Infant Mental Health Specialist and Infant Mental Health Mentor applicants must pass an exam prior to earning Endorsement®.
The exam is generally offered twice annually, in March and September. Please see the Events Calendar for dates. If you have questions about policies related to the Endorsement® exam, please visit our Endorsement® Policies.
The exam has two parts, both are based on the Competency Guidelines®.
Part One: Multiple Choice
- A majority of the multiple-choice questions will be focused on the competency areas found under the Theoretical Foundations and Direct Service Skills domains found within the Competency Guidelines®
- The Theoretical Foundations and Direct Service Skill domains address an exam respondent’s IMH knowledge specific to work with infants (0-36 months) and their families
- Within Theoretical Foundations, there will be more questions from the areas of infant/ young child development & behavior; attachment, separation, trauma grief, & loss; and disorders of infancy/early childhood
- Within Direct Service Skills, there may be more from screening & assessment and parent-infant/very young child relationship-based therapies & practices.
- Most questions will be related to direct service, but there will be some questions related to reflective supervision/consultation, policy, and research
- The multiple-choice section is the same for all exam respondents: Infant Mental Health Specialist (IMHS), Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical (IMHM-C), Infant Mental Health Mentor-Policy (IMHM-P), Infant Mental Health Mentor-Research/Faculty (IMHM-R/F)
- Knowledge gained through course work, specialized in-service training, and self-study will be most useful in this section of the exam
Part Two: Vignettes/Scenarios
- This section is intended to measure the applicant’s capacity to apply his/her knowledge of IMH principles and concepts into practice and to demonstrate a reflective, relationship-based approach
- While all of the competency areas are important, the ones under the Reflection, Thinking, and Working with Others domains are important to the qualitative section for IMHS and IMHM-C exam respondents
- Knowledge/skills gained through receiving reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) about direct service experiences (for IMHS and IMHM-C exam respondents) and about the RSC provided to others (for IMHM-C exam respondents) will be most useful in this section of the exam
- The competencies found under Administration will be the primary focus of the IMHM-P exam
- The competencies found under Research & Evaluation will be the primary focus of the IMHM-R/F exam
Preparation for Exam
Please do not feel as though you need to wait to begin studying for the Endorsement® exam until you receive the results of your application review. We encourage Endorsement® applicants to begin studying as soon as they decide that they hope to sit for an upcoming exam. Download What to know About the Endorsement® Exam.
Self-assessment: The Getting Started Guide for Endorsement®, which is based on the Competency Guidelines®, will be an important reference in preparing for the exam. Applicants can refer to the Getting Started Guide and/or feedback received about the review of their applications to identify areas where additional study may be useful. When considering the specialized in-service trainings, it is important to note that training series, that occur over time and include opportunities for reflective discussion offer better preparation for the qualitative section of the exam than “one and done” training sessions.
One’s disciplinary background may also provide guidance, i.e., applicants who come from a background that emphasizes development may find they require more related to mental health competencies like mental and behavioral disorders in adults, supportive counseling, intervention/treatment planning, etc. While those from a mental health background may need more in areas such as infant/very young child development & behavior, developmental guidance, typically developing attachment, etc. The indexed list of resources (see list on left) can be used to finding readings specific to the knowledge/skill area where more study is needed.
Guidance from Provider(s) of RSC, if applicable: Applicants are encouraged to engage their provider of RSC to think together about the applicant’s professional journey, capacity for reflection, and understanding of parallel process all in relation to readiness for the exam. The paper version of the reference rating form can be used to solicit feedback related to knowledge and skill areas of the competencies. If you are interested in reviewing PDF versions of the reference rating items with your RSC provider, you can see them here. If gaps in knowledge are identified, the indexed list of resources (see list on left) can be used to identify readings. If the provider of RSC expresses reservations related to the capacity to apply IMH principles into practice, the applicant is encouraged to continue with RSC and the on-going assessment of skills in the areas of Reflection, Thinking, and Working with Others.
Study: In addition to selecting readings from the list of resources, specific to your own areas of need, applicants are encouraged to review the notes, slides, and materials from the specialized in-service trainings in which they have participated.