Disability management specialists work with employees with disabilities or who require workplace modifications. This can include something as simple as ergonomic adjustments to prevent injuries or something as complex as managing a complete job restructuring to accommodate a disability. Additionally, many disability management specialists are responsible for the workers' compensation program at their workplaces, as well as ensuring compliance with state and federal disability laws. Certification demonstrates sufficient knowledge and experience to adequately perform this job.
Study and Work History
Certification for disability management specialists is through the Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission and limited to candidates with a four-year undergraduate degree or a registered nurse license. Additionally, candidates need to prove they have 12 months of work experience in the disability management field. Disability management specialists who work as freelance contractors for smaller companies must submit a form with information regarding the kind of work done for three separate employers and the number of hours they worked for those employers.
The CDMS certification exam is offered twice a year, in March and September. It is a computer-based exam that consists of 175 questions. You are allowed three and a half hours to complete the exam. Practice exams are available on the CDMS website. The CDMS also provides a suggested reading list on its website to help guide your studies. There are four practice domains to cover, and the CDMS offers an optional core knowledge curriculum designed to cover that information.
Get (Associate) Certified
If you want to become a certified disability specialist but do not meet the requirements for a CDMS certificate, the CDMS offers another certification, the Associate Disability Management Specialist. Unlike the CDMS, there is no required minimum education or experience to qualify for the ADMS. This is the certification that is best suited for entry-level disability management specialists. Once granted, this designation is good for three years.
Learn to Earn
To earn the ADMS designation, a candidate must complete all the modules in the Core Knowledge Curriculum, which covers four practice domains. After the modules are complete, the scores for all post-tests is averaged. Successful candidates are those who get 80 percent or more correct on these exams. In order to renew their designation at the end of three years, candidates must submit proof that they completed 30 hours of continuing education credit.