Voluntary Credentialing Program

ICMA's Voluntary Credentialing Program recognizes professional local government managers and promotes lifelong learning.

The ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program recognizes professional local government managers qualified by a combination of education and experience, adherence to high standards of integrity, and an assessed commitment to lifelong learning and professional development. Managers are recognized by ICMA through a peer review credentialing process, and this self-directed program offers an opportunity for interested ICMA members to quantify the unique expertise they bring to their communities.

The program also assists ICMA members in focusing and reflecting upon their lifelong professional development experience. Members who participate in the program may earn the designation of ICMA Credentialed Manager granted by the ICMA Executive Board. ICMA Credentialed Managers are viewed with growing distinction by local governing bodies and progressive, civically engaged communities.



What Are the Benefits?

  • Recognition as a professional local government manager
  • Quantification of the unique expertise you offer
  • Demonstration of adherence to high standards of integrity
  • Demonstration of commitment to lifelong learning
  • Structured and focused professional development plan
  • Peer review of professional development activities and learning
  • Eligibility for Legacy Leaders Program
  • Access to special workshops and other training for ICMA Credentialed Managers and Candidates, such as the ICMA Gettysburg and ICMA SEI Leadership Institutes

All of us know the importance of continuous learning. ICMA's Credentialing Program gives us an easy way to focus and structure that learning, as well as become involved in coaching younger managers. As members of ICMA, we are already required by Tenet 8 of the Code of Ethics to commit to at least 40 hours of professional development every year. This program encourages you to reflect on your learning, and receive feedback and recognition. Please consider beginning the process today and join your colleagues who are already credentialed.



What Are the Steps Involved in the Credentialing Process?

Managers often ask whether they can make the time to become credentialed. The application process does not take a lot of time. Applying is quite easy, yet the benefits of the program itself are immeasurable. There are three simple steps:

1. Verify that you are eligible

  • Your work experience must be full-time and appointed, and your degree must be from a regionally accredited or DETC accredited university.
  • You must also be a full member of ICMA.

Verify Today!

Contact credentialing@icma.org if you're not sure. 


2. Complete the Applied Knowledge Assessment

Your Applied Knowledge Assessment results must be less than three years old to make initial application.

Take the Assessment Today!


3. Apply Online

  • Login at icma.org
  • Click MY ICMA
  • Click on the Credentialing tab and select Credentialing Apply/Renew
  • Click Apply to complete the online application, including professional development plan, before the deadline.
Navigating the Credentialing System Video

View the video tutorial on navigating the new credentialing system here.

Watch the Tutorial



What Are the Application Deadlines and Fees?

  • January 3
  • April 3 
  • July 7
  • October 2 

In addition to the $75 cost of the Applied Knowledge Assessment, the online application fee is $50. Paper applications are no longer available.



What Happens After I Apply?

  • For applications that are made by January 3, the Credentialing Advisory Board will review by February 15.
  • Recommended names will be printed in the newsletter for member review by February 28.
  • Approval will be granted by the ICMA executive board in late March or early April.
  • Notification will be sent via e-mail by April 16.
  • Online annual reports will be due every year after executive board approval of ICMA Credentialed Manager or Candidate status to renew your credential. Be prepared to provide at least one specific example of something you learned from each activity. Visit the Credentialing Resources page for frequently asked questions and a sample annual report.
  • After you have been in the program five years (and every five years thereafter), complete a multi-rater assessment. If you cannot complete a multi-rater assessment for political or financial reasons, e-mail credentialing@icma.org so the Credentialing Advisory Board can help you devise another method of external feedback.
  • Click here for a full page of credentialing resources, including frequently asked questions about the multi-rater assessment requirement, PowerPoints, and previews.

Title: What Is the Credential Called?

ICMA-CM or ICMA Credentialed Manager. Initials or title can be used after the name on letterhead, business cards, or other professional documents.

How Are ICMA Credentialed Managers Recognized?

Members receive certificates or lapel pins by mail upon request to credentialing@icma.org. ICMA-CMs and Candidates are also invited to a special reception at the annual conference and are invited to attend special sessions and seminars during the conference and throughout the year. The online Who's Who record also indicates whether a member is an ICMA Credentialed Manager. 

What Happens After I Retire?

Retired members who have been credentialed for at least five years are eligible to become Retired Credentialed Managers. Retired Credentialed Managers do not have to submit annual reports unless they desire to retain the “active” credential. E-mail credentialing@icma.org to find out whether you are eligible.


E-mail credentialing@icma.org or call 202-962-3556 (Jenese Jackson) or 202-962-3582 (Amanda Relyea). 

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