The award is for acts or service that are of high degree, but do not warrant the Medal for Merit. The Certificate of Merit is generally awarded at the recommendation of the Medal for Merit Board, and its design must be approved by the Board. No person can receive more than one award, and the certificates may be awarded posthumously.
In 1948 324 Certificates were awarded, 67 for people that served in various capacities in connection with production of aircraft or aircraft components, or in connection with air carrier operations under contract to the Army Air Forces or the Air Transport Command. The remaining 257 served in some capacity with or for the Office of Scientific Research and Development.