Recertification FAQ

Recertification by Examination

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  What do I have to do to maintain my CIC® certification?

If you opt to maintain your CIC® certification by examination, you must take and pass the recertification examination. The recertification examination is offered online in web-based format. You can test on your own home computer and on your own schedule. For those whose certification expires on December 31, 2019, the recertification examination must be purchased on or before December 19, 2019. Applications submitted after December 19, 2019 will not be accepted. A passing score must be achieved, and your recertification examination must be completed by December 31, 2019 at 11:59 pm Greenwich Mean Time / 6:59 pm EST (Use this time zone converter to ensure you submit your exam on time: You must have an updated, valid email address on file with CBIC in order to receive the confirmation email with specific instructions on how to log into your recertification examination. This email includes instructions on how to log into the exam, as well as troubleshooting information. Certificants are able to login and out as many times as necessary within the established testing window to complete the examination; responses/answers during previous logins will be saved. Candidate pass/fail results are provided on the screen immediately following submission of the exam and completion of the post-exam survey.

  What is the "Testing Window"?

The CIC® recertification examination must be ordered in the same calendar year as the candidate is due for recertification. It can be ordered beginning January 1 of that year. The deadline to order the CIC® recertification examination is December 19. No applications for the CIC® recertification examination will be accepted after December 19. It must be completed and submitted for scoring by 11:59 pm Greenwich Mean Time / 6:59 pm EST on December 31 of the recertifying year. However, CBIC strongly recommends submitting the CIC® recertification examination no later than December 30 to be sure that everything is submitted successfully in time. Use this time zone converter to ensure you submit your exam on time:

  What are the differences between the CIC® initial certification examination and the CIC® recertification examination?

The CIC® initial certification examination consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, of which 135 are scored (15 are pretest questions and do not count for or against your score). Candidates will not know which questions are the pre-test questions. The initial certification exam is the only option for the first-time certifier. The initial certification examination is a timed; closed-book test administered by computer and must be taken at specified testing agencies which are geographically located throughout the United States and internationally. Read more about the initial certification exam in the Candidate Handbook.

Like the CIC® initial certification exam, the CIC® recertification examination is also a 150 multiple-choice question exam of which 135 are scored (15 are pretest questions and do not count for or against your score). Candidates will not know which questions are the pre-test questions. The recertification examination is a web-based exam and a link to the exam is emailed to the candidate. It is an open-book exam and can be completed at the candidate’s pace, but must be submitted for scoring by 11:59 pm Greenwich Mean Time / 6:59 pm EST on December 31st* of the year in which the certification expires. Both tests are based on the most current CBIC Practice Analysis and Examination Content Outline. Read more about the procedures for the recertification examination in the Candidate Handbook.

*CBIC strongly recommends submitting the recertification exam no later than December 30th to be sure that everything is submitted successfully in time. Use this time zone converter to ensure you submit your exam on time:

  Why is five years the interval for retesting?

Changes in federal regulations, accrediting standards, healthcare products, and patient care practices occur frequently. CBIC performs a practice analysis every 4-5 years in order to capture the impact of these changes on the profession. In order to assess the competency of the certificant given these changes, five years was chosen as the CIC® certification renewal and is consistent with good testing practice standards.

  I prefer to earn continuing education credits rather than retest. Is that an option?

Yes. Beginning in 2020, recertifying candidates may recertify either by passing a web-based recertification examination or through continuing education by obtaining a minimum of 40 Infection Prevention Units (IPUs) in acccredited content relevant to infection prevention and control and matching the current domains.

  I paid for the CIC® recertification examination and didn't receive a link, what's wrong?

Some email programs see the email as spam. Check your spam folder for the email. To minimize the possibility of not receiving the link (and the score after you submit the exam) add the email address ( to your address book as a new contact after you submit your recertification examination order form. This way your computer is more likely to interpret the email as "friendly." If you are using a work email address, contact your IT department and ask them to "allow" emails from this address to reach your email inbox. Some companies have filters which prevent perceived spam from reaching employees. If you continue to experience issues, please call the CBIC Executive Office at (414) 918-9796 or email us at for assistance.

  What browser do I need to use to take my recertification exam?

Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are the recommended web browsers when taking the recertification exam. CBIC does not recommend using Internet Explorer.

  What is a web browser?

A web browser is the software application or program used to access the web. Common web browsers include Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

  Can I access my recertification exam anywhere?

The recertification examination is a self-paced exam administered online, and therefore does not require candidates to travel to a testing facility. However, CBIC recommends using the browsers Mozilla Firefox or Chrome to complete the exam.

  Where do I find the SARE exam?

The SARE exam is also known as the recertification examination. The application for the recertification examination can be found here.

  How soon after I submit my CIC® recertification examination will I receive the correct answers to the questions I answered incorrectly?

CBIC does not provide the answers to questions answered incorrectly on the CIC® recertification examination. CBIC is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). One of NCCA's standards requires that certification programs develop and adhere to appropriate, standardized, and secure procedures for the development and administration of the assessment instruments (examinations). Certification programs are responsible for protecting the integrity of assessment information, which includes the questions. The responsibility requires the use of security processes that restrict access to assessment information to authorized individuals. Therefore, providing the missed questions and the correct answers would remove the security associated with the certification examination. After completion of the post-exam survey, an onscreen pass/fail indicator is generated to inform the candidate of the result of their examination. In addition, a letter will be mailed to the candidate disclosing their overall score on the recertification exam two to four weeks after exam submission.

  If I don't pass the CIC® recertification examination, can I take it again?

No. You can only take the CIC® recertification examination once during your recertification cycle. However, you can test again using the proctored CIC® certification examination administered at Prometric testing facilities to maintain your certification if you fail the recertification exam.

