Article Published: 3/22/2023
NBCC is currently administering a job analysis for the TeleMental Health Examination (TMHE). This important step in examination development measures how working professionals apply relevant telemental health skills and knowledge. A passing score on the TMHE is a requirement for the Board Certified-TeleMental Heath Provider (BC-TMH) credential from the Center for Credentialing & Education.
The job analysis is conducted in the form of an online survey, which takes 15–30 minutes to complete. Participants can complete the survey over more than one session. The survey is open to mental health practitioners of all professions who provide telemental health services.
“The validity of an examination and credential are based on you being able to say that passing this examination has meaning, that you can safely and effectively practice,” says Director of Assessments Unber Ahmad. “The only way to make that inference is to know that the examination is assessing the reality of practice, and the only way to do that is to first assess the field in a wide-reaching way. The judgment must be based on how real practitioners do the work.”
Completing a job analysis is the industry standard for examination development. This ensures the TMHE meets the same scientific rigor and scrutiny as the National Counselor Examination or National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. The purpose of a job analysis is to ensure that examination content is representative of the actual field. The survey is intended to reach a wide range of practitioners and obtain a broad spectrum of perspectives.
“Telemental health has become a standard mode of service delivery in the counseling profession and the healthcare industry overall,” says NBCC Vice President of Credentialing and Quality Assurance Callie Marino. “While telemedicine was gaining speed prior to the pandemic, COVID forced all health professions to figure out how to continue treatment of our clients in a safe and effective way. Mental health professionals have an opportunity to share how they are responding to this need by engaging in the examination development for the practice.”
The job analysis ensures that the examination measures knowledge and practices important to safe and effective practice. The survey is based on the current content outline, as developed by a panel of subject matter experts. The data gathered by the job analysis in turn guides development of the next iteration of the content outline and the resulting examination items. Subject matter experts assist NBCC’s Assessments Department in this process. The content outline serves as a useful study tool for examinees.
“Telemental health is a growing industry,” says Ahmad. “The pandemic showed how important it is. Remote context is so necessary because not everyone has access to in-person services. However, regulation of telemental health is new. Regulators are starting to ask questions and make rules. The best way to establish good guidance is with an accurate picture of practice. Telemental health is the present and the future. The more it’s done safely, the better for both providers and the public.”
Because of the pandemic, many licensure rules were relaxed or created in order to expand access to telemental health care. This expands access, such as for those in rural areas or who need services outside of normal business hours. The downside to this is more risk, due to unprepared practitioners or lack of oversight. This situation underscores the need for a credential like the BC-TMH. The BC-TMH distinguishes those trained and prepared to safely and effectively offer telemental health services.
NBCC conducts job analyses in accordance with test development standards in order to understand and evaluate the current state of a field. This determines if practices have changed in a way that necessitates updating an examination. Telemental health is a fast-moving field and more popular than ever. A job analysis can help determine if NBCC needs to adjust the TMHE accordingly. Are more people using telemental health services? Are there people that need access? A job analysis can help answer questions like these.
NBCC intends to have a new form of the TMHE available later this year. Depending on the job analysis results and input of subject matter experts, no part of the examination is exempt from change. This may even include a format change for the examination if that is deemed best in order to stay in line with practice and increase the fidelity of the examination.
NBCC is pleased with the response rate of this job analysis survey, which remains open until the end of March. If you haven’t yet participated, this is your opportunity to make sure your perspective is included in the future of telemental health care! We know your time is valuable and hope you will share your experience and expertise for this important examination development tool. Take the survey today.
If you want to become even more involved in the development of NBCC’s and CCE’s examinations, volunteer as a subject matter expert. Learn more on our website.
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