ACBIS provides the opportunity to learn important information about brain injury, to demonstrate learning in a written examination, and to earn a nationally recognized credential. There are three certification options representing distinct levels of experience and supervisory skills: Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS), Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer (CBIST), and Provisional Certified Brain Injury Specialist (PCBIS). Each certification requires demonstration of learning, through an examination, in the following domains:
- Acquired brain injury (ABI) and diagnostic imaging
- Medical, physical, cognitive, neurobehavioral, and psychosocial consequences of injury
- Brain injury in pediatrics and adolescents, as well as aging with a brain injury
- Concussions and mTBI, as well as disorders of consciousness
- Rehabilitation philosophy, outcome measurement, and care management
- Effect of injuries on families
- Cultural, gender, and sexuality issues
- Military populations
- Participation and return to work
Certification is not restricted to any one profession or discipline. Rather, it is intended for anyone who delivers services specific to brain injury.
The mission of the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS) is to provide education, training, certification, and ongoing resources for specialists in the brain injury community.
The Academy provides a body of knowledge that strives to improve the quality of care for individuals with brain injury.
In early 1990, 565 acute, sub-acute, and post-acute programs were surveyed regarding the training needs of licensed and non-licensed staff in brain injury services. Seventy-five percent of the respondents (45% response rate) indicated that specialized training is needed for licensed staff, and 84% indicated that training is needed for non-licensed staff. The majority of survey respondents also indicated they would give hiring preference and higher pay to individuals with brain injury training. Furthermore, 90% of the respondents agreed that the training curriculum include the following topics:
- Cognitive, psychological and social consequences of brain injury;
- Behavioral approach for managing challenging behaviors and promoting positive skills; and
- Techniques for effectively working with families.
In 1996, the Brain Injury Association of America established ACBIS as a standing committee of the association to address these training needs. ACBIS operates under its own by-laws as approved by the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America. ACBIS Committee Members are experienced professionals in the field of brain injury rehabilitation who volunteer their time and expertise to developing a certification program that meets the needs of the brain injury community.