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, and operations. Many members, however, find they are not nexessarily prepared for the phsychological and physical demands of lethal situations. The average, healthy individual has a natural aversion to 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 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 warriors' 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?

The CSM credential requires Certified Members to obtain 30 Continuing Education Credits every 3 years. Excess credits obtained during that 3 year period will not be applied to the following recertification window.

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.
    Should you fail to pass the exam, you are allowed to retake the exam twice per calendar year, at a cost of $100 each.
  • 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