What is Recertification by Infection Prevention Units (IPUs)?
Recertification by Infection Prevention Units (IPUs) is a process where CIC’s due to recertify may do so by participating in approved professional development and continuing education activities offered by accredited organizations.
Will the current method of recertification by examination continue to be offered?
Yes, individuals up for recertification have the option of recertifying either by examination or by IPUs.
How does the Recertification by Infection Prevention Units (IPUs) process work?
Candidates who choose to recertify using continuing education must submit a “professional portfolio” using the interactive online submission system on the CBIC website. IPUs are accumulated by earning contact hours from participating in qualifying activities, which are outlined in the Candidate Handbook
How many IPUs do I need to accumulate?
You must accumulate a minimum of 40 IPUs. All submitted activities must be provided by a credible organization and at least 20/40 infection prevention units must be sponsored through an accredited organization or state licensing board.
How many domains do I need to meet?
IPU portfolios must meet at minimum, six of the eight domains.
Is partial credit awarded for IPUs?
No. IPUs are awarded per activity hour or assigned a lump sum, depending on the activity.
How are the domains determined?
CBIC carries out a practice analysis every five years that determines roles within the profession and identifies where emphasis should be in terms of the knowledge domains. This rigorous process forms the examinations and test questions.
Is there a minimum time requirement for activities?
Please note that IPUs are only provided for sessions that are a minimum of one hour, however if the contact hours/IPUs/CEUs are awarded in a lump sum, two 30-minute sessions can be combined for a total of one IPU.
When can I start accumulating IPUs?
IPUs may be obtained over the 5 year recertification period from the submission date of your initial or previous recertification examination/previous portfolio submission through your current portfolio submission date (ex: if you submitted your recertification examination or portfolio on 7/27/20, IPUs may be obtained at any point from 7/27/20 up until the submission deadline of 10/31/25).
Are IPU entries reviewed as they are entered?
IPU activities are not reviewed by staff until the portfolio itself has been submitted for review.
Can I use additional IPUs that were earned but not submitted during my current recertifying year towards my next recertification cycle?
No, all IPUs need to have occured within your current recertification cycle.
Are IPUs acceptable if accrued during the year I am recertifying?
Yes, IPUs for your current recertifying year should have occurred between your initial certified date or the approval date of your last recertification and your current good through date.
If I earn CEUs/CNEs from another institution (i.e. CDC, state hospital association, etc.), can I apply these to IPUs?
Yes, CEUs/CNEs translate to IPUs because you are earning credits from an accredited institution. However, not all CEUs/CNEs will be weighted equally with IPUs. For example, you may earn 13 CEUs for a conference you attend, but you will only earn 10 IPUs for that same conference. Please refer to the IPU Criteria Chart to see how many IPUs can be claimed for each activity.
Can I convert my CEUs to IPUs? How do my CEUs relate to IPUs?
IPUs are either awarded per hour of activity, with no partial credit given, or assigned in a lump sum, depending on the activity. Activities which earn IPUs per hour, such as online, paper, or live format education, have a 1:1 conversion rate with CMEs and CNEs.
Please refer to the below conversion chart for more information about how to convert CEUs to IPUs.
Duration of participation/instruction
-Online, paper, or live format education
-Attendance at national conference IP-related sessions
60 minutes of instruction or 1 “contact hour”
How do I know if the organization is accredited?
- Refer to this list of accredited state health departments published by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/accreditation/departments.html.
- Refer to this database published by the U.S. Department of Education to determine which postsecondary institutions and programs are accredited: https://ope.ed.gov/dapip/#/home.
- Download a list of all currently accredited continuing medical education (CME) providers: https://www.accme.org/find-cme-provider?title=
For other instances, please reach out to the coordinator or organizer of the activity you participated in to verify if your participation was from an accredited organization. All submitted activities must be provided by a credible organization and at least 20/40 infection prevention units must be sponsored through an accredited organization or state licensing board.
What do I put in the Provider and Accreditor sections on my portfolio?
