The VaPEM and VaAEM

“The hallmark of the Virginian Emergency Manager”

VEMA Comprehensive Certification Program Policy

Jointly administered by the Virginia Emergency Management Association and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the certification program is intended to recognize the knowledge, skills, and abilities of applicants and their achievements as an Emergency Management Professional. Obtaining certification proves that one can effectively accomplish the goals and objectives of a certain level within emergency management in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  A certification indicates an individual’s experience, hard work, continuing education, and dedication to the field of emergency management. 

There are two certification levels available from Virginia’s Certification program: Professional Emergency Manager (VaPEM) and Associate Emergency Manager (VaAEM).  

Virginia Certifications are available to Emergency Management professionals in neighboring states. Potential applicants do not have to be a member of VEMA in order to become certified. However, VEMA members receive a discount on the application fees. Specific fees are listed below.

The Virginia Requirement: New in 2017 to VEMA’s certifications, this requirement enhances the value of a VaPEM and VaAEM by requiring half of all Professional Contributions to have been performed in and/or directly impacting emergency management operations in Virginia.  Meeting this requirement can be accomplished by submitting documentation that supports the candidate’s involvement in any of the professional contribution activities in Virginia.

PEM Scholarships Available: The Gordon Barwell Professional Emergency Manager (PEM) PEM Scholarship is awarded VEMA to recognize the effort of individuals in furthering their professionalism in obtaining certification as a VEMA PEM. Please click here for more information on applying for the Gordon Barwell PEM Scholarship. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed quarterly. 

Discontinued VaEMA and VaEMV: Approved by the Board in early 2017, VEMA has discontinued the offering of the Emergency Management Assistant and the Emergency Management Volunteer certifications.  Holders of these certifications will need to meet the requirements of the VaPEM or VaAEM in order to maintain certification at the time of recertification.

VEMA Certifications are due for renewal on or before December 31, five (5) years after initial certification or five (5) years after a recertification.

Helpful Resources

Certification Memo on COVID 11/16/2021
Current List of Individuals with Certification
Application & Renewal Guidelines Document 
Training Allocation Table
Certification Criteria Matrix
Renewal Criteria Matrix
Gordon Barwell PEM Scholarship

How to Apply:

When you're ready to apply, please refer to the Application & Renewal Guidelines Document for step-by-step information / guidelines for successfully completing your application. New requirement, 8/2022: Applications must be submitted via PDF to [email protected], with properly labeled pages as dividers.   

Upon completion of the appropriate application, applicants should send their packet to [email protected]Please note, this is a new process!

All applications MUST be submitted in advance; applications will not be accepted on-site at the meeting.  

Application Received by

Notification by

January 1st

February 15th

April 1st

May 15th

July 1st

August 15th

October 1st

November 15th


If you have questions about this program or the status of your current application, please e-mail: [email protected].

Application Fees (not refundable)


VEMA Members

Non-VEMA Members







Submit your application fee by credit card online.  All application fees MUST be paid in advance of the Certification meeting; application fees will not be accepted on-site at the meeting. Application fees may be supported through the Gordon Barwell PEM Scholarship for qualified applicants.