No matter how many precautions employers take, accidents in the workplace are inevitable. Women tend to get injured in the workplace less than men do, accounting for 38 percent of all workplace injuries in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For men and women alike, disability management specialists attempt to prevent as many workplace injuries as possible, overseeing safety programs and managing currently disabled workers. The Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission offers the only designation for disability management professionals.
Benefits of Certification
The Certified Disability Management Specialist designation looks great on a resume and gives you an edge when gaining a position as a disability management specialist. Not only can the CDMS certification help you get a job, it can give you a boost in your current position. By earning the CDMS designation, you show your employer and clients that you’ve taken the extra steps to gain additional know-how and skills in the industry. Along with disability management specialists, other positions that benefit from CDMS certification include human resources, occupational health, risk management and rehabilitation counseling.
Are You Eligible?
The CDMS Commission doesn’t hand out its certification to just anyone; you have to qualify for and earn it. Eligibility requirements include a bachelor’s degree in any field or a state-registered nurse license and at least 12 months of full-time employment working in disability management services. Other requirements include agreeing to abide by the CDMS Code of Ethics; submitting an application with official college transcripts and employment verification documents; and paying an application fee, with a discount given for those paying by credit card.
Taking the Exam
Once you pass the eligibility hurdle, you can take the CDMS certification exam. Offered four days in the spring and fall, the CDMS exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. You’ll have three and a half hours to complete the computer-based test, proctored at 275 locations throughout the United States. Before taking the exam, you should be familiar with topics like work interruption case management, workplace intervention, disability program management and benefit administration. As an extra helping hand, the CDMS Commission gives you sample test questions, practice tests, exam outlines and a suggested reading list to help you prepare.
Maintaining the Credential
After earning the CDMS certification, you’ll have to work to maintain it by renewing every five years. To recertify, you must complete and submit a renewal application and pay a renewal fee. You’ll also have to earn at least 80 hours of continuing education credits, including four hours of ethics courses, during the five year renewal period. Or, you can opt to retake and pass the certification exam. The CDMS allows you to keep track of CE hours online.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, 2011
- Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission: Certified Disability Management Specialist
- Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission: Eligibility Criteria
- Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission: CDMS Guide for Candidate Certification
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images