Click on the links below to explore the Certification Program Frequently Asked Questions.
|"Certification has opened my eyes to the many different factors that need to be considered when developing an effective treatment plan."|
+ Why become an IFM Certified Practitioner?
+ How are certified clinicians supported after certification by IFM? In other words, what are the benefits of holding certification? Will IFM help support and promote us in some special way?
- IFM will, indeed, support and promote IFM Certified Practitioners.The most-visited area of the IFM website is the Find A Practitioner Search page. A special area of the website is available for prospective patients to look for a certified practitioner, and is accompanied by an explanation of what the certification means and the level of work it represents.
- As with many existing specialty certifications, the ultimate purpose of the program is to improve patient care. Certification will enable clinicians to substantially improve the care they provide to their patients through the most in-depth functional medicine training available.
- The IFM Certified Practitioner badge is awarded to graduates of IFM’s Certification Program.The IFM Certified Practitioner badge may be used on all marketing and promotional materials (website, business cards/forms/letters, etc.)
+ What can I do with this certification? Who recognizes it?
- While IFM’s Certification Program (IFMCP) currently does not confer any additional legal or professional specialty status, the demand from patients for functional medicine practitioners is exploding. We anticipate that IFM Certified Practitioners will quickly be recognized as clinicians whose rigorous training and evaluation puts them in the top tier of functional medicine practitioners. In addition, as the first groups complete the program, we believe the quality of their training will help to open doors and increase recognition in hospitals, clinics, and academic medicine.
+ What is the difference between your program and FMU’s, A4M’s, etc.?
- IFM cannot speak about the value of the FMU and A4M programs, but we can tell you the value of IFM’s Certification Program.
- IFM provides the most comprehensive training available in functional medicine.The educational materials have been developed by the leaders in the field, and IFM’s teaching faculty have a depth of experience and knowledge honed not only by many years of practice but also by their commitment to the ongoing development of core concepts, tools, and applications.
- Functional medicine is not a static body of knowledge—it is a field that is always evolving. IFM is aware that its core concepts have been, and continue to be, adopted and adapted by many others, but why not go to the source? IFM is the only organization with 20+ years of experience in teaching functional medicine, and the only one that invests substantially in continued program development.
- IFM is partnering with academic medical centers and hospitals to provide functional medicine education within medical schools and residency programs. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine is the first major academic medical center in the country to so prominently incorporate Functional Medicine and offers services in a multidisciplinary, mostly insurance-based model. Corporations such as Google, American Express, and Twitter are exploring the whole-systems approach of Functional Medicine. Medical leaders at major insurers, including CIGNA, are considering how to incorporate Functional Medicine in pilot projects for chronic disease. We continue to develop new initiatives and to enter into collaborations with stakeholders from all across the medical spectrum. As these connections grow, and IFM’s program becomes more widely known, its outstanding reputation will also benefit those who have received IFM certification.
+ The Path
+ Do I have to be accepted into IFM's Certification Program before I can register for AFMCP or an APM?
- No. You may apply to IFM's Certification Program anytime. However if your intent is to become certified, we highly recommend you apply early in the process. See below for the benefits of doing so.
+How long does it take to complete IFM’s Certification Program?
It typically takes 2-3 years to complete the 7 required programs and 2 testing components. Please see the IFM Planning Calendar
for information on when and where the next programs will be offered. You may attend the 7 required programs in any order, although we recommend starting with AFMCP
+ What is the benefit of registering for certification early, as opposed to when I am close to completing the program requirements?
- We recommend you apply early in the process so that if there is any obstacle to your acceptance into the program it can be identified and remediated.
- Once you are approved, you will receive PDF presentation slides and audio and video recordings of lectures from new iterations of courses you have taken in the past, so that you can keep your knowledge current.
- Once you have applied and been accepted into IFM’s Certification Program, IFM will be able to alert you to specific news, updates, and opportunities related to the certification program.
+ What is required to become an IFM Certified Practitioner?
- Completion of Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice®(AFMCP) course.
- Completion of all six individual Functional Medicine Advanced Practice Modules® (APMs) G.I., Detox, Immune, Hormone, Cardiometabolic, Energy Regulation.
- Passing score on one case report ($800 fee) submitted using the IFM Case Report Template and received by IFM by a designated date.
- Passing score on the IFMCP written examination ($800 fee).
- Candidates may not take the IFMCP written exam until all course work has been completed and the case report has been submitted.
- Successful completion of all the above requirements within 7 years from an approved application.
+ Is distance learning an option for this program?
- All APMs are offered in live streaming format. Check the IFM Planning Calendar for upcoming dates.
- At this time, we do not offer Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) in the live streaming format. AFMCP is a unique learning environment with small group case work led by IFM Faculty and Certified Practitioners. Attending onsite offers the opportunity for highly useful interactions between attendees and facilitators that is not yet available in a distance learning format.
+ Can I take the modules before I take AFMCP?
- Yes, although we recommend starting with AFMCP whenever possible. AFMCP provides a comprehensive overview of functional medicine, introducing core concepts and tools that will be assumed in the APMs.
+ How do I maintain and/or renew my certification?
- To maintain certification:
- Maintain current IFM membership
- Maintain active clinical health care license
- To renew certification:
- Pass a written examination every sixth year following certification
- Provide a copy of your current health care practitioner license
+ The Review Course
+ What is the review course? Is it mandatory or optional?
