Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS) Training

Award Winning Staff Training Programme


Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has worked closely with the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and its Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (CBIS) to develop an Irish version of their well-established Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS) Training Programme. Since 2013, the Irish Programme has been available to eligible staff. The CBIS Programme is specifically intended for frontline staff and professionals who need a strong foundation for working with individuals with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). The core textbook for the programme is the Essential Brain Injury Guide – Irish Edition.

A number of subject-matter experts assisted us in the development of the Essential Brain Injury Guide – Irish Edition. These included medical and research staff from Beaumont Hospital and the RCSI, clinical staff from the National Rehabilitation Hospital, legal experts from NUI Galway and our own clinical staff. The Training Programme and associated Guide were launched by Minister Kathleen Lynch, TD in 2013 and awarded winner of the IITD (Irish Institute of Training & Development) National Training Award for Medium Sized Enterprises in 2015.

The programme is available for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland staff as well as staff from other organisations who are working with individuals living with a brain injury (ABI). The Essential Brain Injury Guide – Irish Edition can be purchased separately to the Training Programme and can be used as a handy reference document for staff working in the field and allied health professionals.

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Programme Structure

The CBIS Training Programme is designed as a self-study programme and is structured as follows:

Part 1

Self-study of the core text book, the Essential Brain Injury Guide – Irish Edition. It is generally recommended that learners spend approximately 10 weeks studying the textbook, but the time required will be individual and depend on a learner’s pre-existing knowledge, work experience, qualifications etc.

Part 2

Attendance at a 2-day Exam Preparation Course. This is facilitated by two CBIS trainers who have many years’ experience in the field of brain injury.

Part 3

Learners must take a 2-hour exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions. A score of 80% is required to pass.

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Eligibility Requirements

In order to participate in the CBIS programme, applicants must meet the Eligibility Requirements as set out by ACBIS, as follows (see the ACBIS website for further information – www.acbis.pro):

  • Applicants must have had 500 hours of currently verifiable direct contact experience with an individual or individuals with brain injury.
  • Experience can be paid employment and/or academic internship.
  • The qualifying experience must have included formal supervision or have been conducted while the applicant operated under a professional licence. Volunteer work does not qualify.
  • Applicants must have attained a minimum of a Leaving Certificate or equivalent.

2-Day Exam Preparation Course

The 2-day Exam Preparation Course is designed as a revision of the material studied during the self-study period. The course provides an opportunity to engage with the material in an interactive way, talk to other learners about the course material, clarify any questions, practice sample test questions and scenarios and generally prepare for the exam.

Dates for 2020

2020 dates are not yet available due to disruption caused by the COVID pandemic. We will update this page in due course.

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Study Groups

If there is a group of staff in your organisation undertaking the course at the same time, you may want to set up a study group to provide peer support to each other. Sample Question & Answer sheets can be provided for use as a study aid.


The exam will take place the day after the 2-day Exam Preparation Course and is 2 hours duration. There are 70 multiple-choice questions, all based on the core textbook, the Essential Brain Injury Guide – Irish Edition. Participants are required to achieve a minimum score of 80% to pass. If unsuccessful, participants can re-take the exam one more time within a year of their application date. If successful, a CBIS Certificate is issued by ACBIS and the learner can use the title ‘Certified Brain Injury Specialist’ after their name. CBIS certified staff receive a complimentary copy of the peer-reviewed Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation for the first year of certification.

Continuing Education

There is a requirement to complete 10 hours of Continuing Education on an annual basis to maintain certification (or alternatively re-take the exam). CBIS certified staff must apply for renewal of their certification on an annual basis and provide details of their Continuing Education hours to ACBIS. The current cost of annual renewal is US$60 (approx. €54).

Application Process

It is recommended that applicants contact Acquired Brain Injury Ireland prior to submitting an application for the CBIS Programme so that dates of Exam Preparation Courses can be discussed and a place booked on an upcoming course.

Step 1

The application process begins with creating an individual user account at www.acbis.pro. Click on link – Individual CBIS Application Process (or for a group application, click on Group Administration).

Step 2

Payment to be made to ACBIS. Visa card payments cannot currently be facilitated online and so this requires a phone call to the ACBIS offices in the US to make a payment over the phone, tel: 001.703.761.0750 (Email: customerservice@biausa.org)

Step 3

Once you have created your user account as per step 1, you will be prompted via email to complete your application. This involves completing and electronically submitting the CBIS APPLICATION FORM – a link to this application will be emailed to you. The following items are necessary to complete this application:

  • An electronic version of your CV for uploading in the allotted area.
  • You will need to have made a form of payment prior to clicking “Submit” on the application. You will be asked to insert the payment ID number.

*Please note that applications will not be approved until all payments have been confirmed.

As part of the ACBIS application process, your workplace supervisor will be asked to complete an ‘Employment Verification Form’ and submit it electronically. When your application is approved by ACBIS, you will receive an email confirming approval of your application. It is important to note that you MUST receive your application approval prior to taking the CBIS exam (you must bring a copy of the approval email to the exam).

Queries relating to the registration process should be directed to ACBIS:.

Jessica Lucas, ACBIS Coordinator 703–761-0750 ext. 631 or email: jlucas@biausa.org Payment for Exam Preparation Course A separate non-refundable payment of €256 per participant must be made to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland at least 2 weeks prior to the 2 Day Exam Preparation Course, with any of the following: Visa, Mastercard. Invoices can be sent upon request only.

If you have any queries regarding any of the information above, do not hesitate to contact:
Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, National Office, Second Floor Block A, Century House, 100 George’s St Uppr, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, Tel: (01) 2804164 E: acbis@abiireland.ie

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