As chapter certification chair, your role is to promote and facilitate certification and certification preparation activities to chapter members and the local manufacturing community. Responsibilities include finding, facilitating and/or managing resources for proctoring certification exams; holding preparatory programs for certification candidates; supporting certification holders by providing documentation of local-program attendance for recertification credits; and providing information and materials for chapter members to their employers to promote the value of SME certifications. Your work within your chapter and local manufacturing community is critical in supporting the workforce development needs of your area.
It is possible for any size chapter to support certification. We encourage each chapter to have a key contact that coordinates certification-related activities and resources. That person should be empowered to decide if they can handle the program on their own, or if they need to recruit other resources to support the effort. It is a great idea to coordinate certification programs with the rest of your chapter's calendar of events to see not only what other activities are planned, but also to access other resources that might be available to help. And, if there multiple chapters in your area or state, it would be very beneficial to reach out and invite those chapters to participate in your program as well.
- Encourage chapter members to join an elite group of professionals who have documented their manufacturing-related skills and knowledge by becoming certified in SME's certifications.
- Be familiar with other programs offered through SME as a service to our members.
- Serve as your chapter's key resource on all matters pertaining to certification and recertification.
- Sponsor and support chapter certification review courses and study groups.
- Proctor certification exams and/or find individuals who meet the criteria for proctoring exams.
- Work with the SME Certification Department to coordinate and promote professional development programs that provide opportunities for certified chapter members to earn recertification credits and keep their certifications current.
- Coordinate with the SME Certification Department any certification prep programs and/or group exam dates for your chapter.
Quick Tips for Chapter Certification Activities
- Work closely with your chapter leadership; they are your partner in engaging members and their companies with SME certifications.
- Develop a communication and marketing plan for publicizing your chapter's certification study groups, tests or review programs — once you build the program, you have bring in the participants!
- Publicize certification test dates and deadline dates in your chapter bulletin, on your chapter website and to local schools that have manufacturing or engineering technology programs.
- Communicate review or prep program and test dates with SME's Certification Department so HQ can publicize them on the Certification website as well. Ideally, include a PDF of any marketing materials, along with a key contact we can share with those who call us with inquiries about your chapter's program.
- Offer incentives for groups. Offer incentives for people to "bring a friend.
- Call your chapter's membership consultant whenever you need additional assistance or further information. If you do not know who your membership consultant is or how to reach him/her, contact SME Customer Care at 800.733.4763 (U.S. only) or 313.425.3000.
- Contact SME's Certification Department at 800.733.4763 (U.S. only), 313.425.3000 or email@example.com if you have questions about certification and/or certification-related programs.
Ready, Set, Grow: Establish a New Program
There are as many ways to prepare for certification exams as there are individual learning styles. To help members prepare for tests, encourage certification candidates to consider what works best for them and then help them coordinate the most appropriate study tool, if necessary. Study tools may include:
Visiting sme.org/certification, which is the place to go for all the latest information about SME's certification programs. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with that portion of the SME website to access the latest information and materials for certification.
Once your chapter decides to schedule a review or certification prep program, you can use this checklist to help organize the activities:
|Decide on type of program your chapter wants to offer:
- Two/three-day event with exam following?
- Short, focused study sessions over multiple weeks?
|Determine where the review program will be held. Will you need to rent a facility? Is there a local company that would be willing to host? Do you plan to offer the exam online, or pencil and paper only?
|Determine the registration fees for participants? What costs will you incur that you need to cover (e.g., Facility rental? Food? Printing flyers? Etc.)? Will this program also raise funds for the chapter?
|Determine how your chapter will register review program participants and collect registration payments.
|Create your review program flyer or email for distribution.
|Contact SME Certification:
- For brochures and other certification materials for you to distribute.
- With notification of your scheduled exam date.
- To provide your review program flyer for posting on the Certification website.
|Recruit chapter members to help with the program
|Distribute certification and review program information to chapter members and local companies — ask each chapter member to distribute certification materials to five (5) prospective candidates within their own company.
||Target 12 weeks for first distribution; keep distributing to key prospects up to a week before the event
|Optional: Schedule a certification information session to discuss the various SME certification programs and provide prospective candidates with a Q&A forum.
Contact SME Certification if you would like to have a staff member participate in a WebEx overview of the various programs we offer.
|Encouraged: Contact each review program participant to:
- Ensure they have the appropriate recommended resources for preparing for the exam AND for the review program.
- Encourage them to take the self-assessment and bring their report to the course.
- Make sure they have applied for their certification exam (online at sme.org/certification).
|Submit your event calendar listing to local newspaper, radio and regional media — make sure you mention that you are a not-for-profit; it may help you also get a public service announcement!
|Hold review & administer exam
|Follow up with recognition of successful certification candidates!
