Click here if you have questions about the Certification in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program.


CISM is most accurately defined as an integrated multi-component continuum of psychological interventions to be provided in the context of acute adversity, trauma, and disaster on an as needed basis to appropriate recipient populations. CISM is not a singular technique nor a treatment for acute stress disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, posttraumatic depression, or bereavement and grief.

The CISM Certification, offered in partnership by UMBC's Department of Emergency Health Services and UMBC Training Centers, is the world's first university-based certification in the field of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and psychological crisis intervention.

The goal of the certification is to foster enhanced knowledge about crisis intervention and disaster response from the CISM perspective. In doing so it is hoped that research and practice shall be fostered as well. Certification is a certification of KNOWLEDGE, not practice per se, relevant to CISM and crisis intervention and disaster response. However, we believe that better practice is based upon increased knowledge.

The certification is EXAMINATION-based, which will be delivered online and will be in an open-book format.

CISM Certification is for:

Benefits of Certification in CISM

  1. The UMBC certification is an attestation of knowledge. Currently certificates in the field are merely certificates of attendance. There is no way of knowing whether anything was actually learned in an attendance based certification course.
  2. The UMBC certification is a demonstration that the certificant endorses and is committed to a higher standard in the field other than mere attendance of workshops.
  3. The UMBC certification can serve as an initial international platform for a standard of recognition and care.
  4. Successful certificants may use the designation CISM to denote their status.
  5. The UMBC certification may be utilized by employers as a means of differentiating applicants.
  6. Certification may serve as a means of assuring program coordinators and crisis intervention or disaster response team leaders that team members possess a similar baseline of knowledge.

CISM Certification Requirements

Only those individuals who have completed the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) courses that are listed below are qualified to take the test for certification in CISM.

  1. Assisting Individuals in Crisis
  2. Group Crisis Intervention
It is suggeted that these courses have been taken within the last 5 years to ensure greatest relevance, however, that time frame is not mandatory. A detailed study guide is also available to use in preparation for the exam. To order the study guide please email aisupport@icisf.org and they will assist you. Remember the exam is open book but resource materials should be reviewed and coordinated for easy access prior to actually accessing the exam.

ICISF now offers an online CISM Practical Review and Update Course. Check their Event Calendar for the upcoming schedule of courses.


The cost to take the CISM Examination is $295.00. This includes the initial test fee as well as two additional retakes. Upon registration, you will be prompted to pay with a credit card, which is currently the only accepted form of payment.


Follow the link below and you will be able to take the CISM certification test. You will be required to pay $295 and answer a few questions regarding your profession and prerequisite course qualifications.

Critical Incident Stress Management Certification Test

Contact Us

If you have questions about the CISM Certification, please contact cism@umbc.edu and someone will respond to you shortly. Also, please visit www.icisf.org as they are a valuable resource for all your CISM needs.