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Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS)

The instructions for submitting an individual CBIS application are described below. If, after reviewing the guidelines and instructions below, you have questions about the process, please contact the ACBIS Coordinator at 703-761-0750 x631 or

All new paid applicants will 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. The qualifying 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.


The process for submitting an individual CBIS Application with our online system is described further down this page. Instructions for group applications are found at the Group Administrator Page

Please note that ACBIS applications are maintained for one year (starting with the date of application). After one year, applications will expire and applicants who have not completed the process (application approval, testing and retesting if necessary) will be required to reapply entirely if they wish to further pursue certification. 


Official ACBIS training is provided by Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainers (CBIST) and is offered at many BIAA state affiliate conferences and events as well as at many service providers across the country. Contact the ACBIS office to find a training site in your area or to arrange for a training to occur at your own facility. Training is not required to sit for the examination. You may complete self-study if you wish.

The Essential Brain Injury Guide can be ordered through this link:

Certification Examination

Candidates must score 80% or higher on the certification examination. The exam can only be taken after all forms and fees have been submitted and processed and an approval email has been received. Applicants who have completed the training or self-study and are ready to take the examination must read the instructions further down this page.

The exam can also be offered to individuals as long as a CBIST or other approved individual proctors the exam. Please note: The certification fee does not include any expenses associated with proctoring an individually administered exam. If hiring an outside proctor is necessary, the applicant will be responsible for these costs.

Notification of Exam Score: Candidates will receive immediate notification via email of their exam score upon completing the online examination. Information about individual candidates and examination results will not be released to any party other than candidates or group administrators. Candidates' scores are NOT released to anyone, including the candidate, by telephone.

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 ready. Please get in touch with your Group Administrator or Proctor to coordinate this process. 

Accommodations: Please visit this section of the ACBIS website for information on requesting examination accommodations.

Examination Suggested Resources

The examination is based on current knowledge of theory and practice in brain injury care. The resources recommended in this document, although not comprehensive, may be useful to review in preparing for the examination. You are encouraged to use a variety of sources as part of any study program.

NEW FOR 2017: We are happy to announce that we have developed a more detailed study outline, which can be downloaded here and should be used in conjunction with the Essential Brain Injury Guide, Edition 5.0 (EBIG). The original ACBIS outline mapped to the EBIG can be found below:

Training Section  Chapter Number Chapter Topic % Questions by Topic
Introduction, Overview, and Etiology 1 Brain Injury Overview 7%
4 Mild Traumatic Brain Injury 6%
Neuroanatomy and Neuroplasticity 2 Neuroanatomy and Neuroimaging 6%
3 Neuroprotection and Neuroplasticity 3%
Medical and Physical Issues 6 Medical Complications 6%
9 Physical Complications 1%
5 Disorders of Consciousness 1%
Fatigue and Sleep Disturbance 4%
Neurocognitive Issues 10 Cognitive Complications 7%
11 Neurobehavioral Complications 7%
22 Neuropsychology 3%
Psychosocial Issues 12 Psychosocial Complications 3%
13 Substance Misuse 4%
Rehabilitation Philosophy and Cultural Competency 15 Rehabilitation Philosophy 6%
18 Cultural Competency 1%
8 Aging with a Brain Injury 3%
19 Gender and Sexuality 3%
Special Populations 16 Pediatrics and Adolescents 6%
20 Military Populations 1%
17 Families 6%
Care Management and Legal Issues  21 Care Management 3%
14 Legal and Ethical Issues 4%
 Outcomes 23 Outcome Measurement 6%
24 Return to Work 3%
25 Participation

Application Process

The process described below is intended for those who are pursuing CBIS Certification on an individual basis. If you are a part of a group, please contact your Group Administrator for further instructions.

  • Please note that the forms require use of Internet Explorer 7 or higher, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
  • Ensure that all "Pop-Up" Blockers are disabled.

Step One: 

  • Please complete and submit a USER ACCOUNT SETUP FORM. A confirmation email detailing your next steps will be sent to you.

Step Two: 

  • Upon your receipt of the User Account Setup Approval Email, you will need to complete and electronically submit the CBIS APPLICATION FORM – a link to this application is included with your confirmation email after submitting the User Account Setup Form. The following items are necessary to complete this application:
    • Attach an electronic version of your resume to the application in the allotted area.
    • You will need to have made a form of payment prior to clicking “Submit” on the application. If paying by check, you will need to provide a check number or, if paying by credit card, the BIAA Marketplace Confirmation number.
  • Payments made by credit card for individual applications ($300) can be processed through this link
  • Payments made by check must have this accompanying form.
  • Please note that applications will not be approved until payment has been confirmed.

Step Three, Testing and Certification Process:

  • Please have your proctor refer to the email that was sent to them after the completion of the GROUP ADMINISTRATOR/PROCTOR ACCOUNT SETUP APPLICATION. This email provides information that details the next steps of the testing process. 
    • If you are an individual applicant, you will need to identify a proctor. An acceptable proctor is a CBIST, colleague, or supervisor.
  • Upon passing the examination, certificants will receive their CBIS certificates via email to the email address they provided on the initial application. Those who did not pass will receive their score via email to the email address provided on the initial application.

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1608 Spring Hill Road, Suite 110 • Vienna, VA 22182 • Phone: 703-761-0750 • Fax: 703-761-0755
National Brain Injury Information Center (Brain Injury Information Only) 1-800-444-6443

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