Education and Work Requirements

Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Education (MEd), Doctorate in Education (EdD), Master of Social Work (MSW), Master of Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) or other degree specific to one’s professional focus in infant mental health; university certificate program, and/or course work in areas such as infant/very young child development, family-centered practice, cultural sensitivity, family relationships and dynamics, assessment, and intervention, in accordance with MI-AIMH Training Guidelines and Endorsement® Competencies. Official transcript(s) required


Minimum 30 clock hours of relationship-based education and training pertaining to the promotion of social-emotional development and/or the practice of infant mental health. Applicants will include as many hours as necessary to document that competencies (as specified in Competency Guidelines®) have been met

Specialized Work Experience

Two years, postgraduate, supervised work experiences providing culturally sensitive, relationship-focused, infant mental health services. This specialized work experience must be with both the infant/very young child and his/her biological, foster, or adoptive parent on behalf of the parent-infant relationship. Infant mental health services will include concrete assistance, advocacy, emotional support, developmental guidance, early relationship assessment, and parent-infant/very young child relationship-based therapies and practices. These therapies and practices may include but are not limited to parent-infant psychotherapy, interaction guidance, and child-parent psychotherapy and are intended to explore issues related to attachment, separation, trauma, and unresolved losses as they affect the development, behavior, and care of the infant/very young child. Those who meet criteria for Level III are working with the relationship between the infant/toddler and his/her primary caregiver to explicitly address any unresolved separations, traumas, grief, and/or losses that may be affecting the emerging attachment relationship between a caregiver(s) and the infant/toddler.  The unresolved losses, or “ghosts” might be from the caregivers’ own early childhood or may be more recent such as a difficult labor & delivery or a diagnosis of a chronic illness, delay, or disability for this infant/toddler.  

Professionals from a variety of disciplines, not only licensed mental health professionals, may perform the work that meets these criteria.  However, the applicant will need to have received the training necessary to provide this level of intervention AND receive RSC from a qualified professional about the intervention.  We acknowledge that it may be easier for a licensed mental health professional to find paid work in a program that provides this level of intervention.  However, professionals from other disciplines are not excluded from earning Endorsement® at Level III if they meet the criteria.

Work on unresolved losses does not have to be explicit with every family with whom the applicant works.  But, again, the applicant must have had the training and RSC that prepares them to provide that of intervention when it is appropriate for a referred family.

In some cases, 1 year of a supervised graduate internship with direct IMH practice experience as described above may be counted toward the 2 years paid work experience requirement if the supervisor of the internship is an Endorsed® professional (IV-C or III).  Applicant will submit description of internship for application reviewers’ consideration.

Reflective Supervision/ Consultation​

Relationship-focused, reflective supervision/consultation, individually or in a group, post-Masters, while providing services to infants, very young children, and families. Provider of reflective supervision/consultation must have earned Endorsement® as IMHS or IMHM-C (or be vetted by ORIMHA at that level). Minimum: 50 clock hours within a one- to two-year timeframe.

Professional Reference Ratings 

Please note: At least one rating must come from someone endorsed as IFS, IMHS, or IMHM, or vetted at one of those categories.

Total of three ratings: 

  1. One from current program supervisor

  2. One from person providing reflective supervision/consultation

  3. One from another supervisor, teacher, trainer, or consultant; colleague; or supervisee (if applicant is a supervisor)

Code of Ethics &Endorsement® Agreement


Documentation of Competencies

  1. Application will document that competencies have been adequately met through course work, in-service training, and reflective supervision/consultation experiences

  2. Successful completion of the MI-AIMH written examination

Professional Membership

Membership in ORIMHA or another infant mental health association

Infant Mental Health Specialist Endorsement Requirements