ATSS membership offers members an opportunity to gain professional recognition (international certification) within a trauma specialty.

ATSS membership offers members an opportunity to gain federal professional recognition within a trauma specialty. Each of the three ATSS certifications (international certifications) recognizes the existing and acquired experience, knowledge, skill, education, training, and trauma specialty of our members and are all equal in value. Now, more than ever, current events including natural disasters, acts of mass violence, and terrorism, require the support of trauma specialists who have demonstrated appropriate care and outreach to traumatized populations and have earned recognition for their unique expertise!

  • ATSS certification recognition is an important statement of professional commitment to a growing field
  • ATSS certification indicates to your employer that you are serious and committed to professional growth in traumatic stress services.
  • ATSS certification offers increased value through measured expertise and credibility to employers, practitioners, and survivors.
  • ATSS certification is documentation of expertise, training, service, and education that employers and organizations serving and responding to victims and survivors, expect of those providing services.
  • ATSS certification provides concrete documentation and recognition for your work, your skill, and your experience that stays with you wherever you work or live

ATSS members may apply for any of the following three (3) internationally recognized certifications.

The Certified Trauma Responder

The CTR designation was created for first responders and others who provide immediate trauma intervention through individual and group crisis intervention, critical incident stress response, debriefing, crisis and disaster management, peer counseling, disaster and trauma response, and follow-up.

The Certified Trauma Services Specialist

Created for individuals who provide services and support to individuals impacted by traumatic events; who provide immediate trauma intervention, advocacy, crisis intervention, death notification, victim/survivor assistance, and immediate and longer-term services for a variety of traumatized populations. This designation also recognizes treatment specialists who focus on multiple services to victims, in addition to treatment and specialized interventions.

The Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist

A designation for counselors, clinicians, and treatment specialists who provide immediate and longer-term individual, group, and/or family counseling, therapy, grief counseling or support to trauma survivors either as a specialty or within their field of practice.

Determining Your Specific Certification

Many individuals and disciplines may “fit” within multiple trauma support specialties. By identifying the area where you spend most of your time will help you determine the certification that most recognizes your particular trauma focus.  Each certification requires documentation of the applicant’s previous or current hours of training and experience. Applicants do not have to take new courses or enroll in educational programs unless they do not have the training or educational hours required. ATSS recognizes most educational providers of formal and continuing education. You must be an ATSS member to apply for certification


If an application is approved, the certification is valid for three (3) years at which time the certified member may be recertified by  completing the re-certification application for their certification designation, and providing documentation of 30 hours of trauma-related continuing education. Educational hours may be earned by attending conferences, workshops and seminars, inservice training, and also by: 1) training provided by the applicant, 2) articles written by the applicant, and 3) sponsoring new certification applicants.


Sponsors, by reviewing applications and by providing support and guidance, ensure our certification applicants experience a positive application process and successful review by the Certification Board. ATSS members who wish to apply for certification will be assigned a sponsor by ATSS staff who will help guide applicants through the certification process. Sponsors are certified ATSS members in good standing. Once an application is submitted to ATSS either by mail or scan,  the application is reviewed by the ATSS Certification Board.

Sponsor Benefits

If you are presently a certified member of ATSS, in good standing in any of the certification categories (CTTS, CTSS or CTR) we would like to ask that you consider volunteering to become a sponsor. We presently have a dedicated group of sponsors but are in need of more. If you agree to volunteer as a sponsor, and if you successfully sponsor an applicant (CTTS, CTR, or CTSS) for certification, 15 hours maximum (or 5 hours per person sponsored) can be counted towards your 30 hours of continuing education required in a three year period. In addition, sponsors receive a $50 sponsor coupon (up to 3 coupons per certification renewal cycle or $150) that can be used toward your recertification fee.

Application Downloads

Certified Trauma Responder (CTR)

CTR designation was created for those who provide immediate trauma intervention through critical incident stress debriefing/management, peer counseling, group crisis intervention, and response to community crises.

Certified Trauma Services Specialist (CTSS)

The CTSS designation was created for those who provide a variety of trauma services that may include: immediate trauma intervention, treatment, crisis support, advocacy, victim assistance, pastoral care, etc.

Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist/CTTS

(The CTTS was previously known as the Certified Trauma Specialist/CTS designation). 

The CTTS designation was created for counselors, clinical staff, and treatment specialists who provide individual, group, and/or family counseling, trauma treatment therapies, and/or therapeutic support for a variety of populations impacted by traumatic stress.

Certification Payment Information

ATSS uses BluePay, an internet payment platform that allows individuals to pay for certification online. Please click on the “Pay Now” button below to select your certification application and payment type. 

Certifications and recertification credentials are valid for three years. Appropriate documentation must be provided to qualify for the senior/student discounts.