Computer-based CCM exam now online

Sign up online, schedule the exam at convenient time

For the first time ever, case managers who took the Certified Case Management (CCM) examination in December could sign up online and take a computerized version of the test.

"We wanted to make it easier to take the examination and renew certification. We felt that we needed to put the application and our database online so case managers could update their continuing education units electronically," says Vivian Campagna, MSN, RN-BC, CCM, chair of the Commission for Case Management Certification (CCMC).

Applicants have until Jan. 20 to sign up online for an exam to be given during the first half of April.

The organization began its transition to an electronic product this month and went live with the new system on July 1, 2008.

The CCMC has developed a computer-based platform for the CCM examination, which allows the organization to offer the exam three times a year instead of twice and to increase the number of test sites for the exam from 65 to more than 300.

In addition, case managers may schedule the exam at a convenient time over a seven-day period instead of having to take the exam on just one set day and time.

Applicants may set up an online account where they fill out an application online instead of having to send in paper documents. The system also generates an e-mail to the applicant's supervisor with a link that allows them to certify employment online. A percentage of applicants will be required to send in paper documents as part of the audit process, Campagna says.

The advantage of the web-based product is that applicants don't have to fill out the entire application in one sitting and the process gives applicants an idea if they will qualify to sit for the examination. In the past, applicants had to send in half of their application fee up front but if they didn't meet criteria to sit for the exam, they didn't get their money back.

"If they're not meeting criteria, they won't get far enough to have to pay the fees. The system gives them an idea right up front about whether they meet criteria before they get to the payment screen," she says.

Case managers who are renewing their certification may enter and track their continuing education credits and update their contact information online, rather than handling it by mail.

"We tried to make the process as user-friendly and as easy as possible," she says.

The system has an online chat process during which a live person will answer questions about the application process during certain hours.

The CCMC offers a reference list on its web site to give case managers suggestions for studying for the exam. The organization is certified by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, which prohibits it from requiring a course book or study guide.

Campagna suggests that applicants visit the CCMC web site and look at the overview of the categories included on the examination to determine areas where they should study.

For instance, if you don't work in the workers' compensation field, you probably need to brush up on that part of the examination.

The test has 180 questions and should take about three hours, she says.

"The test is broadly based because people who are seeking certification come from a wide variety of practice settings. The role and function study that the CCMC performs every five years determines the percentage of questions in each category," she adds.