- The Review Course is an optional, intensive opportunity for IFM Certification Program Candidates to undertake a comprehensive review of current core knowledge. Most Candidates will have taken their coursework over a span of several years, so the Review Course will help to update and refresh their knowledge base. The Review Course is not required, although it is strongly recommended.
+ What’s the process—is it online, onsite, etc?
- The Review Course is available through an online eLearning course.
+ What are the prerequisites to take the review course?
- In order to participate in the Review Course, Candidates must have completed all course work.
+ How much does it cost?
- The registration fee is $499 (fee is subject to change) and includes all course materials. Non-physician pricing is not applicable for the Review Course; however, the 10% member discount will apply.
+ The Case Report
+ What does the case report process entail and how is it scored?
- The case report submission process is a stuctured, web-based, data-entry process based upon the matrix and following the functional medicine GO-TO-IT heuristic in a sequential manner. Candidates will enter assessment, treatment, and outcomes information.They will be scored by IFM faculty on a pass/fail basis. Upon payment of the $800 case report fee and verification of eligibility for the IFMCP written exam, Candidates will obtain access to the IFM Case Report Template.
+ Will I be given a chance to add information after I submit the case?
- No. Once the case is submitted, changes cannot be made.
+ What kinds of cases can be used? For instance, acute care, pharmaceutical interventions, etc.?
- There are no artificial constraints on your case selection.The case should demonstrate your knowledge of and ability to apply functional medicine principles and practices for the benefit of your patients.
+ What kind of case should I use?
- The case you select should concern a patient:
- who has/had chronic complaints;
- with whom you are very familiar;
- on whom you have gathered sufficient initial information; and
- for whom you have collected sufficient information during follow-up visits to present a full case.
- The case you select does not have to show full resolution of the patient’s problem(s); however, it should demonstrate your knowledge of and ability to apply functional medicine to the benefit of your patient. You must have sufficient initial assessment information to fill out a timeline and matrix, and enough follow-up data that an IFM reviewer can see what happened over time.There is no specific required timeframe, but somewhere between 12 and 36 weeks would be reasonable.The type of case, by virtue of its length, is a case in which chronic complaints are addressed. Objective data, such as laboratory results, will usually be helpful but are not absolutely necessary.
+ Can I use a case in which I co-managed the patient?
- Yes, but the case report must represent a full understanding of the case history and critical thinking of the Candidate.
+ What is the case evaluated on?
- The case should demonstrate your knowledge of and ability to apply Functional Medicine principles and practices for the benefit of your patients.
+ Once I submit a case, how long will it take to receive feedback/grade?
- Scores for case report and the examination will be released together, approximately 6-8 weeks following the last day of the written exam testing period.
+ The Written Exam
+ What are the prerequisites for applying for the test? Does the case report need to be submitted and approved?
- To apply for the test, you must have completed all course requirements and be approved into the program. Your case report must be submitted by a designated date outlined in the Candidate Handbook. Scores for case report and the examination will be released together, approximately 6-8 weeks following the last day of the testing period.
+ Is the testing oral or written?
- Written via an electronic testing service.
+ What happens if I don’t pass the IFMCP written exam? Can I take it again? How soon can I take it? Are there additional fees? What is the passing score?
+ What information will I be tested on? (Onsite material from the modules I attended? Or all versions of the modules, pre/post webinars, forum discussions, reading material, etc.?)
- The most recent onsite information in AFMCP and all 6 APMs.
- Webinars, forum discussions, and supplemental reading material, including the Textbook of Functional Medicine and the Clinical Nutrition text, are useful information and are highly encouraged to review. However, they are not drawn on for written examination.
- Candidates who graduated from AFMCP prior to 2010 may want to attend the review course in order to get the most recent information.
+ Is the test in-person? Where do I take it?
- The test must be taken in person and identification will be verified. It will be administered by Pearson Professional Centers which has about 200 locations around the United States, so nearly everyone should be within a few hours’ drive of a testing location. Pearson Professional Centers also has international testing sites.
+ Other Information
+ Does your program count toward college credits?
- No. Most specialty certifications do not.
+ Can I pay for the entire program at once?
- We do not offer a one-time payment option. We price our onsite programs as efficiently as possible. The certification process may take a number of years to complete (maximum allowable time to completion is 7 years), so Candidates proceed at their own pace and choose the programs and dates that best meet their needs.
+ How much does the program cost from start to finish?
- It is not possible to state an exact amount, since course fees do change from time to time and the total cost will depend on what the fees are when each course is taken, whether or not the Candidate is an IFM member, whether she/he is a physician or other level of practitioner, and so forth.The estimated range based on 2016 tuition costs is $12,000–$15,000, excluding the optional Review Course costs.
+ My diploma was destroyed in a fire/flood. Are transcripts accepted?
- Some official documentation of graduation is required; transcripts may be acceptable if they show actual graduation. You may wish to contact your school and request a duplicate diploma or letter attesting to the fact that you did receive the diploma.
+ Do the eligibility rules apply to international practitioners?
- Yes; you must have a license (or equivalent) in your home country. Because of differing regulations, naturopathic physicians or nutritional therapists from Great Britain should send documentation of registration and a current copy of their medical malpractice insurance policy.
+ Does the testing body have centers internationally or will international candidates need to travel to the U.S. again to take the test?
- The testing service we are using does have some international testing locations. Some travel is likely to be required, but not necessarily to the U.S.
+ Do my license, CV, and diploma need to be translated to English? If so, does the translation have to be done by a certified translator or notarized?
- Yes, all required credentials should be translated by those who are certified to do so. The translation does not need to be notarized.
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