certification

Why do I need to hold a healthcare license to become or maintain IFM Certified Practitioner status?

IFM has determined that passing a licensing examination in one’s primary discipline is an essential factor in assuring basic competence and public safety. Because all degrees are not licensable in all states or jurisdictions, it is acceptable to present a license or registration from a state or jurisdiction that does recognize your degree, even if practicing in another location.

Do my license, CV, and diploma need to be translated?

Yes, all required credentials should be translated into English by an official translator. The translation does not need to be notarized.

Will you accept a transcript in lieu of a diploma?

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.

Can I pay for the entire certification program at once?

We do not offer a one-time payment option at this time.

How much does the certification program cost from start to finish?

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 you’re an IFM member who receives the 10% discount on all programs and products, and so forth. The estimated range is $12,000–$15,000.

What happens if I don’t pass the IFM Certification Program (IFMCP) written exam?

A Candidate who fails the IFMCP written examination but passes the case report, or who fails the case report but passes the IFMCP written examination, may remediate the failed element (that is, re-take the exam or re-submit a new case report). A Candidate who fails both elements may retake the exam and resubmit a new case report. Any remediation process needs to be completed within seven years from the day your application was approved. IFMCP testing fees will apply for remediation. Please contact IFM for the fee structure at ifmcp@ifm.org.

What information will I be tested on in the IFMCP Written Exam?

The 200 multiple choice questions in the written exam are based on information presented at AFMCP and the six APMs. Once your application to the IFM Certification Program is accepted, you receive full conference video and audio recordings for new iterations of courses you attended in the past, so you can stay up-to-date on the latest information.

Webinars, forum discussions, and supplemental material include useful information and are recommended for review; however, the written examination will not draw on these materials.

Where do I take the Written Exam?

The Written Exam is administered by Pearson Professional Centers, which has about 200 locations around the United States. Nearly everyone in the United States should live within a few hours’ drive of a testing location. Pearson Professional Centers are also available internationally. The Exam must be taken in person and identification will be verified at the Center. You will receive all the information you need prior to taking the exam in your testing cohort materials. No additional charge will be incurred by the Candidate, as it is rolled into the $800 Written Exam Application fee.

What kind of case should I use for my Case Report?

While there are no formal constraints on case selection, the case must demonstrate your knowledge of and ability to apply the Functional Medicine model. As such, the case you choose should be a patient:

  1. Who has/had chronic complaints;
  2. With whom you are very familiar (a family member or friend may be used, but candidates cannot use themselves);
  3. On whom you have gathered sufficient initial information; or
  4. For whom you have collected sufficient information on 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.

When you are ready to begin to work on your Case Report, many resources are available to assist you, including the Candidate Handbook and your interactions with educators, staff, and your colleagues on the IFM Certification Program forum.

What does the Case Report process entail and how is it scored?

The case report submission process is a structured, web-based, data-entry process based on the Functional Medicine Matrix and following the GOTOIT framework. Candidates enter assessment, treatment, and outcomes information. Case Reports are scored by IFM educators on a pass/fail basis.

Candidates receive access to the Case Report Template upon payment of the $800 case report fee and verification of eligibility for the IFMCP written exam.

Should I take the optional Review Course?

The Review Course is an opportunity for IFM Certification Program candidates to undertake a comprehensive review of current core knowledge. The Review Course is an online program. It is not required, although it is strongly recommended. Candidates are eligible to register for the Review Course after they have completed all the required coursework for the IFM Certification Program. To learn more, contact ifmcp@ifm.org.

How do I maintain and renew my IFM Certification?

To maintain certification:

  • Hold current IFM Membership.
  • Hold an active clinical healthcare license.

To renew certification:

  • Pass a written examination every sixth year following certification.
  • Provide a copy of your current healthcare practitioner license.

Can I take the APMs 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.

Can I complete the coursework for the IFM Certification Program online?

All six Advanced Practice Modules (APMs) are offered in live-streaming format. Visit the Learning Center to view upcoming programs. 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. The in-person format creates the opportunity for important interactions between attendees and facilitators that is not yet available in an online format.

How long does it take to complete IFM’s Certification Program?

It is possible to complete the seven required programs and two testing components within 16 months. Most practitioners take between 18 months and two years to complete the program. You will have seven years from the date your application is approved to complete the program.

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 for the following reasons:

  • Once your application is approved, you will receive full audio and video recordings from new iterations of IFM Certification Program courses you have already taken, so that you can keep your knowledge current.
  • If there is any obstacle to your acceptance into the program, it can be identified and remediated.
  • 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.

How does IFM support Certified Practitioners?

Here are just a few of the ways IFM supports Certified Practitioners:

  • The most visited area of IFM.org is the Find A Practitioner search. Patients use this database to search for a practitioner trained in Functional Medicine. IFM Certified Practitioners receive priority listing and a special designation.
  • 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 IFM Certified Practitioners. The badge may be used on all marketing and promotional materials (website, business cards/forms/letters, etc.).

What can I do with IFM Certification?

Becoming an IFM Certified Practitioner establishes you as a leader in the field. Current patient demand far exceeds the number of providers available. IFM Certified Practitioners are recognized as clinicians whose rigorous training and evaluation places them in the top tier of Functional Medicine practitioners.