The CEM Test Guide

The CEM Test Summary
What: The CEM exam leads to energy management certification.
Who: The test is administered by the Association of Energy Engineers for professional energy engineers and energy managers.
Where: The test is offered at ACT test sites nationwide as well as part of AEE seminars.
When: Test dates vary; applications must apply at least four weeks prior to the test date.
How: The exam is a written, open book test.
Type: This is a professional certification exam.
Why: The CEM credential is a mark of professionalism within the energy field.
Time: Four hours are given to complete the test.
Language: English
Preparation: Though the test is open book, candidates should study using study guides and AEE seminars.
Cost: $300 to test at an ACT test center; $200 to test at an AEE seminar site.

by Jackie Schultz, Tests.com Contributing Writer

Energy managers often seek out the Certified Energy Manager (CEM) credential to establish themselves as elite industry professionals. The credential recognizes those who have demonstrated high levels of experience, proficiency and competence, as well as those who demonstrate ethical principles in the energy management profession. The CEM credential is granted with a passing score on the CEM exam and allows the certified individual to use the CEM designation after their name. This credential is recognized by federal government agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Office of Federal Energy Management Programs and other energy organizations.

About the CEM Exam

The CEM exam is a four-hour, written, open-book test. Seventeen different topics are covered, of which three are mandatory:

  • Codes and Standards
  • Energy Accounting and Economics
  • Energy Audits and Instrumentation

Eight others must be selected from the following:

  • Alternative Financing
  • Boiler and Steam Systems
  • Building Automation and Control Systems
  • Building Envelope
  • Cogeneration and CHP Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Energy Procurement
  • Green Buildings, LEED and Energy Star
  • HVAC Systems
  • Industrial Systems
  • Lighting Systems
  • Maintenance and Commissioning
  • Motors and Drivers
  • Thermal Energy Storage Systems

Test candidates may elect to partake in a live, five-day seminar or online seminar prior to the exam, though it is not a requirement.

Application Requirements

Candidates for the exam must have one of the following:

  1. Four-year architecture or engineering degree, or PE with at least three years of energy engineering or energy management experience
  2. Four-year degree in business or related degree with at least five years of experience in energy management or energy engineering
  3. Two-year technical degree with eight years of experience in energy management or energy engineering
  4. Ten years of more experience in energy management or energy engineering

Applicants are required to submit employment verification as well as two letters of reference. Additionally, test candidates will have to provide information about their educational background including college transcripts, as well as their past and current professional registration numbers and dates, and a concise description of energy management work experience as part of the four-page application.

Applications are available online through the Association of Energy Engineers website (aeecenter.org). They must be printed and mailed or faxed to the association at least four weeks prior to the exam date. This application serves as an organized method for documenting professional and educational background and achievements. Exam fees must be submitted with the application. A $200 fee is assessed for exams held at seminar sites, while it costs $300 to test at an ACT testing center.

After application approval has been granted, applicants will receive further registration instructions in the mail.


CEM board members score exams, and each candidate is evaluated based on their exam answers and their application materials. A passing CEM score is 704, and a passing application score is 700. Maximum scores are 1,050 for application form data and 1,040 for the exam. Scores are sent through the mail.

Maintaining CEM Certification

Certification must be renewed every three years with eight professional continuing education credits and a fee of $200. If the CEM credential lapses, the test must be retaken.

Are you ready to start preparing for the CEM certification exam? Take a glance at our Certified Energy Manager Exam directory to find handy study guides and other materials to help boost your score.

Source: Association of Energy Engineers; aee.org