For example, if you are attending an educational session through SHEA:
Accreditor: Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®)
If the provider is not accredited, you may leave the accreditor section blank or input "Not Applicable."
Can I earn IPUs from educational offerings from accredited/approved organizations if they don’t award CEUs for the offering?
No. CBIC does not award IPUs for educational offerings that do not provide continuing education or contact hours.
When can I access the professional portfolio?
You may access the recertification portfolio and begin tracking your IPUs via the CBIC website once you have earned your CIC certification.
How much time do I have to log my IPUs?
The recertification portfolio must be submitted by 6:59pm EST on October 31 of the year you are due to recertify.
I have retired or am currently unemployed since my last recertification. Can I still recertify?
Yes, as long as you do not lapse in your certification, you are eligible to recertify.
Can all my IPUs be from the same category (i.e. national conference)?
As long as you meet 6 out of the 8 domains, the categories can be from any of the categories.
For participating on a committee or within a professional organization (such as a local APIC Chapter), is a letter with various dates and participation level sufficient or does each participating activity need to be documented separately?
CBIC requires separate documentation for each committee or organization activity/participation.
I attended a conference, but am unable to obtain a certificate of attendance. Is an expense report adequate supporting documentation?
No, an expense report would not be adequate. We advise you go back to the provider for written confirmation of your attendance.
Can I use past conference attendance for IPUs even if it occurred before IPUs were implemented by CBIC?
Yes, as long as it happened during your current recertifying period.
Does CBIC accept hard copies of unit documentation?
No, all unit documentation detailing participation or completion of IPUs must be submitted electronically via the online professional portfolio.
Do online or on-demand webinars count towards IPUs?
Yes, if the topic is related to infection prevention and provides continuing education it would be eligible towards IPUs.
Do I need to notify CBIC if I plan on recertifying using IPUs?
No prior notification is needed. You will automatically gain access to your portfolio in your recertification year.
I don’t see a button to purchase my portfolio. Why can’t I submit it?
There are a few reasons why you cannot submit payment:
- Unlike the recertification exam, you pay for your portfolio only when you are ready to submit your portfolio. Once you have entered the minimum required number of IPUs into your portfolio, the option to pay will become available.
- If you have submitted the required amount of IPUs and cannot submit, verify that all required sections of the portfolio are completed. Incomplete sections will be highlighted.
- You cannot submit a portfolio with more than 60 IPUs. If you have more than 60 IPUs, removing some activities will allow you to submit your portfolio.
How do I know if my IPU portfolio has been submitted?
Once payment has been made, you'll have three green check marks at the bottom of your portfolio. You'll need to click the "Submit My IPU Application for Review" button underneath the check marks to officially submit your portfolio. There will be a message that states "Your portfolio is now under review." once it has been submitted succesfully.
Does CBIC wait until October 31 to begin reviewing submitted IPU portfolios?
CBIC staff reviews and approves IPU portfolios in the order they are received. Please allow up to 30 business days for review of your submitted portfolio.
What happens if I fail to accumulate the required 40 IPUs in the time allotted or my units are not accepted?
If you fail to submit your portfolio by the deadline of October 31, you have until November 30 to submit the portfolio with an added late fee of 25% of the recertification fee. The only method to obtain recertification for candidates who miss the November 30 deadlines are to purchase and complete the initial proctored examination by December 31.
If upon review and resubmission and your units are not accepted, you must take the proctored CIC exam, which must be purchased by December 17 and completed by December 31.
What is an example of an IPU that might not be accepted?
Attending an educational offering that is completely removed from infection prevention and control related topics. At least one of the knowledge domains must be addressed for each IPU entry.
Can I resubmit my portfolio if CBIC initially rejects it?
CBIC will notify you if your portfolio does not meet the standards for recertification through continuing education. You will be able to resubmit your portfolio with corrections up to two times and there are no fees associated with resubmission.
If my IPU portfolio is rejected, will I be refunded?
CBIC will notify you if your portfolio needs corrections and will work with you to get those resolved. If you fail to respond or to make corrections by the given deadline, you would not be provided a refund.