START Coordinator Certification

START Coordinator Certification

What is a START Coordinator?

A START Coordinator is a masters-level professional who plays a vital role on a START Clinical Team. A START Coordinator does not replace any one member of an existing system of support. Rather, they collaborate and facilitate change through the way they understand, interact with, and respond to people and systems they serve. Based on the premise that there is no value in expertise if it is not shared, START Coordinators continuously share knowledge with system partners to build capacity. The goal of START coordination is to help the person and system achieve stability, making START services unnecessary. The way this goal is accomplished is through specialized support (eg., outreach, cross-systems crisis planning), assessment and intervention that build on the principles and practices of START. 

What is START Coordinator Certification?

Coordinator certification indicates that each coordinator demonstrates effective implementation the START model. Achieving the rigorous training and practice standards set by the National Center for START Services®, as part of the well-respected Institute on Disability at UNH, verifies fidelity to the mission, values, principles, and approaches utilized within the START model. Additionally, certification validates specialized knowledge in the mental health aspects of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Being a certified START coordinator affords opportunities to contribute to the broader field through valuable practice evaluation and networking opportunities.

How can I get certified?

In order to become a certified START coordinator you must be employed by a START program. You can learn more about where START programs are located across the country by visiting the START Program Locations page.

START Coordinator Certification Curriculum

The START Coordinator Certification Curriculum was developed to ensure that all START team members are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective specialists in the mental health aspects of IDD. The START Coordinator Curriculum consists of four main elements: the Coordinator Training Group, active START coordination, START program-specific training, and on-going engagement with NCSS.

START Coordinator Certification Course

This online course consists of over 40 recorded trainings and reading assignments that provide in-depth training on the mental health aspects of intellectual and developmental disabilities and the START model, including overviews of the specific assessments, tools, and approaches utilized by START coordinators. The curriculum was developed by NCSS which includes people with the lived experience of IDD-MH and their families, University of New Hampshire (UNH) faculty, and START Network partners from across the country. It is intended to provide a conceptual framework from which to build upon. The course is asynchronous, meaning that coordinators may access it at any time they choose from any location with an internet connection.

Coordinator Training Groups (CTGs)

Coordinator training groups are synchronous (live, interactive) online learning forums facilitated by NCSS staff that are designed to deepen a coordinator’s understanding and application of the content presented in the coordinator certification course. Groups meet virtually via zoom videoconferencing once a week for 19 weeks on the same day and time each week (e.g., Wednesdays from 2:00–3:30pm EST). The training group schedule corresponds with the Coordinator Certification Course.

Active START Coordination

Direct application of START principles and practices is vital to fully integrating the curriculum content and facilitated Training Group discussions into the Coordinator’s daily work.

Certification Renewal Information

The purpose of certification renewal is to ensure that all START Coordinators continue to actively integrate current research, training, and best practices in their application of the START model. Certification renewal also reflects START’s value of remaining open to learning and teaching.

Coordinators must apply for certification renewal every two years. This application requires proof of ongoing learning and application of START principles and practices.  It is expected that Certified START Coordinators keep records of trainings received and given as part of the requirements for certification renewal.

START Coordinator Certification Renewal Application

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