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Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for the Exam

Does attending local chapter educational events count toward the educational requirements to sit for the exam?

Yes, if it contains at least 60 minutes of educational content and covers one of the content areas listed on the application. Each 60 minutes of educational instruction can include no more than 10 minutes of introductory remarks, breaks or other non-instructional activity.

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Does listening to conference tapes count toward the educational requirements to sit for the exam?

No, listening to conference tapes would be considered a form non-interactive self-study and does not fulfill the requirements on the initial application. 240 minutes of interactive technology-based self-study courses may be used to fulfill the requirements. (See pp 6- 7 of the CLMSM Information and Application packet for details).

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What is the easiest way to obtain the 10 hours of course work in order to qualify for the CLMSM once the experience requirement is achieved?

Review all of the educational sessions you have attended in the past 24 months including firm-sponsored education; chapter presentations; ALA annual and regional conferences, specialized programs and retreats, and Webinars; and college, university and other public courses. Presentations must contain at least 60 minutes of educational content. 240 minutes can be obtained through interactive self-study courses. See the Learning on Demand area of the ALA website for suggested online providers.

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In completing the Application to sit for the exam, I am having difficulty determining which category many of the educational programs I have attended fit for the prerequisites - particularly non-ALA programs I have attended. What is the best way to make this determination?

Review the online instructions - “How to Determine What Qualifies for CLM Credit”. You can also send an email to Sue Powers at ALA headquarters with all of the pertinent information relating to the program, i.e. length, title, speaker, session description, etc. They should be able to tell you if it qualifies, and if so, in which category it belongs.

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How do I keep track of my educational requirements of 120 minutes in each of the Management Categories?

Keep a file of all educational programs you attend. Include promotional information, course syllabuses, handouts, certificates, ALA Education Tracking Forms received at conferences, etc. It helps to keep a record using a spreadsheet or table to track dates, time, content area, etc. You will also want to download and save a copy of the ‘live’ excel Education Worksheet as you begin to complete your Education Requirements.

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Why are there education requirements for taking the exam?

Some of the top-identified competencies are in what are considered "soft" skill areas, i.e. leadership, oral communications, interpersonal skills, etc. These soft skills are not conducive to a multiple choice test setting. Therefore, the education requirements validate the applicant’s effort to be well rounded in the competencies that can't be effectively tested on the exam.

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Why do I have to have a certain number of years of experience? If I can pass the test, what difference does the amount of experience make?

A certification program validates mastery of a set of competencies. A principal administrator has to have the depth and breadth of knowledge and management skills to be conversant in a broad body of knowledge. Some of this skill comes with experience. Therefore, when the program was established, it was decided that a minimum of three years experience be required for a principal administrator and 5 years for a functional specialist.

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Given my years of experience as an administrator, why can't I be grandfathered in as a CLMSM?

The certification process contains 4 parts; years of experience, education prerequisites, passing a 100 question exam, and endorsing the ALA Code of Ethics. It is designed to be a fair and rigorous assessment process. This program strategy is the most suitable or best measurement to ensure that successful candidates have the requisite knowledge and skills. Setting up a grandfathering system would be pretty subjective and does not fit in with the program strategy at this time.

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