Introducing the New iNARTE Spectrum Management Certification Program

By Elya B. Joffe, international technical consultant – iNARTE

In this article, we introduce a new and long-awaited iNARTE certification program which is underway—iNARTE Spectrum Management Certification program.


The availability of adequate spectrum to support commercial, government, and military electronic systems and equipment is critical to maximize mission and performance effectiveness. Spectrum planning and frequency management must be given appropriate and timely consideration during the development, procurement, and deployment of assets that utilize the electromagnetic spectrum. To ensure maximum compatibility among the various worldwide users of the electromagnetic spectrum, it is essential that spectrum-dependent equipment comply with spectrum usage and management requirements. The DoD’s use of the spectrum is constantly being challenged by the commercial sector. It is expected that the military’s control of the spectrum will diminish in favor of commercial use. As more and more spectrum is taken away, the available spectrum must be managed as efficiently as possible to ensure the success of all commercial, government, and military operations.

The field of spectrum management (SM) involves highly specialized technology that deals with the management of the electromagnetic spectrum. The rapid advancement of wireless technology and the attendant probability of electromagnetic interference (EMI) require that the management of wireless spectrum be carefully engineered. Yet, there is a critical shortage of qualified spectrum management engineers and technicians to assist in controlling the use of spectrum. Furthermore, spectrum management theory is seldom taught as part of any engineering curricula.

Traditionally, the spectrum management community has been populated by small groups of dedicated specialists (vis-à-vis TC-6 in the EMCs). With the enhanced emphasis on EMI control, the people supporting these programs have been taxed to the limit. The end result has been a decrease in the overall quality of spectrum management technical support.

To avoid a dilution of capabilities in the face of expanding expectations or a critical shortage of spectrum managers, engineers, and technicians; it is desirable to establish a dedicated career path for their professional development.

In early 2010 it was determined that a credential accreditation and certification process for spectrum management technical support was needed in two areas:

  • Personnel providing direct technical support, and
  • Laboratories doing spectrum monitoring

Certification of personnel to a recognized standard also provides a basis for evaluating and differentiating offers from contractors who do not have experienced, qualified personnel on staff. It also provides a demonstrable benchmark to which government and industry activities may train professional technical staff.

Purpose of iNARTE Spectrum Management Certification

iNARTE’s Professional Certification is geared towards qualified engineers and technicians/practitioners, who have a vested interest in advancing their profession and the industry in the field of SM.

iNARTE certified SM engineers and technicians work on advanced technology systems and components in industries that include commercial, government, aerospace, and military applications.

The purpose of the Spectrum Management Certification Program is to foster technical excellence in SM and engineering. This approach establishes technical competency criteria for SM and enforces these criteria for technical personnel performing spectrum management tasks. The program benefits the individual engineer, the technician, and the professional community as a whole by establishing a standard of excellence in SM engineering that will endure and extend across the boundaries of private and government agencies. In particular, the program’s objectives are to:

  • Create certified SM and frequency coordinators
  • Assure a uniform level of expertise and quality
iNARTE Spectrum Management Certification Structure

The new iNARTE Spectrum Management Certification Program is a “stand alone” certification program. In other words, you are not required to hold the iNARTE “legacy” EMC certification to be eligible for the Spectrum Management certification.

Certification of SM professional personnel is a four-step process based on education, work experience, peer endorsement, and examination. A two-grade certification program is proposed comprising of SM Engineer and SM Technician grades. Brief proposed definitions of the various grades and the examination subjects for each tier are presented below.

Spectrum Management Certification Grades

a) Spectrum Management Engineer

SM Engineers should have good knowledge of electromagnetic theory and associated mathematics and physics of transmission, propagation, and interaction. They are required to be able to carry out analysis of link and channel budgets, collocation analysis and interactions and have some basic understanding of analysis and simulation tools.

SM Engineers should also have fundamental knowledge of spectrum testing and monitoring, spectrum risk assessment and of spectrum management regulatory issues. In addition, they should also be knowledgeable in the applicable EMC spectrum engineering standards, their rational and implications on design and the corresponding spectrum site surveys, monitoring and testing and test set ups to the extent necessary for adequate design and preparation of test and evaluation procedures.

SM Engineers require the “soft skills” and particularly good writing and presentation skills to the extent enabling them to prepare engineering reports and participate in design reviews.

b) Spectrum Management Technician

SM Technicians should have basic knowledge of SM, to the extent necessary to understand the rationale behind the necessary tests and set-ups, be familiar with the instruments and test setups he uses, and be able to verify their proper operation and limitations. The SM Technician needs to know the pitfalls of real measurements.

SM Technicians should be able to compile test reports and adequately record the outcomes of the tests. In addition, they should also be able to help identify failure thresholds and assist to solve problems when identified.

Topics included in Spectrum Management Certification Exams

The following is a list of the key topics included in the Spectrum Management Certification. Note that this is a preliminary list which is still subject to change. The skill set levels would differ, of course, between engineers and technicians:


Exam Structure and Duration

Similar to the “legacy” EMC certification, the iNARTE SM Engineer or Technician examination duration shall be four hours in one continuous session. The exam is open book.

The objective of the iNARTE SM Engineer/Technician examination is to validate a candidate’s skills and establish that a candidate has broad knowledge in the essential certification domains/areas respective of the certification program.

The iNARTE SM examination shall be maintained as a “Discrete Option Multiple Choice” nature, having 50 exam questions with one best/correct response “key” and three incorrect responses “distractors”.

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