By surveying current research of various micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) shear stress sensor development efforts we illustrate the wide variety of methods used to test and characterize these sensors. The different methods of testing these sensors make comparison of results difficult in some cases, and also this comparison is further complicated by the different formats used in reporting the results of these tests. The fact that making these comparisons can be so difficult at times clearly illustrates a need for standardized testing and reporting methodologies. This need indicates that the development of a national or international standard for the calibration of MEMS shear stress sensors should be undertaken. As a first step towards the development of this standard, two types of devices are compared and contrasted. The first type device is a laminar flow channel with two different versions considered: the first built with standard manufacturing techniques and the second with advanced precision manufacturing techniques. The second type of device is a new concept for creating a known shear stress consisting of a rotating wheel with the sensor mounted tangentially to the rim and positioned in close proximity to the rim. The shear stress generated by the flow at the sensor position is simply tau = (mu)r(omega)/h, where mu is the viscosity of the ambient gas, r the wheel radius, omega the angular velocity of the wheel, and h the width of the gap between the wheel rim and the sensor. Additionally, issues related to the development of a standard for shear stress calibration are identified and discussed.