Infant Mental Health Specialist and Infant Mental Health Mentor Endorsement applicants must pass an exam prior to earning Endorsement. The exam has two parts; both are based on the Competency Guidelines. The NCIMHA Getting Started Guide is an important reference in preparing for the exam.
If you are applying in a category that requires reflective supervision, applicants are encouraged to engage their reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) provider 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 unofficial versions 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, use the resource list to identify readings that will fulfill the gaps. If the provider of RSC expresses reservations related to the capacity to apply infant and early childhood mental health 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.
Part One (60 Multiple Choice Questions – 90 minutes)
The multiple-choice, or quantitative, section is primarily focused on infant and early childhood mental health knowledge specific to work with infants, young children, and their families. The multiple-choice section is the same for all Specialist and Mentor applicants.
Most questions will be related to direct service, but there will be some questions related to reflective supervision/consultation, policy, and research. Knowledge gained through coursework, specialized in-service training, and self-study will be most useful in this section of the exam.
Part Two (Vignettes – 90 minutes)
The qualitative section will ask for responses to vignettes. This section is intended to measure the applicant’s capacity to apply their knowledge of infant and early childhood mental health principles into practice and to demonstrate a reflective, relationship-based approach. Vignette sections are different for each category of Endorsement.
Infant Mental Health Specialist
While all of the competency areas are important, the ones under the Reflection, Thinking, and Working with Others domains are most important to the qualitative section for Specialists. In this category you will be asked to respond to two vignettes in the role of the clinician providing direct services to infants, toddlers and their families.
Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical
All of the competency areas are valuable, but the ones documented under the Reflection, Thinking, and Working with Others domains are most important to the qualitative section for Mentor Clinical applicants. In this category you will be asked to respond to two vignettes. One in the role of the clinician providing direct services to infants, toddlers and their families and the other as the supervisor/provider of RSC.
Infant Mental Health Mentor-Policy
The Administration domain is the primary focus of the Policy exam. Policy applicants are asked to demonstrate a capacity to promote infant and early childhood mental health principles and practices within and across systems.
Infant Mental Health Mentor-Research Faculty
The Research & Evaluation domain is the primary focus of the Research/Faculty exam. Research/Faculty applicants will demonstrate a commitment to infant and early childhood mental health principles and practices related to research or course planning and instruction. In the Research/Faculty exam, applicants are asked to respond to two vignettes. One scenario is more specific to teaching and the other scenario is more specific to empirical research.