Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS)

Michigan leads the nation in Certified Brain Injury Specialists, a certification awarded by The Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS) for both entry-level staff and experienced professionals working in brain injury services. ACBIS provides staff and professionals the opportunity to learn key information about brain injury, demonstrate their learning in a written examination, and earn a nationally recognized credential.

Certification is based on a comprehensive training manual covering the following topics:

  • Incidence and epidemiology of brain injury
  • Continuum of services
  • Brain anatomy and brain-behavior relationships
  • Functional impact of brain injury
  • Effective treatment approaches
  • Children and adolescents with brain injury
  • Health and medical management
  • Family issues
  • Legal and ethical issues

Certification is not restricted to any one profession or discipline. Rather, it is intended for anyone who delivers services specific to brain injury survivors.

All new paid applicants receive a one-year subscription to The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. This reflects a commitment to ensuring that Certified Brain Injury Specialists have access to the latest brain injury research, treatment, and practice information

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Applicants must have had 500 hours of currently verifiable direct contact experience with an individual or individuals with brain injury.
  2. Experience can be paid employment and/or academic internship.
  3. Experience must have included formal supervision or have been conducted while the applicant operated under a professional license.
    • Volunteer work does not qualify.
  4. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent.

ACBIS Training

Official ACBIS training is provided by our Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainers (CBIST) and is offered throughout the year. Training is not required to sit for the examination. You may complete self-study if you wish.

BIAMI’s Certified Brain Injury Trainers

The Association is grateful to our core team of volunteer Certified Brain Injury Trainers and their organizations for their commitment to education:

  • Cindy Barrus, PT, MM, CBIST
  • Spectrum Health Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
  • Michael O’Connor, OTR\L, CBIST
  • O’Connor Occupational Therapy Services, PLLC
  • Martin Waalkes, PhD, CBIS
  • Hope Network Rehabilitation Services

Webinar Training
Live Webinars are scheduled when there is a timely and pressing issue in the brain injury community the BIAMI community is interested in. Pre-recorded webinars are available upon request to those applying through BIAMI or those who purchased the training.

The Essential Brain Injury Guide 5.0 may be ordered through the BIAA Marketplace.

For more training resources, visit our ACBIS Training Overview page.

Certification Examination

Candidates must pass the certification examination with a score of 80% or higher. The exam can only be taken after all forms and fees have been submitted, processed, and an approval email has been received.

You must arrange your own individual proctor for the exam. If you cannot find a proctor, BIAMI will proctor individuals for a fee of $50. Please call the office to schedule your test.

Notification of Exam Score: Candidates will receive immediate notification via email of their exam score upon completing the online examination.

Retakes: Candidates who do not pass the examination on the first administration may take one retest within one year of the initial application date at no additional charge. An applicant who does not pass after two attempts is welcome to reapply when further prepared.


In order to maintain certification, both Certified Brain Injury Specialists (CBIS) and Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainers (CBIST) are required to pay annual renewal fees and either (1) satisfy continuing education requirements or (2) retake and pass the examination.

The annual renewal requirements and instructions on how to submit your materials are listed on the BIAA’s page regarding the certification renewal process. Renewals may be handled online.

How to Apply for an ACBIS Certification

  1. Create an account at the ACBIS Certification portal. This will become your individual certification dashboard.
    a. Enter your first and last names.
    b. Enter your email address. Make sure the email address is entered correctly, because all further communication from the platform will be sent to that address.
    c. Retype the security code you see.
    d. Click on the blue “Register” button.
  2. After you receive a confirmation email that you have created a new user profile on the YouTestMe platform, make a note of the password provided so that you may change it to a password you wish to use.
  3. You will be directed to a screen that says “My assignments.” Select the certification you are pursuing. You will be directed to a screen listing the steps of becoming certified – the initial application, exam preparation, and examination, followed by the annual renewal (if applicable).
  4. Click on (PCBIS, CBIS, or CBIST) Application. An Instructions pop‐up will appear. Read the information provided in full and confirm your agreement to be bound by ACBIS policies and procedures by clicking on the checkbox below the instructions and then clicking the blue “Start” box. Be sure you are in the Test Tab and not the Description Tab.
  5. Update your profile information. Answer every question and click on the blue “Save and continue” button. If no information needs to be updated, click on the “Continue Without Changes” button.
  6. Complete the application.
    • Answer all questions. As questions are answered, the progress bar on the right hand side changes, as does the chart of answered and unanswered questions.
    • Provide the employment verification form to a qualified verifier.
    • Self‐verification is not allowed. In a position of self‐employment, an applicant’s eligibility must be verified by a professional colleague or supervising board member.
    • Upload your resume/CV in Word or PDF format.
    • Indicate your method of payment of the application fee.
    • To pay online by credit card, click here.
    • To pay by check, include this accompanying form.
  7. When you have finished filling out the application form, click the red “Finish test” button in the upper right. You will be asked to confirm that you are finished. If you select “No,” you may return to the form as needed; if you select “Yes,” your answers will be submitted to the ACBIS administration team.
  8. Once the application is complete (form, payment, resume/CV, and employment verification), your file will be reviewed. You will receive an automated email when the status of your application is available. You can view your status in by logging in to the ACBIS Certification Program Portal.
    a. If approved/passed, you will be able to sit for the online examination in the next step(s) of your respective certification program course.
    b. If denied/failed, you will receive an email stating modifications are needed. You can make corrections by clicking into your respective certificate course. Click on the “Modify” button. Feedback about the denial/failed status will be provided at this step.
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