To earn the CCM credential, a meteorologist must make application for the designation, be recommended by three associates, pass a stringent written examination, and pass an oral examination before a national board of examiners. The CCM designation is granted only to those who demonstrate a broad background in meteorology together with detailed knowledge in a particular field of specialization.
The written examination is in two parts. The first is an “open-book” examination which consists of several standard questions intended to test the applicant’s general meteorological background and several questions intended to probe more deeply his or her own area of specialty or expertise. In responding to the questions the candidate may use all available resources, except that he or she may not discuss the questions with any other individual person or persons. A period of 90 days is normally suggested as sufficient to complete the written part of the examination.
A report or published paper, and a non-technical summary (abstract) of it, representing the applicant’s professional work is required as the second part of the written assignment. A CCM candidate must demonstrate that he/she possesses the ability to apply his or her meteorological knowledge beneficially to the affairs of mankind and communicate that knowledge to the public. Usually a client does not have the same technical expertise as the consultant hired; therefore, it is essential that the consultant be able to provide a written product that communicates effectively to any non-technical user. This report may not be more than five years old at the time of submission. It must adequately addresses the twin objectives of demonstrating both meteorological analytical skill and effective communication.
Applicant achieving a passing grade on the combined written exam and technical report are qualified for an oral exam. The oral portion of the examination is normally conducted during the Annual Meeting of the AMS. Commonly the full Board participates, but a panel of at least 3 Board members is required. Regional orals, serving to expedite the whole certification process and minimizing inconvenience for all concerned, may be given at other times and locations upon the recommendation of the Board.
The oral examination may cover any hydro-meteorological topic. It usually consists of a discussion of the applicant’s written examination materials, his or her technical report and summary, and any other topics deemed appropriate by the Panel. Questions also are used to explore the candidate’s knowledge of areas identified by the candidate as their area of specialization. The Board, at their discretion, may pose questions using visual material such as isobaric maps, Doppler radar maps, satellite maps or numerical weather prediction products. The oral exam always includes a discussion of hypothetical situations that arise in consulting activities and a discussion of professional ethics.
Applicants will be given a list of any questions and/or the technical report for which their aggregate score across all graders was less than 70, to assist them with preparing for the oral exam. No information on the identity of, or scoring from, individual graders will be provided. Immediately prior to the oral examination the candidate will be given a short written quiz on basic meteorological knowledge.
Following each examination the participating members vote individually on their recommendation for each candidate. The ballot poses a series of questions each of which require the grader to assign a numerical value from 1 to 10. A passing grade is a mean score of 7 or higher. Certification will be recommended if a majority of graders have scored the candidate at or above 7 points.
Results of the Board’s vote are communicated to the Commissioner on Professional Affairs.