Why a certification in critical incident stress management (CISM)?

Why have a certification in CISM? The answer is simple…

In the 16th Century, Bacon is said to have written , “KNOWLEDGE is power.”

We agree. The UMBC Certification is a certification of KNOWLEDGE relevant to CISM and crisis intervention. The goal is to motivate and EMPOWER scholars and practitioners to advance their inquiries and their practice by proliferating the nature, strengths, and weaknesses of this field. Thus we seek to increase the acquisition and expression of KNOWLEDGE relevant to CISM and crisis intervention.

Is this certification a standard for practice?

No! The UMBC Certification is currently a certification of KNOWLEDGE only. Nevertheless the certification can certainly serve as the knowledge foundation for a standard of practice.

Can I designate my certification?
Yes. A certificant can certainly indicate on a CV or resume the successful completion of the CISM Certification Exam.

The certificant can also use the initials CCISM after his or her name to indicate certification.

How is the EXAM structured?
The Exam consists of 150 closed end questions (True-False and multiple choice) randomly generated by the computer from a large bank of questions. There are two sections on the EXAM: Individual Crisis Intervention and Group Crisis Intervention. You must achieve a minimum correct score in BOTH sections in order to be awarded the CERTIFICATE.

Is the EXAM an open “book exam?” If so, what does that mean?
Yes. The EXAM is “open book.” That means the person taking the exam can use whatever published CISM resources that are available. This means books, journal articles, study guides, audio and video publications can all be used as resources to assist the person in answering the EXAM questions.

Doesn’t an “open book” exam defeat the purpose of having an exam?
No. Open book exams are frequently given in colleges and universities. Remember the goal of the exam is to promote the acquisition and expression of knowledge. The ability to acquire and transfer such knowledge is associated with understanding. Thus, the EXAM is conceived of not only as a test of understanding, but an exercise in learning, as well.

How do you know that the person taking the EXAM is indeed the person he or she says they are?
The EXAM is taken on the “honor system.” The person taking the EXAM attests to the fact the he or she is indeed to person taking the exam and is doing so without the help of anyone else. Failure to attend to the “honor system” would be in violation of most professional codes of conduct and ethical guidelines.

Are there any timing limitations that pertain to the exam?
After you register there are no requirements for when you start the exam, however, once you have started it, you have to complete it within 1 year.

How many times can I take the EXAM if I fail it?
If you fail the exam, after 12 hours, you will be able to retake the section(s) that you failed. You may take the EXAM a maximum of 3 times for no additional assessment fee. Should you fail on the 3rd attempt, you must register again. Remember you must pass BOTH sections to be awarded the CERTIFICATE.

Will I be able to see the items I got right and wrong?
No. You will only receive a PASS or a FAIL for each of the two sections. If you fail, you only have to retake the section(s) you failed. In other words, if you pass one section but fail the other, the section passed does NOT have to be repeated along with the section failed.

How long does the certification last?
CCISM Certification is good for 5 years. At the end of that period you would take a small, re-certification exam based on current CISM topics and resources. In this manner, certificants are encouraged to stay current with the field.