Endorsement FAQs

Endorsement® Process:


Q: How long does it take to go through the Endorsement process?

A: It varies. Some applicants begin and complete the process in two weeks and some may take two years or more. The length of time depends on multiple factors, such as - how many requirements are complete before the start of the application, whether or not the applicant has received reflective supervision before beginning the process, how much time and how often the applicant works on the application, how quickly the applicant sends in his/her transcripts, whether or not the applicant is required to take the exam, etc. You can discuss the timeline with us before beginning the process.


Q: How is the review process conducted?

A: After you submit and pay the processing fee, two reviewers (currently endorsed at your same category or higher) will look over your application.  They will go through your application one after the other to check your competencies and ensure you meet endorsement requirements. They will reach consensus about whether to approve or defer your application or put it on hold. If the latter decision is made, we will reach out to you to let you know of any changes the reviewers recommend for your application. If you are deferred, we will give you a chance to amend or add to your application before re-reviewing it. If you are approved, you will receive a congratulatory e-mail followed by an official certificate and letter in the mail.


Q: Can I have access to my reference rating forms?

A: Applicants cannot see the forms themselves, but if you do not waive your right to know their contents and you are deferred for some reason related to the reference ratings, we or your reference(s) will relay the reasons for the deferral to you.



Q: Why are we asked to receive an advisory review?

A: Applicants are asked to receive an advisory review to guide them through the Endorsement process. All advisors are Endorsed, so are a good resource to applicants on completing the application, using the EASy site, knowing what to expect, and, for Levels III and IV, exam preparation. The review will provide you with feedback prior to formal reviews to catch any areas you may have missed in your application.


Endorsement® Exam:


Q: What do I need to know about the exam?

A: You will receive resources and logistical information about the exam after you are approved to sit for it. The exam has two sections: multiple choice and essay. There are 60 questions in the multiple choice section and 1 -2 essays (depending on your level and sub-designation: Clinical, Research/Faculty, Policy) in the essay section. You will have 1.5 hours to complete each section; you are allotted 3 hours for the whole exam. WA-AIMH will cover the testing center fee the first time you take the exam and you will be responsible for payment for any retakes.


Q: What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

A: In the event an applicant fails the exam, he/she will have the option to retake it 6 months after the exam date.


Q: What primary topics are covered in the multiple choice portion of the test

A: The multiple choice questions are related to the knowledge and skill areas of the competencies as indicated in the Competency Guidelines: 


Q: How should I study for the exam

A: Studying for the exam will vary from person to person. If you are currently engaged in relationship-based practice with infants and their families, receiveing RS/C and have consistenly updated your knowledge and skills through training, you will most likely be very well prepared.  There is a suggested list of resources and tip sheet for the exam found here (NEED LINK) 


Reflective Supervision:

Q: What are the requirements for RS/C


  • Infant Family Associate: No RS/C requirement, however, we recommend that all IMH professionals seek RS/C

  • Infant Family Specialist: must receive a minimum of 24 clock hours of RS/C in no less than one year and no more than a two year time frame. 

  • Infant Mental Health Specialists: Must receive a minimum of 50 clock hours of RS/C in no less than one year and no more than two year time frame. 

  • Infant Mental Health Mentor- Clinical: must have received a minimum of 50 clock hours of RS/C within the same 1-2 year time frame. 25 hours of the 50 must be about the provision of RS/C to others

  • Infant Mental Health Mentor- Policy: applicants are not required to receive RS/C

  • Infant Mental Health Mentor- Research/Faculty: applicants are not required to receive RS/C


Q: Am I only able to list supervisors who were formally trained in RS/C?

A:Reflective Supervision/Consultation criteria must come from an individual who has earned Endorsement® or vetting as an IMHS or IMHM-Clinical. The only exception is for applicants who are pursuing Infant Family Specialists and are Bachelor’s prepared; they can receive qualified RS/C from someone who is an IFS and Master’s prepared. 


Q: Can I receive reflective supervision from someone who is not endorsed?

A: Yes. While ideally you would seek out reflective supervision from endorsee, we realize that this is not always possible. Your reflective supervisor can be any professional in the early childhood field who would meet the requirements at Level III or IV; before beginning supervision, you would need to verify this with us.



Training and Education:

Q: I have attended well over 30 hours of in service training; should I submit every training I ever attended?

A: All in-service training hours that meet criteria toward Endorsement® must be related to the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines®. Be sure to list which specific knowledge or skill area is covered at each training, e.g., attachment, separation and loss; cultural competence; etc. For a training to count toward Endorsement® at least one competency must have been covered. It is important to remember that Endorsement® reflects training specialization in the promotion of culturally sensitive, relationship-based practice promoting social and emotional well-being in the first years of life or infant mental health.


