Floodplain Manager Certification

Any person involved with, or interested in, the management of Illinois’ floodplains, wetlands and watersheds is eligible for professional certification. Most applicants are local floodplain managers, but certification is open to individuals in the private sector, state and federal government, schools and universities and other agencies or organizations dealing with floodplain and other related disciplines.

Membership in IAFSM is not required for a person to become a CFM. However, the IAFSM Board of Directors established different fee schedules for members and nonmembers.

To be certified as a CFM, a person must complete the following prerequisites:

  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • Submit a completed application;
  • Agree to abide the program’s rules and procedures;
  • Submit a statement by a reference that verifies the experience requirement;
  • Sign the Code of Professional Conduct;
  • Pay the appropriate certification fee; and
  • Pass the certification exam.

Application & Study References:
IAFSM will no longer be hosting in-person CFM exams.  To take the on-line exam your total fee will be: $185 for members and $255 for non-members.  You will need to fill out the Application Package and the On-Line Exam Application.

Application Package
On-Line Exam Application

Retake Exam Application

To assist candidates with exam preparation, CBOR created the exam study guidance which is comprised of the following parts:

Initial certification is good for two years. At the end of the two-year period, a CFM must submit an application to IAFSM for biennial renewal. The biennial renewal application includes:

  • A form to update the CFM’s credentials;
  • Documentation that the required continuing education credits have been met or not; and
  • Payment request of the renewal fee.

The CFM certification exam covers all topics that a local official in Illinois would need to know in order to effectively administer a floodplain management ordinance.

The exam has 120 questions. All questions are multiple choice or true/false to prevent subjective answers and to facilitate grading. 
The exam has five parts:

  • True/false questions on general knowledge
  • Multiple choice questions on general knowledge
  • A map reading practical exercise
  • A permit processing practical exercise
  • An exercise on FEMA’s Elevation Certificate

To pass, a person must get at least 70% of the answers correct.

Subject matter for the CFM Exam:

  • Floodplain Mapping 20-25%
  • NFIP Regulatory Standards 20-25%
  • Regulatory Administrative Procedures 15-20%
  • Flood Insurance 10-15%
  • Flood Hazard Mitigation 10-15%
  • Natural and Beneficial Functions 10-15%
  • Overall context of Floodplain Management 5-10%

Find upcoming CFM Exams

For questions regarding the certification exam(s), please contact IAFSM CFM Administrator:

Anita L. Larson, Certification Coordinator

8301 Excelsior Drive
Madison, WI 53717
Tel: 608-828-3000, Fax: 608-828-6319

For more information about IAFSM or membership, contact Sarah Harbaugh at (630) 443-8145 or IAFSM@illinoisfloods.org.


Program Charter - 11/15/2009
Application for Certification - 4/22/2013
On-Line Exam Certification
Application to Retest for Certification - 4/22/2013
CFM® Exam Technical References
Continuing Education Credit Verification Form - 11/1/2012

Continuing Education Credit Policy - 4/22/2013
CFM Renewal Form

To work in Illinois floodplain managers should know the regulations in our state that are different from the national standards the CFM Program Exam tests for.

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