BLOG: How the Commission Develops the CDMS® Exam and How You Can Prepare for It

Posted on 12/21/2023 - 04:33 PM

By Debby Formica, CAE, ICE-CCP 

COO, Commission for Case Manager Certification 

Achieving the CDMS credential marks a significant stride in your professional journey, symbolizing deep expertise in disability management and workplace health. This certification not only reflects your dedication to ethical practice and professional excellence but also empowers you to effectively address workplace safety and rehabilitate individuals back into work and community life. Your diligence in preparing for this exam represents a smart investment in your professional development. 

Research-based exam development 

Have you ever wondered about the rigor and process of constructing and managing the CDMS exam? It is more complex than meets the eye. The CDMS exam is carefully crafted through a comprehensive, multi-phase process. This involves a team of subject matter experts and test development specialists who design and rigorously evaluate questions, with a focus on precision, clarity, and validity. These questions are thoughtfully curated based on extensive literature review, research and the categories for job functions are defined based on results of an extensive job task analysis, which delves into the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for effective disability management. To ensure that the CDMS certification examination content continues to cover the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent practice, the Commission conducts a Role & Function Study (job task analysis) every five years. This is an evidence-based study of the knowledge, skills and activities necessary for disability management.  

The Commission is committed to constant improvement as a testament to our dedication to individuals who are wholeheartedly pursuing excellence in the field of disability management. The Commission meticulously oversees the development of its test question bank, ensuring the inclusion of high-quality questions while also managing the retirement of outdated ones to maintain the certification's rigor and relevance. 

Preparing for the exam: Harnessing the power of study groups 

As you begin your journey of preparing for the CDMS exam, it's worth considering the significant benefits of creating a workplace or community study group. Group study programs offer opportunities for mutual growth, support and sharing. By participating in a study group, you not only get a chance to assess your own strengths, but you may benefit from tapping into the expertise of peers who may have a deeper understanding of specific topics. Ultimately, study groups create a supportive and enriching environment as you strive to achieve your CDMS certification goals. 

Tips and tools available for aspiring CDMS certifcants: 

On your path to obtaining the CDMS credential, the Commission remains committed to providing numerous resources to help you get certified, stay certified and develop others.  Below you will find a list of valuable resources and tips for aspiring CDMS certificants:  

  • Strengthen your core knowledge and boost your confidence with our Core Knowledge Curriculum (CKC). The CKC is the first comprehensive online learning program focused solely on disability management and leaves of absence in the workplace.  

  • The Commission has a practice exam to help you prepare and study for the CDMS exam. The practice exam contains 54 multiple-choice questions covering the content areas of the CDMS certification examination. 

  • Check out the CDMS suggested reference list, which includes actual books from which exam questions were written. While the materials listed are not required reading, many of the outlined references can greatly assist you in exam preparation.  

Professional development opportunities from the Commission beyond certification: 

The Commission provides numerous educational opportunities aimed at fostering ongoing professional development in order to keep CDMS certificants up-to-date with the latest advancements in disability management practice. Here are a few helpful resources: 

  • Webinar Recordings: The Commission’s leadership produced a webinar series as part of our mission to advance organizational and individual professional development for CDMS certificants and those pursuing excellence in the field of disability management. The presentations focused on relevant topics encountered by today’s professionals, including: 1) The Aging Workforce 2) Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and 3) Integrated Disability Management/Family Medical Leave Act (IDM/FMLA). These recordings are available in the online store

  • Work Force Development: Encouraging your team to obtain the CDMS credential is crucial in today's evolving workplace. This certification ensures your professionals have top-tier skills in managing health and safety risks, while also upholding ethical standards in disability management. As managers and supervisors invest in CDMS-certified staff, you not only enhance workplace safety and efficiency but you also position your organizations to be at the forefront of professional competence. This commitment to excellence in disability management is an investment in your team's future, ensuring readiness for tomorrow's challenges. 

Partnerships that matter  

Becoming a CDMS certificant is a significant achievement, and it's essential to recognize the pivotal role that the Commission’s partnerships play in this endeavor. These collaborations are more than mere logistics; they are the foundation for a candidate focused, seamless and reputable certification experience.  

Our partnership with the Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), experts in test development, is instrumental in ensuring the quality and credibility of CDMS exams. Their expertise guarantees that every question is thoughtfully crafted, adhering to the highest standards of fairness, validity, and reliability. When you face the CDMS exam, you're not just answering questions; you're engaging with a meticulously designed assessment, a testament to your dedication and expertise. 

DRC's commitment to excellence extends to safeguarding the credibility of your certification, instilling trust in both professionals seeking certification and the organizations that employ them. 

On the administrative front, the Commission partners with Pearson VUE to simplify the entire exam process. Pearson VUE's extensive network of testing centers makes registration effortless, helps you find convenient testing locations, and ensures swift result delivery. This accessibility is more than a convenience; it's a bridge to encourage more individuals to embark on the journey of certification. 

Pearson VUE's proficiency in delivering high-stakes examinations means that the CDMS exam is administered efficiently and professionally. This commitment to accessibility empowers you to choose when and where to take the exam, making it easier for you to focus on mastering the content. 

Beyond logistics, these partnerships represent a continuous commitment to improvement. Your journey to CDMS certification is a collaborative effort.  

Our partnership with you 

If you are a dedicated disability management specialist preparing for the CDMS exam, this is a pivotal phase of your career. The Commission stands by you, ready to provide unwavering support to you as you embark on your professional journey. 

For more information about eligibility requirements click here