• We're a fun, friendly, and diverse group of planners, placemakers, built environment shapers, students, and other folks who found their people here. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! Register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account, or use your email address.

Certified Floodplain Manager: worth it?

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
Messages
1,441
Points
28
I might have the opportunity next month to take the test to become a Certified Floodplain Manager here in Texas. Anyone else here a CFM? Is it worth it? How do you use it?
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
Messages
3,179
Points
24
I might have the opportunity next month to take the test to become a Certified Floodplain Manager here in Texas. Anyone else here a CFM? Is it worth it? How do you use it?
There are just a very few of us. It is not an easy test by any means. Do you do much Floodplain Management work?
Once you get it you have to have credits to keep it so unless you are really dedicated I would not bother.

I really think the only big benefit is if your community is a part of the CRS then it counts in the points.
 

TexanOkie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,903
Points
19
Do you do much Floodplain Management work?
Once you get it you have to have credits to keep it so unless you are really dedicated I would not bother.

I really think the only big benefit is if your community is a part of the CRS then it counts in the points.
This is the reason I never got my certification. I took the FEMA floodplain management course and am currently the city floodplain administrator, but we only have 3 homes who need flood insurance. Our ordinances also direct development out of floodplains, so it just doesn't seem like it'd be worth my time or the City's money to keep me certified at this point. It might in the future, especially if we expand to the north bank of the San Gabriel River as our growth boundary shows.
 

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
Messages
1,441
Points
28
Thanks for the great advice. I was thinking along the same lines. Maybe at some point, but at the moment, I've got enough other things to work on.
 

jmello

Cyburbian
Messages
2,583
Points
21
I might have the opportunity next month to take the test to become a Certified Floodplain Manager here in Texas. Anyone else here a CFM? Is it worth it? How do you use it?

Depends on your career choice. Do you want to process permits for the rest of your career? If so, go for it! If not, then I think you know the answer.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
24,660
Points
50
Have gone through the training but never took the exam.

Has not hindered managing the CRS program.
 

jfern

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
MUP student considering CFM

I'm a MUP student slated to graduate May 2010. I'm concentrating in land use and environmental planning and am looking for ways to differentiate myself from other job seekers. Will a CFM, with no actual floodplain planning experience, be a worthwhile investment? Or is a CFM only valuable if it is in addition to real-world floodplain work?
 

CDT

Cyburbian
Messages
192
Points
7
I'm thining about taking the exam too. I am the flood plain administrator here, as well as the planning director. I thought it would be good to have for credibility more than anything.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
29
Yeah.....

I passed the exam last November. Having CFM isn't as important as being fully informed about FEMA processing and interpretation issues. I'll keep it as long as my employer pays for the continuing education needed.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
24,660
Points
50
BUMP -

Job change occurred - Teh Man wants me to get my CFM.
Took the NFIP class in Emmitsburg 10 yrs ago.
Besides the study guide and 1/2 day exam review, what else can/should I do ?
 

AHardin

Member
Messages
3
Points
0
BUMP -

Job change occurred - Teh Man wants me to get my CFM.
Took the NFIP class in Emmitsburg 10 yrs ago.
Besides the study guide and 1/2 day exam review, what else can/should I do ?
I'm a CFM and find it more useful than AICP certification. The conferences are more fun, too.

My suggestions:

Make sure you're comfortable with the latest Elevation Certificate: http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1727

Review "Answers to Questions about the NFIP": http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/qanda.shtm

Review specific areas you're not used to regulating using the Floodplain Management guide (FEMA 480): http://www.floods.org/index.asp?menuid=389&firstlevelmenuid=180&siteid=1

There's a decent PPT regarding TX floodplain management here: http://www.powershow.com/view/ba0f-YWE4Z/Floodplain_Management_101

As for the test:
*Know what you don't know. There are at least four different tests, and each has a different focus.

*If you're not in a coastal area, go back over the coastal regs. Know the difference between the lowest adjacent grade, lowest structural member, etc.

*Make sure you have at least a passing knowledge about the various mitigation grant programs available (HMGP, FMA, PDM, Rep Loss).

*Go over the list of topics: http://www.floods.org/index.asp?menuid=426&firstlevelmenuid=180&siteid=1

Take the class. It will help a lot.
 

AHardin

Member
Messages
3
Points
0
May be late, but for what it's worth, I think the CFM is worth it. In my community (coastal city) I use the info learned for my CFM daily.

Still need test help? PM me - I have taught FP 101 and can lead you to some good review material.
 

nrschmid

Cyburbian
Messages
2,857
Points
20
Like the LEED-AP credential (which is useless for anyone except architects and engineers), I really don't see the point of earning CFM, unless you are actually going to use it on an actual project where you are currently working. Otherwise it's a bunch of money towards a bullet point on a resume (i.e. marketing purposes). I agree with jmello, for recent or soon-to-be graduates it can pigeonhole you in certain jobs. However, if you still want to earn CFM credentials, you don't HAVE to list CFM on those job applications that have NOTHING to do with floodplain management.
 

