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Certificate Member (CM)

Certificate Membership is a classification of RSES membership, which originated in 1935.  Exclusive to RSES members, this designation is earned after successfully passing a rigorous examination.
The CM examination tests 18 categories of knowledge required in the installation and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.  It requires a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of mechanical refrigeration theory, as well as working knowledge of installation, service and troubleshooting procedures. 

The Importance of the CM Designation

Achieving CM status can have a significant effect on your career.  From direct financial incentives to long-term job security, attaining CM provides your employer with the criteria by which to evaluate and reward your personal commitment to continuing education.  RSES Certificate Members are recognized industry-wide as possessing high levels of HVACR knowledge and many employers offer incentives for successful CM-test completion!
“Kerr Controls feels that it’s very important for our employees to stay current with industry developments.  We believe RSES programs provide excellent avenues to accomplish that goal – to the extent that the company not only pays the employees’ annual membership dues, but covers costs for them to attend conferences where CM testing is held.  If an employee passes the CM test, we have a $500 bonus for them!”
Kevin Toomey
Sales Manager
Kerr Controls Limited
Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada

Advancement in the RSES Technical Institute

RSES members who earn CM classification also advance within the RSES Technical Institute to Level IV – Advanced Tech CM.

Exam Structure and Categories

There are 150 multiple-choice questions on the examination.  A grade of 70% is required to pass. 
To document the difficulty of the CM examination, RSES International Headquarters keeps accurate records of the examinations given and the results of each.  Current pass rates are roughly 30%. 
View the breakdown of exam categories for the CM exam.

Who Can Take the CM Exam?

Any Active RSES member who is in good standing may take the exam. RSES Canada requires two years of Active membership for their members before taking the exam.

Who Cannot Take the CM Exam?

A student member, an associate member, non-member of RSES and any active member who has taken the CM examination less than 90 days ago.

What is the Cost to Take a CM Exam?

Every RSES member has the opportunity to take the exam for a $30.00 fee.   

Certification Preparation

RSES recommends the Technical Institute Manuals 1, 2, and 3, which provide a comprehensive course of study for those members who wish to prepare for the CM exam.  Click on the titles below to view further details on these manuals:

What Does RSES Do to Promote My Achievement?

All successful CM candidates receive two personalized  wall certificates; one indicating their new status in the organization as a Certificate Member and the other an RSES Technical Institute Level 4 certificate suitable for framing along with a patch promoting their new status. 

In addition, all future correspondence includes the CM designation with the member’s name – and the member is encouraged to do the same.  With the member’s permission, his or her employer is notified of successful passing.  Further, the names of successful candidates are included in each month’s RSES Journal, as well as listed in press releases and broadcast e-mail sent to industry peers and publications. 
Each year, the member with the highest score (Society-wide) on the CM exam receives the John Spence Award at the RSES Annual Conference.  In addition, Certificate Members can purchase the exclusive RSES CM ring.

Where can I take the examination?

Certificate Member (CM) examinations may be offered at State or Regional training events, through a local Chapter, at International Seminars or the Annual RSES Conference.

View the RSES Events Calendar to find scheduled exams in your area or contact your local Chapter to obtain course information in your area.


Need more information?

For further information on the Certificate Member (CM) examination ;please call RSES headquarters at 800/297-5660 or 847/297-6464, or e-mail us at

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RSES is the leading education, training and certification preparation organization for HVACR professionals. RSES publishes various comprehensive industry training and reference materials in addition to delivering superior educational programs designed to benefit HVACR professionals at every stage of their careers through instructor-led training courses, online training for HVAC, educational seminars, interactive CD and DVD products, industry-related reference manuals, and helpful technical content through Service Application Manual chapters, the RSES Journal, the RSES Journal archives and feature articles, as well as web-exclusive features.

Beginning with basic theory and extending to complex troubleshooting, training courses covering refrigeration and air conditioning, heating, electricity, controls, heat pumps and safety may be conducted in a classroom environment or though self study. RSES publications may be purchased by schools, contractors, manufacturers or any other industry group wanting to conduct comprehensive training programs. Seminars covering air conditioning troubleshooting, electrical troubleshooting, compressor training, condenser training, refrigerant piping practices, DDC controls, and more are held in various cities across North America.

Select training programs offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and NATE Continuing Education Hours (CEHs).

In addition, RSES offers industry certification preparation materials for refrigerant handling (EPA Section 608), R-410A and North American Technician Excellence (NATE) examinations.

RSES’ monthly magazine, RSES Journal, serves HVAC contractors, service technicians, students, operations/maintenance managers, engineers and technicians who work in the residential, light commercial, commercial and institutional markets on air conditioning, warm-air heating, refrigeration, ventilation, electrical, ice machines, chillers, hydronic heating, piping, refrigeration control and energy management, building automation, indoor air quality and duct cleaning, and sheet metal fabrication equipment and/or systems.
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