Preparation Strategies: Getting Ready To Grow
If a senior chapter within the continental United States and Canada has a group of individuals interested in taking any of SME's certification exams, SME can help by providing an instructor who will both teach the review course and monitor the exam following the review. Instructor fees will apply. SME Chapters may charge members for the course and keep all the revenue. To coordinate a course or to discuss various options, contact SME Certification at 800.733.4763 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact us as soon as you start planning your program — before you have established your dates. Many instructors prefer to be provided several options of dates to conduct a review program.
- Certification Review Courses: These courses are offered periodically through SME Headquarters; they may also be delivered by certified individuals within your chapter.
- Self-Study: Chapters can promote self-study by providing a library of up-to-date certification resources to members and by reminding members that SME offers online practice exams as well as home-study review courses.
- Study Sessions: Chapters can hold periodic sessions over a series weeks that focus on specific topics of review. Candidates are facilitated by certified individuals within the chapter, and they engage in dialogue and discussion to reinforce key concepts.
- Paired Study: The "buddy system" approach pairs candidates with different areas of expertise so that each benefits from the other's knowledge and experience.
Establishing Review Course
Among the many tools you have to market SME certification programs internally and externally, the most powerful is word-of-mouth marketing. When certified SME members speak favorably of your product or service, they send a free, credible and targeted marketing message to other pre-qualified candidates for certification. And when word spreads, it usually spreads fast. Still, while no other marketing tactic provides such benefits in one package, do not underestimate their ability to incite members to start talking. Prepare promotional articles about certification for your chapter newsletter, chapter website and SME Connect, network with human resource managers and manufacturing managers at area manufacturing companies and engage them in promoting certification to their employees. Schedule informational meetings for interested members and publicize study groups and refresher courses in local papers, no matter how small, and in regional trade publications.
Best of Both Worlds: Internal & External Marketing
All SME certifications are valid for three years. During that three-year period, it is expected that certification holders will engage in continuing education, volunteerism within SME and other activities that qualify for recertification credits. CMfgT and CMfgE holders are required to complete 36 credits that relate to their certification's body of knowledge to renew their certification for another three-year period. Those that hold BOTH the CMfgT and CMfgE must accumulate 54 credits to maintain all of their certifications. If you are a Lean Certification holder, regardless of level, 80 credits are required for recertification along with an updated portfolio. Lean Certification holders are required to map their credits to the body of knowledge. We encourage the chapter certification chair to reinforce that participation in chapter activities qualifies for recertification credits, and encourage members to record their credits on their Recertification Credit Submittal Form (PDF). To do that:
Some tactics you might consider employing include:
- Getting listed in the local calendar of events and/or business events section of your local newspapers.
- A "bring a friend" promotion — offer a discount on the review program or other incentive for each person an attendee brings with them.
- Encourage members to recruit someone within their company to go through the program with them — word of mouth is powerful. Two or more advocates in a company could be the start of something bigger.
- Recognition of those who earn certification. Send press releases
Recertification: Commitment to Lifelong Learning
Credits are awarded for participation in continuing education and practice within the profession. Most activities earn recertification credits at the typical rate of one credit per actual hour in attendance, but there are many categories and some other credit allotments. Click here for more details.
- Coordinate continuing education programs to provide opportunities for members to obtain recertification credits.
- Be sure that the number of recertification credits available for every technical meeting is included in all promotional material.
- Provide a certificate to all meeting attendees that demonstrates their attendance and number of credits they earned by participating in the meeting.
- Publish the Credit Submittal From along with the guidelines for recertification in your chapter bulletin as a reminder that recertification is necessary.
- And, naturally, make certain that plenty of recertification opportunities are available.
Earning Recertification Credits
SME follows generally accepted practices for certification administration as outlined by the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the National Organization for Competency Assurance and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards to maintain the integrity and reliability of its exams and to maintain the validity of its exams.
Generally, there are many activities for which recertification credits may be awarded, including:
- Society-sponsored (SME or other) national, regional or chapter education activities
- Other educational courses
- Reading books, watching videos and other interactive learning
- Employer-arranged instruction
- Technical paper preparation and presentation
- Part-time teaching
- Significant project accomplishment
- Professional development conference attendance
- Other educational activities
It is the responsibility of those holding SME certifications to keep their own certification record of professional credits up-to-date with SME. SME Certification reserves the right to request additional verification for any or all professional credits claimed.
What, How & Why: Certification Exam Oversight
To maintain the integrity and reliability of its exams, SME assesses each exam for difficulty, discrimination and reliability, and conducts each exam by a committee of subject matter experts and psychometric consultants. It also performs statistical analysis of exam results and has appeal procedures in place.
To maintain the validity of its exams, SME periodically surveys manufacturing practitioners and does a test-specification exercise based on the survey results. Additionally, the Society solicits input and new exam items from individuals not on the committees.
All exams that become part of the SME Certification program adhere to these procedures to ensure the validity, reliability and legal defensibility of exams and programs.