Roadmap to Certification

Step-by-Step Guide to Earning the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) Credential

Roadmap to Certification

We break down the process of earning the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) credential into a simple, step-by-step process. Once you feel confident that you have a full understanding of each of these items, you are ready to get certified and should then apply for the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) certification exam.

    Download the candidate handbook.

NISM Candidate Handbook

This FREE copy of the Candidate Handbook is designed to help you understand the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) certification. It discusses how the exam was created, how it is scored, what content you should be familiar with before sitting for the exam, and other important information you’ll need to know before applying.

Download the Handbook
    Meet our exam prerequisites.


An associates degree (or 64 academic credits)

Candidates who have studied in areas such as Marketing, Communications, Business or Computer Science are ideal. However, candidates from all areas of study who have at least an associates degree (or 64 credits) are eligible to sit for the SMS exam.


2 years of business experience related to social media

Candidates with experience in community management, social media management or related vocations are ideal. However, all applicants who have at least 2 full years of business experience related to social media will be allowed to sit for the exam.

*All exam participants must be at least 18 years of age.

    Understand level of difficulty and fees.

The NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) exam is intended to assess a candidate’s knowledge & skill across six content domains. They are as follows:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Compliance and Governance
  • Project and Campaign Management
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Community Management
  • Research and Analysis

*Includes proctoring fees.

Learn More About the Exam
    Prepare for the exam.

Options for individuals

1. Take an NISM-authorized training class.

View upcoming classes

2. Prepare yourself using our self-study materials.

View self-study bundles

Options for groups

1. Register group for an upcoming class.

View upcoming classes

2. Request customized training to fit your needs.

Get customized training

Are all four steps complete? You’re ready to take the exam!

  • I would definitely recommend this program if someone is searching to get into the industry, but also for those who are already in the industry. Any marketing professional who has a passion for social media marketing should think about this program, because it is going to separate them from their peers.
    - Jason Schober (SMS)CorTalent
  • This certification is beneficial for any private company that highlights employee’s certifications and credentials when responding to an RFP to secure government contracts. The more certifications and credentials your team has, the more attractive to other businesses that are seeking your services and researching if they want to do business with you.
    - Jamiee Meyer (SMS)MN SBDC
  • I am very competent in developing strategies in upping the stakes in company marketing. The class showed me how to use facebook, printest and other platforms to develop a marketing plan that will make any company, business, community development or nonprofit agency visible to consumers and competitors, by using the skills developed I can become an independent marketer for major or minor agencies that are looking to engage in the cyber community and build positive awareness of their brand.
    - Tira Wiley (SMS)House of Charity


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