FAQs for Perinatal Mental Health Certification
For more details about the Perinatal Mental Health Certification visit the Certification page.
I’ve heard there are separate professional tracks for certification? Can you tell me more?
Yes, you can get a Perinatal Mental Health Certification in one of three specialties: Psychotherapy; Psychopharmacology; or Affiliated Professionals. There is a unified exam for all, but the educational prerequisites must be completed in your specialty.
What is the value of becoming certified in perinatal mental health and having PMH-C after my name?
Having a true certification program in perinatal mental health, and PMH-C as the universal symbol for specialists, highlights the importance of the field and need for specialists. Here are some examples of additional benefits to you as a provider:
- Listing in our online perinatal mental health provider directory, which is available to the public and used by PSI coordinators and others to make referrals.
- Families can find you, making the path to care more efficient
- Insurance companies can identify you as a perinatal mental health specialist.
- Other perinatal mental health specialists can connect with you more easily.
What are the educational requirements to sit for the certification exam?
Educational requirements are:
- Psychotherapy specialty: Graduate degree
- Psychiatric specialty: Medical Degree/Advanced Practice Nursing Degree
- Affiliated professionals: Professional credential
What are the training prerequisites to sit for the exam?
Completion of evidence-based perinatal mental health certificate training: minimum 14 hours certificate training + 6 hours advanced training. PSI offers advanced trainings, but approved alternate advanced trainings in your track will also qualify for the 6 hours. To request review for a course for approval, complete this form.
Does a candidate have to take a PSI advanced course, or are there alternatives?
There are several alternate trainings approved as an advanced PMH courses. You can submit a course to be considered for approval as an advanced course by completing this form. You must upload the course agenda and other supporting materials for the course to be considered for approval.
What are the practice requirements to sit for the exam?
You must have at least 2-years work experience relevant to the field of perinatal mental health. You must have provided services relevant to your specialty area: e.g., psychological services for psychotherapy; psychiatric prescribing for psychopharmacology; practice-based work that directly involves perinatal mental health for affiliated professions. You do not have to have 2-years of experience where you only worked with the perinatal population solely for 2 years, but rather that your 2-years professional experience includes at least some work with the population.
Can someone take the advanced trainings prior to the 2-day (14 hour) initial training?
No, participants must complete the initial PMD certificate training before taking an advanced course. A perinatal mental health certificate training (of at least 14 hours) is a prerequisite for the advanced training.
Where and when can I take the Certification exam?
The exam is available at Pearson Vue testing centers, available around the US and many other countries. FIND A TEST CENTER HERE.
Can I take any of the advanced trainings (psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, affiliated professional?)
You can take any of the trainings. However, you must complete the training in your specialty before you sit for the certification exam.
Can I request a two-day PMD or advanced training to be held in my community?
Submit an online application if you’d like to help bring any of the trainings to your community: the 2-day PMD certificate course, and/or the 3rd day advanced training. https://www.postpartum.net/professionals/trainings-events/training-application/
Once I am certified, what are the minimum continuing education hours per year needed to keep the certification current?
You will need to report 6 hours per year or 12 every two years of continuing education in perinatal mental health. In-person or webinar courses are allowed. Please write to email@example.com for more information about how to submit your ongoing CE hours.
What is the price of the certification exam?
If I don’t pass, do I need to pay to re-take the test?
PSI requires that candidates must wait 3 months between exam attempts. This waiting period exists for exam security reasons and secondary to having one test in the field. It is recommended that the candidate review exam blueprint and other materials to obtain a passing score. Candidates may retest up to 3 times. If a passing score is not obtained after the third attempt, the candidate will need to reapply and seek approval.
There is a $500 fee each time you take the exam.
How many times can I retake the test?
Exam Pass Rate
As of January 2021, approximately 96% of exam takers passed the exam in their first attempt.
A full list of PMH-C’s can be found here (updated monthly)
What happens if I fail to renew the certification?
The PMH-C certification expires every two years. Certificants need to renew on or before the same day of the second year after their initial certification to renew their PMH-C. Failure to renew will result in the automatic placement of the certification in “Suspended” status and the inability to use the PMH-C credentials. Renewal of the PMH-C requires the submission of 12 CEs related to their PMH-C track. The renewal will be good for two years. If the certification status remains “Suspended” for more than six (6) months, the certification will be classified as “Expired”. The candidate will have to reapply for a single 6-month extension of the recertification deadline to complete the requirements. The application for an extension and a $75 extension fee must be received before the recertification deadline and the certification expiration date. Please complete the form below to apply for an extension. There is also a link to pay the fee below. The PSI Certification staff will respond in writing via email that the extension has been granted. The extension is only for submitting the recertification application. The next certification period expiration date is based on the date of initial certification. Failure to renew the certification a year after the initial certification expires will require a re-examination.