  If I don’t pass the CIC® recertification examination, how long do I have to wait to register to take the certification exam?

There is no waiting period to take the proctored certification examination administered at Prometric testing facilities if you don’t pass the recertification exam. If you fail the recertification examination, the CBIC office will email you the new examination application using the email address on file. If you do not pass this examination, your certification will lapse and you will have to wait until the following year to reapply as a first-time applicant. Remember to plan ahead, because you must pass either the recertification examination or the certification exam (only if the recertification exam is failed) by 11:59 pm Greenwich Mean Time / 6:59 pm EST on or before December 31st* of your recertification year.

*CBIC strongly recommends submitting the recertification exam no later than December 30  to be sure that everything is submitted successfully in time. Use this time zone converter to ensure you submit your exam on time:

  How soon after I pass the exam will I receive my certificate in the mail?

An electronic version of your official certificate will be available 2-3 days after completion of the exam. To order a physical copy of your certificate, please fill out the Certificate Request form.

  Who can I contact to get a receipt for my exam?

Please contact the CBIC Executive office at (414) 918-9796 or to request a receipt.

  Have you moved since you last certified?

Certificants are responsible for recertification regardless of whether or not they have received notification of expiration from the CBIC Executive Office. If you have moved since you last applied for CIC® certification or recertification, it is imperative that you send your updated information to the CBIC office. Keeping our database up-to-date allows us to notify you when your certification is due to expire and to send you CBIC news in our quarterly e-newsletter. Notifying the APIC or IPAC offices does NOT automatically notify the CBIC office.

To request more information about CBIC or the CIC® credential, or to provide feedback about this web-site, please email the CBIC Executive Office at

Recertification by IPUs FAQ

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  What is Recertification by Infection Prevention Units (IPUs)?

Recertification by Infection Prevention Units (IPUs) is a process whereby recertification after the initial CIC® exam can be accomplished by obtaining IPUs in accredited content relevant to infection prevention and control and matching the current domains.

  How much does it cost?

There is an application fee of $375.

  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.

  What is the value of recertification?

Recertification demonstrates continued knowledge and mastery in the field of infection prevention and control.

  How does the Recertification by Infection Prevention Units (IPUs) process work?

Recertification by IPUs is achieved every five years. Candidates who choose to recertify this way must submit a “professional portfolio” using the interactive online submission system. IPUs are accumulated by earning points from the projects or activities outlined in the Candidate Handbook.

  What is a professional portfolio?

A professional portfolio refers to the method whereby electronic documentation of successful completion of IPUs is uploaded.

  How many IPUs do I need to accumulate?

You must accumulate a minimum of 40 IPUs.

  Can I accumulate IPUs at any time during my 5-year recertification period?

Yes, you may accumulate IPUs at any point during your 5-year recertification period, as long as you are able to provide supporting documentation with your professional portfolio submission.

  What are examples of IPUs?

IP-related presentations, publications, academic education, national conferences, multi-day educational offerings, participation in a professional organization, research and teaching are all examples of acceptable IPUs. All submitted IPUs are required to be from an accredited institution. A full list of IPUs can be downloaded here.

  What does it mean that IPUs must be from an “accredited organization”?

An accredited organization is defined as one that is nationally or regionally accredited; these institutions are held to standards and processes for academic quality, improvement and accountability.

  What does it mean that my IPUs must cover at least six domains?

“Domains” refers to the eight categories of the examination:

  1. Identification of Infectious Disease Processes
  2. Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation
  3. Preventing/Controlling the Transmission of Infectious Agents
  4. Employee/Occupational Health
  5. Management and Communication
  6. Education and Research
  7. Environment of Care
  8. Cleaning, Sterilization, Disinfection, Asepsis

The activities you participate in towards obtaining IPUs must relate to and align with at least six of those domains.

  When can I access the professional portfolio?

You may access the recertification portfolio via the CBIC website beginning January 1 of your recertifying year (ex: if you are up for recertification in 2024, you will be able to access your professional portfolio and begin logging IPUs on January 1, 2024).

  How much time do I have to log my IPUs?

The recertification portfolio must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on November 1 of the year you are due to recertify.

  What are examples of documentation I can provide to demonstrate proof of attendance or completion?
  • Verification Letter:
    • Official verification letter documenting the provider name, participant name, date, time, location of participation, and number of credits.
  • Educational Events:
    • A transcript detailing completion of educational activity or workshop.
  • Professional Performance:
    • Copy of presentation, article, publication, or research indicating author’s name.
    • Certificate showing your attendance at national conferences.
    • Signed letter from professional organization detailing your dates of participation and role.
  If I attended the APIC Conference four years in a row (or another accredited national conference), would this count towards all 40 IPUs?

Yes. It is expected that your attendance at national conferences encompasses all eight domains due to the variety of activities and sessions offered. As long as you provide proof of attendance by obtaining a certificate or other documentation from the conference provider, this would qualify.

  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.

  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.

  How soon after I submit my professional portfolio will I be notified?

The entire application process can take up to 30 days from date of receipt. You will receive an email during the 30 day period after submitting your professional portfolio indicating whether or not you successfully submitted the required minimum of 40 IPUs and if the units aligned with the prescribed list of acceptable activities.

  What happens if I fail to accumulate the required 40 IPUs in the time allotted or my units are not accepted?
  • If you do not accumulate 40 IPUs by November 1st, or if your portfolio does not meet eligibility requirements, a revision will be requested. Once your portfolio is re-submitted (limited to two re-submissions), it will be reviewed again and approved or denied. If the portfolio still does not pass review, recertification must be completed via the proctored exam (application and fees apply).
  • At that point, if you do not achieve a passing score on the proctored exam by December 31st of your recertifying year, your certification will lapse and you will have to wait until the following year to reapply as a first-time applicant.