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Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist (IECMHS) Endorsement Exam Takers

Dear Exam Test Takers,

First 5 Alabama has big news to share about changes to the requirements to earn Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist (IECMHS) Endorsement. Starting January 1, 2025, there will no longer be an exam to become endorsed as IECMHS. Instead, there will be additions and updates made to the requirements for the IECMHS Endorsement application.  These updates will ask for demonstration of standards related to what the exam was measuring for.   

First 5 Alabama is part of a network of professionals worldwide who use the Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement.  The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health oversees the implementation of Endorsement globally. The Alliance has written a memo explaining these changes, and all associations within the Alliance network will adopt them in January 2025.  Please review the memo HERE.

Here's what's changing for people who want to become endorsed as Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist starting in 2025:




Two years of supervised paid work experience delivering culturally sensitive, relationship-focused parent-infant psychotherapy—a dyadic mental health treatment aimed at enhancing the parent-infant attachment relationship and optimal infant development. These services are provided by a licensed or license-eligible infant and early childhood mental health therapist specializing in the treatment of infants/toddlers (perinatal-36 months or 36 months to 6 years) in primary caregiving relationships (i.e., biological, foster, fictive kin, adoptive parent or guardian).

The following work requirements must be met:

  • Two years of work experience; one year or full-time equivalent of supervised internship with direct parent-infant/child psychotherapy experience as described above may count towards the 2 years paid work experience requirement if the internship supervisor is an endorsed professional (MHS or MHM-C).

  • A master's degree or higher OR a professional mental health license from a state regulatory agency


  • A minimum of 33 clock hours is required.

  • Of the 33 required hours, 3 hours must be dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion in infant/early childhood mental health.

  • Of the 33 required hours, 10 hours must focus on parent-infant/child psychotherapy.

What does this mean for you?

If you're already trying to earn Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, or if you're thinking about it, you have some decisions to make. You can take the exam this year, or you can wait until 2025 when there won't be an exam anymore.  This applies to applicants and those who are retaking the exam.

You'll also need to think about how these changes fit with your experience. If you decide to wait until 2025, you'll have to show you meet the new requirements at that time. Don't ask for references now; wait until the new forms are ready in 2025.

Applications for IECMHS will be frozen August 2, 2024. After that, you won't be able to work on your application anymore.

Please reach out to us so that we can help you determine what this means for you based on whether you're taking the exam or waiting for the new requirements.

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