Step 1 – Fill out the Extension Form Application
Step 2 – Pay the $75 Extension Fee
Is there a fee to keep my certification current? If so, how much?
No fee is required to keep your certification current.
Is the certification exam be available in countries outside the US?
Yes, you can take the certification exam in other countries. There are about 500 test centers globally. However, the exam is available only in English at this time.
How do I register to take the test?
You must fill out the pre-exam registration form first, so we can enter all potential testing candidates in our system, and determine eligibility. This is important for both current PSI members and non-members. To get started, please take a few moments to complete the following form*: Certification Application
Completing this form will help us begin to build your candidate profile, which is necessary for Pearson VUE to get you into their testing system.
Important: We cannot begin your registration process and you will not be able to sit for this test until we have this information and confirm your eligibility.
I’m wondering about the criteria to determine a petition process that allows clinicians who have worked in the field to bypass the certification test based on experience?
We don’t have any grandfathering/grandmothering process for certification. All candidates must pass the test to receive certification.
What is the exam’s anticipated format (e.g. multiple-choice, essay, a combination)?
The exam is 125 multiple choice questions, and you have 3 hours to complete the exam. All question/answers are multiple choice. The questions will be a mixture of statement-based and case examples. There are no questions that require essay answers
To study, review the 2-day training (14-hour PMAD training) materials and the blueprint located here.
If you did not take the PSI 2-day certificate course, you can purchase the s-day training manual to use a a study guide here.
Other than reviewing prior training materials is there some form of study guide?
We have a blueprint that outlines the areas that will be covered. At this time, a review of past training materials and manual is your best study guide. Additionally, you can purchase an updated PSI 2-day training manual for $40 at THIS LINK.
Another option is to take a new course in person or online.
Is there a training manual for the advanced psychotherapy course?
Yes, you can purchase the advanced psychotherapy manual for $20 at THIS LINK.
Are scholarships available?
There are a limited number of scholarships available. We are grateful to the Robyn Cohen memorial scholarship fund, to be able to award two scholarships a year. After you’ve been approved to take the exam, you can submit an application to the scholarship fund here.
If you’d like to donate toward our scholarship fund, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advanced Trainings must be in person, but I have heard that some Online training have been approved. What are the criteria?
For an online training to qualify as an advanced course for PMH-C certification, here are the criteria:
- All of the PSI Advanced Trainings that have been rescheduled as ZOOM Webinars during the pandemic qualify for the certification requirement.
- The online training has to have a significant live component where the participants have direct contact with the instructor, for example on Zoom or another video platform. An online webinar without 2-way video is not sufficient.
- PSI has to receive and review the course agenda/syllabus and see the certificate of completion.
- Having a CE component is a plus, but not required.
- Instructor(s) must have completed PMH training and have relevant and significant practical experience in perinatal mental health.The instructor being certified is a huge plus, but not required at this time.
- The instructor must be listed on the PSI PMH online directory.
- Anyone can apply to have a course approved for certification, but attendees are responsible for sending in their own individual application with materials to take the PMH-C exam.
What happens when I need to cancel the test within 48 hours of the test date?
According to PearsonVue policies, cancellations must be made 48 hours before the test date. If, for some reason, a cancellation needs to be made due to illness or emergency, please email email@example.com
What happens if I need to cancel my scheduled exam due to a standard medical or family emergency?
If a candidate states that they or a family member cannot attend an upcoming exam due to a medical or family emergency, they may submit a request with Pearson VUE Customer Service for a complimentary reschedule. Candidates will be asked to submit documentation from a medical professional that contains clinic letterhead, candidate name (or family member name), and date(s) covered. Pearson VUE Customer Service will review the documentation, then assist the candidate with rescheduling. If the document provided is not sufficient, Pearson VUE will ask for additional documentation from the candidate. Additionally, candidates may submit emergency reschedule requests for car accidents, death of a family member, military deployment, and ID loss. Documentation for these events can include a police report, obituary, military orders, and copy of application for a new ID.
How do I schedule a test with accommodations?
If you have any feedback, or a new question, please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your suggestions!