Requires a high school diploma or GED.
Requires completion of at least 480 hours of college of university courses of any type (30 semester hours or 40 quarter hours), plus having worked in the field of mental health or developmental disabilities for at least one year.
Requires completion of at least 960 hours of college or university courses of any type (60 semester hours or 80 quarter hours), plus having worked in the field of mental health or developmental disabilities for at least two years.
Requires a bachelor’s degree in a mental health or developmental disabilities field, plus having worked in the mental health field at least three years.
The Basic Exam
Regardless of the certification level sought, all candidates must pass the Level 1 certification examination. This is an open-book, 201-question multiple choice test that is taken at home (or sometimes at a school or worksite). The test was developed from a list of 600 learning objectives compiled from sources in more than two-dozen states, including training programs, focus groups, job descriptions and other input.
In addition to passing the Level 1 exam, certification for Levels 2, 3 and 4 require completion of an essay test concerning situations the applicant might encounter on the job. Certification at a higher level can be achieved at the same time as taking the Level 1 exam or it can be done later. College transcripts are required to support higher level applications.
The essay test requirement for Levels 2, 3, and 4 is in addition to the education and experience requirements, which are strictly observed. There are no longer any exceptions allowing additional experience for any of the required education.