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.
An essay representing the candidate’s professional work must be submitted 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 hired consultant; 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 address the twin objectives of demonstrating both meteorological analytical skill and effective communication to a non-technical audience.
Written examination grading procedures as of 1 November 2020
To pass the written portion of the exam, the candidate must fulfill the following three steps: (1) the average score for the 15 written questions must be 70 or higher; (2) the candidate must score an average of 70 or higher on at least 9 of the 15 questions; and (3) the candidate must score an average of 70 or higher on the consulting essay portion of the written material. If the outcome of the above three steps are not met, the exam is deemed a failure and no oral review will be conducted for that applicant.
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 but may also be conducted through a virtual testing process. Commonly the full Board participates, but a panel of at least 3 Board members is required.
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 consulting essay sections 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.