Eligibility Criteria for the ABSM Behavioral Sleep Medicine Exam
As the knowledge base in sleep disorders medicine has broadened, a specialized area has emerged that is referred to as “Behavioral Sleep Medicine.” This term was selected because it: 1) clearly denotes the two fields from which this domain has emerged (Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine and Sleep Disorders Medicine), 2) suggests that training, clinical practice and research within this arena is behaviorally focused and 3) appropriately implies that the field is open to doctoral level sleep specialists with the relevant training.
The domain of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM) comprises the behavioral dimension of normal and abnormal sleep mechanisms and the prevention, assessment, and treatment of sleep disorders and associated behavioral and emotional problems through the application of established principles of behavior change.
Persons successfully passing the exam will have met all requirements to receive the BSM certification. Such persons may use the designation “Certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine (CBSM)”.
Until sufficient accredited training programs are established, certification may be based on alternative tracks based on combined training and experience.
Eligibility Requirements for the Examination
BSM certification requires an appropriate educational background, clinical experience, and a passing grade on an examination. This document describes the educational and training credentials necessary to sit for the examination, as well as features of the examination.
A. General Eligibility Requirements
Applications must have the following:
- A doctoral degree in psychology, nursing or social work (e.g., PhD, PsyD, DNSc, ND, DNP, DSW, DHS, etc.) or equivalent in a health-science field.
- A currently valid license granted by a state, provincial or federal authority in the United States or Canada to provide mental heath-related clinical services
- Experience that fulfills either the Standard Track or Alternate Track requirements.
- A signed acknowledgment by a supervisor that the above requirements have been met.
Behavioral Sleep Medicine Training/Experience
Standard Track – completion of a SBSM* accredited BSM training program. *please note the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine has assumed accreditation of BSM training programs from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Alternative Track - Applicants must be licensed and in practice for a minimum of 2 years. A minimum of 25% of the time in practice must be in behavioral medicine (e.g., pain management, obesity management, smoking cessation, stress management, etc.).
Waiver #1: Training/Clinical Experience
Applicants must provide evidence of a minimum of 3 months (480 hours) of fulltime experience in behavioral sleep medicine. If the experience is not obtained on a fulltime basis over 3 months, part-time experience must add up to the equivalent of 3 months fulltime experience (480 hours). All clinical experience must be completed by May 1 of the year the applicant plans to take the exam. This experience must be under the direct mentorship of a certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist, a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, or a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Specialties-Sleep Medicine. Twenty-four (24) hours of documented CEUs in behavioral sleep medicine workshops, courses, or meetings are required in addition to supervised training. Of these, 8 hours must be an overview of sleep disorders, 8 hours must be on normal sleep processes and assessment (i.e. PSG, MSLT, actigraphy), 8 hours must be on adult interventions. CEU credits must be approved by the ABSM. The ABSM will accept credits offered by AASM and SBSM. The ABSM Credentialing Committee will consider credits offered by other accredited educational providers.
Waiver #2: Clinical Experience
Applicants must provide evidence of clinical activity in behavioral sleep medicine for at least 2 years following completion of experience/training required for licensure, with the cumulative of 6 months (960 hours) clinical experience in behavioral sleep medicine. All clinical experience must be completed by May 1 of the year the applicant plans to take the exam. If the activity in BSM is not full-time, it must add up to the equivalent of 6 months fulltime experience (960 hours). The activity in behavioral sleep medicine must be comprehensive and sustained throughout the most recent two year period – specifically, the equivalent of ½ day per week. Twenty-four (24) hours of documented CEUs in behavioral sleep medicine workshops, courses, or meetings are required in addition to clinical experience. Of these, 8 hours must be an overview of sleep disorders, 8 hours must be on normal sleep processes and assessment (i.e. PSG, MSLT, actigraphy), 8 hours must be on adult interventions. CEU credits must be approved by the ABSM. The ABSM will accept credits offered by AASM and SBSM. The ABSM Credentialing Committee will consider credits offered by other accredited educational providers.
C. Documentation of the Alternate Route Training / Experience
The applicant must complete and submit the Training Verification Form(s) included in the application signed by (a) supervisor(s) documenting that the applicant meets the required training / experience in BSM. The applicant must provide sufficient detail to enable the BSM Exam Reviewers to thoroughly and fairly review the applicant’s qualifications. The BSM Exam Reviewers will not assume anything about the applicant’s training or experience that is not fully documented.
In cases in which the supervisor(s) is not available to sign the verification form, a current supervisor may sign the verification from if they are sufficiently satisfied that the applicant has completed the training outlined in the verification form.
The examination candidates will cover clinical aspects (including advanced diagnostic assessments and therapeutic techniques) as well as establishing and maintaining standards, conducting clinical research, assimilating new knowledge and skills into the BSM domain, and supervising BSM certification candidates.
- Basic Science/Sleep Knowledge – 10%
· Sleep Physiology
· Sleep Neuro-Pharmacology
· Circadian/Biological Rhythms
· Sleep Architecture
· Sleep Deprivation
- Behavioral Medicine General Principles/Theory – 20%
· Classical and Operant Conditioning
· Systematic Desensitization
· Exposure and Response Prevention (Flooding)
· Imagery Rehearsal
· Cognitive Restructuring
· Behavioral Activation
· Theories of Behavioral Change
- Sleep Disorders – 15%
· Breathing-Related Sleep Disorders
· Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
· Movement Disorders
- Clinical Management – 35%
· Behavioral Sleep Medicine
Image Rehearsal Therapy
Graduated Extinction/Extinction/Fading (Pediatrics)
Positive Routines (Pediatrics)
Urine Alarm/Dry-Bed Training (Pediatrics)
· Sleep Medicine
OSA (Various Treatments)
- Clinical Assessment – 20%
· Instrumentation (Diagnostic)
· Functional Analysis
· Initial Evaluation
· Treatment Monitoring
· Psychometric Assessment
· Understanding Sleep Reports
Cross-categorization areas address pediatrics, aging, adherence, co-morbidity, research, supervision.