Certified in Survival Mindset, CSM® Program

Do you have what it takes to survive?

Just like physical conditioning, mental toughness is essential for peak human performance in high stress situations. Mental toughness is valued in military and law enforcement training, missions and combat. However, they aren't necessarily prepared to deal with the psychological and physiological aspects of deadly combat. The average, healthy individual has a natural aversion towards killing a fellow human being. Historical evidence shows that in situations of heavy combat the average warrior is unable or reluctant to kill even when it means putting themselves at risk. It is estimated that 98 percent of all soldiers on the on the battlefield will become psychiatric casualties of war in one way or another. A basic understanding of how the body and mind processes extremely stressful situations not only increases our warrior's chances of surviving a deadly encounter, it gives him or her the tools needed to recover from a traumatic event.

Why should you choose the CSM credential?

The Certified in Survival Mindset, CSM® program takes material from author Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's books, On Killing, Warrior Mindset, and On Combat, to prepare the reader for survival. Students will be better educated and able to handle the various stresses of combat, and understand the killing process.

Credential Content

The topics covered in the CSM credential are:

  • Benefits of physical conditioning
  • Stages of killing
  • Fight, flight, posture, or submit response model
  • Major factors responsible for psychiatric casualties on the battlefield
  • Signs of acute stress

How do I maintain the CSM credential?

Individuals are expected to maintain membership and complete 15 hours of forensic-related continuing education credits per year to maintain their CSM status. The initial CSM course provides 15 CE credits, fulfilling this requirement.

Future CEs may be earned through ACFEI's Executive Summits and/or completing tests for the continuing education articles located in The Forensic Examiner®, provided in our online course catalog.

Steps to becoming Certified in Survival Mindset, CSM®

  • Be a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute.
    Membership with the ACFEI is a requirement to obtain the CSM.
  • Submit three professional references.
    References must be able to attest to your professional qualifications.
  • Complete the new member application to start the process and submit your payment via credit card.
    ACFEI is now offering monthly payment plans to help make certification more affordable. We also offer auto dues renewal. Call Member Services for more information at 800.423.9737.
  • Review the materials once your eligibility has been confirmed.
    Materials can be accessed from your online course catalog once you receive your log-in information.
  • Successfully pass the CSM online exam.
    You are allowed two retakes of the exam if you do not pass for $100 each in a calendar year.
  • Once you have passed the CSM exam, Member Services will mail you your certificate.
    Your CSM certificate will be mailed approximately 2-3 weeks after successful completion of the CSM exam and a final review of your application file.

Credential Information
ACFEI Membership Dues (1yr)


CSM Study Materials and Exam


Total Cost