Certification has, as its primary purpose, the increased protection of the public by providing an objective measurement of standardized current knowledge recognized and respected within and outside the field of infection prevention and control.
Infection Preventionists (IPs) can demonstrate a mastery of this knowledge by taking and passing a comprehensive examination developed by APIC's independent credentialing arm, the Certification Board of Infection Control & Epidemiology (CBIC). IPs who are certified are authorized and encouraged to use the internationally recognized initials CIC after their names and in their titles.
Initial certification is good for five years after which successful completion of recertification exams extend certification at five-year intervals.
Certification represents an IP's and an institution's commitment to continual improvement of infection prevention and control functions and their contribution to healthcare and patient safety. As an IP, certification reaffirms that through your study and hard work, you have an internationally recognized level of knowledge in the IC field. It gives you a sense of professional accomplishment.
It also signals to your employer and your colleagues that you are committed to professional growth in the field of infection prevention/control by keeping your knowledge and skills current to better your organization's IC function and its success.This recognition can be a factor in increasing your professional credibility. Data also show that the Joint Commission recognizes the professionalism of people with the CIC credential.
The impetus for certification in IC started in 1977 because of the efforts of the New England Chapter of the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control (APIC). The chapter funded the initial project and it quickly caught on nationally.
The APIC Board of Directors formed a committee in 1978 to establish goals and methods and in 1980, the Board approved education standards for certification. Later that year, the APIC Certification Association (APICCA) was formed. The following year, the APIC Certification Committee and APICCA worked together to develop an independent certification board, contract with a professional testing company, conduct the first job analysis of infection control practice, determine eligibility criteria and develop a recertification plan.
In 1982, APICCA changed its name to the Certification Board of Infection Control (CBIC). The organization is now called the Certification Board for Infection Control & Epidemiology (still CBIC) to reflect current practice, which encompasses applied epidemiology.
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits CBIC’s certification program, which signifies that CBIC has met the highest national voluntary standards for private certification. CBIC periodically conducts job analyses to assure that certification measures current practices and knowledge required for infection prevention and control and applied epidemiology.
APIC encourages all its members to become certified and continue qualifying for the CIC® credential by recertifying at the appropriate times. In reality, certification is a part of APIC's education program as it fosters continuing upgrading of IPs knowledge of infection prevention and control and epidemiology. APIC looks upon its members who earn the CIC® credential as having reached a significant milestone in their IP careers. Certification is an important step in an IP's potential to contribute to increased overall patient safety. A goal of 100% certification of qualified members is a goal of APIC. CHICA-Canada is a national, multidisciplinary professional association for those engaged in the prevention and control of infections. CHICA-Canada is committed to the wellness and safety of Canadians by promoting best practice in infection prevention and control through education, standards, advocacy and consumer awareness.
There is no specific time requirement that defines “sufficient experience”; however we emphasize that this certification examination is geared towards the infection preventionist who has had at least two years of full-time experience in infection prevention and control.
The candidate handbook is available for free online here http://cbic.org/certification/candidate-handbook
The cost of the initial exam (the Computer-Based Test or CBT) is $350. The SARE (Self-Achievement Recertification Exam) is $325.
The SARE has been established as a way of demonstrating one’s knowledge and competency with the completion of the initial CBT exam.
You are required to pay for each exam. If you do not pass the exam, you will need to wait 90 days before taking the exam again.
New versions of the examination always exactly match the examination specifications to ensure an appropriate distribution related to the practice of infection prevention, control, and epidemiology. An item related to every task (or topic) identified by the practice analysis cannot be included on every examination; rather, items are selected to sample the domain of content. As noted previously, items are unanimously approved prior to pretesting, and they are again unanimously approved by the Test Committee before using the items on a scored portion of the examination.
CBIC doesn’t simply add and subtract questions (items) from an existing examination. CBIC maintains a bank of items that have been approved by the Test Committee and been subjected to pretesting. Using this item bank, AMP’s psychometric and test development staff select draft examination forms with an appropriate distribution related to the practice of infection prevention, control, and epidemiology at a level of difficulty consistent with other examination forms. In addition to exactly matching a specified number of items in each major content area, AMP’s test developers simultaneously consider several item selection rules. One requirement is that the collection of items on each form provides a consistent average p-value, or proportion correct, based on previously collected data on first time candidates. Matching this target p-value is an important first step in ensuring the comparability of examination forms, which is confirmed through statistical pre-equating of the forms. These procedures foster fairness and equivalency of test results, ensuring that all candidates have an equal opportunity to achieve a score on the examination that represents their level of knowledge, regardless of the particular form of the examination taken. When assembling the examinations, AMP and CBIC follow these procedures carefully, to ensure that the various versions of the examinations are as comparable as possible, both from a qualitative and quantitative perspective.
CBIC highly suggests reviewing the content outline and list of references available in the candidate handbook. CBIC does not endorse any particular method of study or education, a lot of candidates find the APIC Certification Review Course helpful. You can also study from the texts that are used to write the questions for the exam. Finally, many Chapters have study groups through which you can prepare with your peers.
CBIC does not offer study materials other than the practice exam, which can be purchased by visiting http://www.cbic.org/products/online-practice-exam. APIC offers some study materials, but you will need to contact them directly and their website is http://www.apic.org
Preparation depends on the amount of experience in infection prevention, as well as an individual’s learning style.
It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the format of the actual exam.
Those certified in infection control come from a variety of working environments, so it is important to review the practice requirements stated in the handbook or online to see if those are met in your current position.
CBIC’s Testing Company, Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP), has 150 assessment centers located throughout the US and Canada. Additional centers can be found internationally as well. You can find the list of available assessment centers on our Testing Company website at http://www.goamp.com/assessmentCenterNetworkLocations.aspx
They can be added, and we encourage you to contact our testing company, Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP), to request.
There are no set testing dates (i.e. the exam isn’t given twice per year at specified locations). Our Testing Company has about 150 locations at which they administer the exam by computer (mostly H & R Block offices). Once you register to take the exam, they will send you an email with available dates and times for you to take the exam at the location nearest you.
A score report is generated immediately upon completion for the both the CBT and the SARE exam. The CBT score report for those testing internationally will be mailed within 2-4 weeks.
Once you receive your score report indicating that you have passed the exam, you may begin using the CIC credential after your name and in your title immediately, but it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to receive your official certificate from the CBIC Executive Office.
It takes approximately 4-6 weeks to process and mail certificates.
For CBT and SARE receipts contact the CBIC Executive Office at 414.918.9796 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get a replacement certificate printed and mailed to you, please contact us at email@example.com.
If you need a new certificate due to damage during delivery or a misspelling, CBIC will be happy to send you a replacement.
You can check your certification status on CBIC’s online directory on the website at http://www.cbic.org/Directory.asp.
No, you will also need to inform CBIC of any change of address or contact information. You can do so by going to the My Certification tab at www.cbic.org and logging in to My Profile. If you need assistance with logging in, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2012, 53% of those who took the CBT passed the exam. In 2012, 85% of those who took the SARE passed the exam. There is no standard number of correct questions required to pass the exam as each exam is weighted to accommodate for differences in difficulty.