leadership Matters within 60 days of the application deadline. If the Credentialing Advisory Board has questions or if you are not being recommended, you will hear from them well before that time. Final approval by the Executive Board will occur approximately 3.5 months after the application deadline, after which time you will receive further information and instructions via e-mail. Also feel free to contact credentialing@icma.org at any time if you have questions.

Q: Is a Credentialed Manager Candidate the same as an applicant to the program?

A: No. A Credentialed Manager Candidate is a member who has been fully accepted into the program, but is a year or two shy of having enough executive experience to become an ICMA Credentialed Manager. Candidates complete professional development and submit annual reports just like Credentialed Managers, and they are automatically upgraded to Credentialed Manager as soon as they have enough executive experience.

 

Assessments

Q: Why can’t ICMA provide answers to the Applied Knowledge Assessment (AKA) so I’ll know exactly which questions I missed and why?

A: At this time, ICMA’s agreement with Georgia State University, our partner in developing the assessment, does not allow ICMA to reveal the answers or which questions relate to which Practices.

Q: Why do I have to do a multi-rater assessment after I’ve been in the program five years, and every five years thereafter?

A: This requirement has been in place since the Credentialing Program began in early 2002. The first assessment (the Applied Knowledge Assessment) is an assessment of knowledge. The second assessment (a multi-rater or alternative) is an assessment of practice. Also, it is helpful to reassess so that you can get an idea of how/whether things have changed since you started the program.

Q: Do I have to use one of the pre-approved multi-rater assessments?

A: No. E-mail credentialing@icma.org if you’d like to use an alternative or if you have special circumstances.

Q: Why do some multi-rater assessments cost so much?

A: Multi-rater assessments are expensive to administer and score. Alternatives are available to members with tight budgets. Just send your request to credentialing@icma.org.

 

Credentialing Policies & the Credentialing Advisory Board

Q: Does the Credentialing Advisory Board really look at every application and every annual report?

A: Yes. The Credentialing Advisory Board, made up of member volunteers, spends a considerable amount of time evaluating and reviewing applications and annual reports. They carefully consider each one, paying special attention to experience, education, plans, and annual reports.  

Q: Why do I have to fulfill a 40-hour annual professional development requirement for credentialing? Isn’t that a bit much?

A: Tenet 8 of the ICMA Code of Ethics says, “Make it a duty continually to improve the member's professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.” After member dialogue in 1994 the following guideline was added: “Each member should commit at least 40 hours per year to professional development activities that are based on the practices identified by the members of ICMA.” The Credentialing Program simply allows you to focus and structure your 40 hours.

Q: What if I wasn’t able to complete an activity that was on my original plan?

A: No problem. The Credentialing Advisory Board (CAB) understands that these things happen. Simply leave it out of your annual report. Include any activities that you may have substituted during the year. While the CAB will be flexible and allow non-traditional approaches as part of a professional development plan, it is with the understanding that participants will meet the 40-hour minimum even if you have a need to adjust schedules or change activities in the course of a year.

Q: Why do I have to tell what I learned from my professional development activities?

A: Every ICMA member commits to forty hours annually of professional development (Tenet 8 of the Code of Ethics). What distinguishes Credentialed Managers and Candidates is their commitment to plan for continuous personal improvement, to reflect upon their development activities, and to document their learning for peer review.

As members advance in their careers, they often lament that training activities rarely provide grand, new solutions or insights. Such unrealistic expectations can lead to skepticism of any presenter, author, or trainer and cause our attention to wander. The mind closes, rather than opens, to learning. We may miss even small, useful kernels of new knowledge.

Attention and reflection help capture more of these kernels. Taking notes increases our attention. Later, even brief reflection or review of our notes seems to expand and help retain concrete learning. If time is available, greater learning gains can occur by preparing a journal of thoughts and reactions, discussing ideas with a colleague, or studying more on the topic.

There is no process for pre-certifying acceptable seminars/courses because the focus of the program is a professional development plan that is most appropriate for individual circumstances as opposed to a broader “one size fits all” program.

Q: Can special, irregular job activities count as professional development?

A: The job activity itself does not count as professional development, but any studying, reading, or coursework that you did to prepare for the job activity does count as professional development.

Q: I am retired. Do I have to continue to fulfill the 40-hour requirement?

A: You may not have to. Retired members who have been credentialed for at least five years are eligible to become Retired Credentialed Managers. Retired Credentialed Managers do not have to submit annual reports unless they desire to retain the “active” credential.

 

Administrative Details

Q: Where do I go to find sample plans and annual reports, recommended reading lists, and other helpful resources?

A: The Credentialing Resources section of icma.org located under Members.

Q: How will I remember to submit my annual report?

A: Three reminders are sent to every credentialing participant, starting three months in advance of your deadline. We also send a reminder two weeks in advance of lapsing from the program. If you are not receiving your reminders, make sure we have your correct e-mail address, and also check your e-mail spam filter or firewall settings. Ask your IT Department to add icma.org to your “approved sender” list.

 

Cost

Q: How much does it cost to participate in the ICMA Credentialing Program?

A: It can cost as little or as much as you want it to. The only required expenses are $75 for the Applied Knowledge Assessment and $50 for the online application. There are no renewal fees at this time, and the 40-hour professional development requirement can be fulfilled through no- to low-cost activities such as structured mentoring and professional reading from the library.

Q: Why does ICMA charge a credentialing application fee?

A: The Credentialing Program is almost completely supported by member dues. The one-time $50 application fee helps defray the cost of staff time to process applications.

Q: Why do some multi-rater assessments cost so much?

A: Multi-rater assessments are expensive to administer and score. Alternatives are available to members with tight budgets. Just send your request to credentialing@icma.org.

Q: What if I cannot afford to go to conferences or do not want to because I am retired?

A: The 40-hour professional development requirement can be fulfilled through no- to low-cost activities such as structured mentoring and professional reading.

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