Kingmak

Cyburbian
Messages
219
Points
9
Reviving this topic. I'm going to take the exam soon. I have studied the large FEMA pdf. Can anyone who has taken the Texas exam give any insight on the exam itself?
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,654
Points
38
I passed here in Kansas. I remember a lot of questions about finding the BFE, reading the maps, etc. There is also a good mix of insurance questions along with general knowledge. A lot seemed to be process and regulation driven. I took the 273 Managing Floodplain Development class before the test and did okay. Here's a link to the FEMA 480 study guide. It covers just about everything, and yes some of the questions are stupid like knowing the difference between a hydrostatic and hydrodynamic forces.
http://www.floods.org/index.asp?menuid=389&firstlevelmenuid=180&siteid=1
 

rcgplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,730
Points
18
My new boss asked me yesterday if I was interested in become a CFM. Our ordinances require anything built in the floodplain must be 18 inches above BFE. Considering this is coastal Texas and our city ranges from an elevation of 7 feet up to about 20 feet, I am thinking this may be a useful skill to have. I will have to do more research and see if this is worthwhile. Does FEMA still pay for local government employees to take CFM classes? My city will pay for the exam.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,654
Points
38
I'd check with your state people. I've been getting my credits from free classes offered by the state.
As far as career help, I can see the CFM being helpful in coastal and flood prone areas, but go to some place like Phoenix and the answer is meh.
I think the knowledge is more important than the cert. As long as you know what a BFE is and the difference between and A and V zone you've got most of it covered for daily practice. The test will ask for a little more.
Also good to learn how to establish a BFE if you're in a flood area.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
29
Well

I still have my CFM two years removed (3rd renewal) from my public planning job. I've even put it on my business card with AICP......:-| I'm hanging on to it for another two years since I can get free continuing education credits and it is relatively cheap. I really enjoyed the floodplain management duties back in the day.....:-|
 

Kingmak

Cyburbian
Messages
219
Points
9
Taking it tomorrow! Any tips? How long does it take to get the results back?
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,654
Points
38
Do a quick read through your V zones if your not comfortable with them and double check a couple of the insurance and other terms like "substantially damaged" and what constitutes an enclosure. Also know your different house types.

I don't remember it taking more than a couple weeks or so to get my results.

Good luck!
 

Kingmak

Cyburbian
Messages
219
Points
9
Well I took it. Don't think I missed more than the 36 I could have. There were some I had no real clue about and still can't really find the answer. So if a house is on a slab and the lowest floor is elevated 1.5 above the BFE and the BFE is 10', the EC should say that the lowest floor is 11.5' right? Do you include the slab height if its 2 inches? Like 11.7'?
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,654
Points
38
I've always taken lowest floor to mean the part that I step on. So if the concrete pour starts at 11 and the slab is 6 inches thick, then the top of the slab is your lowest floor at 11.5. Our state guy tells us about a weird guy who had his slab at say 11 with a BFE of 10. he dug out a 2x2 pit to place his water heater in. The bottom of the water heater becomes his lowest floor so he ended up a foot below.
 
Messages
32
Points
2
If you apply for a planner position and will be doing flood duties in a coastal area...why wouldn't you put CFM on a resume? It shows the hiring manager that you already know what you're talking about and are an expert in the field, whether that be true or not. CFM is important for the credential, period.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
29
Yes...and

CFM also shows that you know how to speak to engineers on flood-related issues. The test and regulations are some of the most bureaucratic you will ever encounter. The actual work of reviewing plans and dealing with flood issues is actually enjoyable in my opinion. Listening to a citizen claim his mobile home can float is also fun.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,654
Points
38
The hardest part of flood regulations for me so far has been updating the map. Everyone says it's never flooded here. You know, except that one time it flooded there. My problem is that I have some people getting added to the floodplain that tell me it never flooded there. The problem, they can go back to the flood of record and show pictures of where the water went. All I can do is send it to the engineer and tell him to recheck his numbers.
 
Messages
32
Points
2
Neal,

Are they in the 100 year or 500 year? I just tell people it's not 1 percent chance like 1 out of 100, its 1 percent in any year. Actually, with a 30 year mortgage, the typical person in the 100 year floodplain has a 36 percent chance of being flooded once in those 30 years.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,654
Points
38
It's all 100 year floodplain. We don't even bother with the 500 year. I actually think e chance of a home flooding in a 30 year mortgage is up to 95. I'd have to find my documents, but it's pretty high.
 
Top