Although the minimum requirement is 30 hours, we expect Endorsement® applicants to document that they have achieved competency in almost all of the categories via college course work, on-the-job training, in-service opportunities and reflective supervision/consultation.

To demonstrate that the full range of competencies have been covered:

·       Most IFA applicants submit an average of 45 hours of in-service training experiences.

·       Most IFS applicants submit an average of 60 hours of in-service training experiences.

·       Most IMHS applicants submit an average of 75 hours of in-service training experiences.

·       Most IMHM applicants submit an average of 90 hours of in-service training experiences.


Q: How do I know when my EASy application demonstrates enough to show a competency area has been met?

A: This varies greatly depending on many factors including how long ago you took college courses, how specific the course or training is to infant mental health, number of hours, etc. Be sure to consult the competencies tab in your EASy application.

A minimum of two trained application reviewers carefully examine all the material in your application including college transcripts, in-service training record, and reference rating forms.  Application reviewers will be looking most closely at the competency areas. Competency must be documented by course work and/or in-service training. That is, work experience alone is not enough to document competency in areas such as attachment, separation, trauma, & loss or screening & assessment.



Q: How far back can I go when including trainings that meet criteria for endorsement

A: There is no limit on how long ago the training was attended to be counted towards requirements. However, it is not necessary to submit a comprehensive list of every training ever attended. Your entries should reflect a breadth and depth and demonstrate IMH competencies.


Q: Are there any trainings, conferences or courses that are mandatory while working toward endorsement?

A: Trainings do not need to be sponsored by WA-AIMh to be eligible or count towards endorsement. Many trainings you attend for your license or agency requirements qualify towards endorsement®. A specialized training that is eligible for Endorsement® should meet the following criteria:

1. Is culturally sensitive, relationship-focused and promote Infant Mental Health

2. Relates to one or more of the competencies in the Competency Guidelines®

3. Is specific to the Endorsement® for which you are applying.


Q: What is the difference between the specialized work experiences that meet criteria for IFS and IMHS?

A: Infant Family Specialist (IFS) work experience is typically broader and encompasses many of the ways the applicants might work with families with the families of infants and toddlers including case management, part C service coordination, parent education and family support.

Infant Mental Health Specialist (IMHS) work experiences are often (but not always) home-based and include the following interventions: advocacy, developmental guidance, emotional support, concrete assistance, and parent-infant/very young child relationship-based therapies and practices.  These therapies and practices are intended to explore issues related to attachment, separation, trauma, and unresolved losses as they affect the development, behavior and care of the infant/very young child. The therapies and practices may include but are not limited to parent-infant psychotherapy, interaction guidance, and child-parent psychotherapy.


Q: Does work experience with pregnant women and families count towards the work experience requirements for IFS and IMHS?

A: Yes, work with pregnant women and families does count towards the required work experience for IFS and IMHS.  However, the applicant’s work experience must ALSO include work with infants, toddlers and their families.



After Endorsement®

Q: How do I keep my endorsement current

A: You need to renew your endorsement annually, following the date on your endorsement letter. The following is recommended annually (will be required after 2020):

  • Membership with WA-AIMH or another infant mental health association

  • 15 clock hours of training related to culturally-sensitive, relationship-focused practice promoting infant mental health

  • 12 clock hours of reflective supervision/consultation (RS/C) for IFS, IMHS, IMHM-Clinical. If you have been endorsed as an IMHM for 3+ years, you no longer need to submit RS/C hours for nenewal

If you have questions email: endorsement@wa-aimh.org

Q: What happens to my Endorsement if I do not renew it in time?

A: Renewal deadlines are listed on your letter/email of endorsement. Renewal occurs one year after you become endorsed and you will receive an email about a 6-8 weeks prior to that date as a reminder.  If you do not turn in your renewal form documenting 15 hours of additional training from the previous year by that date, we will send three reminders out. If, by the third reminder, you still have not submitted your renewal form and/or renewed WA-AIMH membership, you will be taken off of the Registry and will no longer have use of the IMH-E designation.


Q: How do I indicate that I have earned the WA-AIMH endorsement?

A: The IMH-E® mark indicates that a person has earned Endorsement®. Use of the registered trademark is important whenever possible to distinguish from other systems of “endorsement.”



Sam Miles, MSW, IMH-E®

Infant Family Specialist


Q: I can’t find my certificate, how do I obtain a new one?

A: Email: endorsement@wa-aimh.org


Q: What happens to my Endorsement if a move to a different state?

A: There are 29 other states with Endorsement, and more are in the process of licensing it. If you move to one of these states, you will be transferred to their Registry and will renew with them from then on.