a-IPCTM Certification FAQ

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  What is the Associate – Infection Prevention and Control a-IPC™?

The a-IPCTM is an entry-level certification examination. Successful certification will demonstrate basic infection prevention competency. It is designed to enable those individuals who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the CIC® and others the opportunity to enter the field.

  What is the difference between the a-IPC™ and the CIC®?

The a-IPCTM is intended for the novice IP and those interested in pursuing careers in infection prevention and control who don’t meet the CIC® eligibility requirements. The CIC® is intended for those professionals already working or practicing in the field of infection prevention and control. The a-IPCTM is a separate credential from the CIC®.

*Passing the a-IPCTM does not automatically qualify you for the CIC®. You must still meet the CIC eligibility requirements to sit for the CIC®

  What is the benefit of the a-IPC™?

The a-IPCTM is the perfect stepping stone to prove a candidate’s foundational knowledge, interest and dedication to the field. Successful certification indicates interest in the field to potential or current employers.

  How long is the a-IPC™ valid for?

The a-IPCTM is valid for three years.

  What happens after the three-year entry-level certification period?

The a-IPCTM is not renewable. Once the three-year period is up, it is expected that candidates will continue on to get their CIC®. This demonstrates commitment to the field of IPC, as well as mastery of knowledge.

  How much does it cost?

There is an application fee of $295.

  How do I apply for the a-IPC™?

Candidates interested in the a-IPCTM can apply and pay the application fee online: https://secure.cbic.org/imiscbic/cbic/profile/

  Are there any eligibility requirements to apply for the a-IPC™?

There are no job-specific or educational requirements to apply for the a-IPCTM. Applicants ideally will have an interest in the field of infection prevention and control.

  How many questions are on the a-IPC™ examination?

There are 100 questions in total. 85 of the questions are used in computing the score.

  How long is the a-IPC™ exam?

The time length of the a-IPCTM examination is 120 minutes. The sit time of the entire examination, including tutorials and post-exam surveys, is 150 minutes.

  If I decide I no longer want to take the exam, can I cancel my application?

If you decide that you no longer want to take the examination, you may contact the CBIC office and ask the staff to cancel your eligibility. CBIC will refund your money less a $80 administrative processing fee.

  How do I prepare for the a-IPC™?

CBIC does not endorse any particular method of study or education. However, CBIC highly suggests reviewing the content outline and list of references available in the CBIC Candidate Handbook.You should study from the texts that are used to write the questions for the exam. In addition, CBIC’s partner organization, APIC, offers some study materials. Visit www.apic.org for more information.

  Where can I take the a-IPC™?

The a-IPCTM is administered at hundreds of testing sites throughout the United States, Canada, and at select international sites through the testing company Prometric. To locate a testing center closest to you, visit Prometric’s site.

  If I fail the a-IPC™, can I reapply?

Yes, candidates may reapply for the exam at anytime. There is a 6 month waiting period between the date of your last exam and your new eligibility period. 

  How is the exam scored?

Your examination score is based on the total number of scored items you answered correctly. Fifteen items on the examination are in pre-test slots and do not count towards your score. 

  Will each content area be scored separately?

No. The content areas are not scored separately. There is one reported pass/fail decision.

  How is the passing score established?

The minimal qualifications, represented by a passing score, are determined through a formal process called a standard setting study, where a panel of content experts recommends a standard and a passing score to CBIC.  The raw passing score chosen by CBIC is set to equal a scaled score of 700. 

  What is a scaled score?

Scaled scores are determined by converting the number of questions answered correctly to a scaled score that ranges from 300 to 900. A candidate needs a total test scaled score of at least 700 to pass the examination. Scaled scores provide a uniform frame of reference based on the standard adopted by CBIC of the threshold at which a candidate demonstrates minimum competency in infection control.  The scaled scores account for variation among forms, so candidates are held to the same standard regardless of which form they take. 

  Is it possible that one of my colleagues had a harder or easier examination?

All examination forms are assembled using the same test specifications.  Although all attempts are made to ensure that the difficulty level of the different forms is as equivalent as possible, there may be slight variations. To account for these variations, the forms are statistically equated so that the passing score remains consistent with the standard used on the standard setting examination.  Equating is a statistical process that adjusts for differences in test difficulty so that scores from different test forms are comparable.  Examinations that are either easier or more difficult than the examination upon which the standard and the passing score were established will have the raw passing cut score adjusted up or down.

  Can I find out how many questions I answered correctly?

No. The number of correct answers required to pass the examination may vary across forms and therefore, the number of questions answered correctly is not reported to candidates. Scaled scores are reported instead. The conversion to scaled scores makes comparisons across forms consistent.

  Is a scaled score a percentage of a raw score?

No. Scaled scores are calculated by using statistical methods to convert raw scores to a standard scale. The distribution of points across the scale range depends on where the passing score is set. A percentage score cannot be derived from the scaled score.

  If I pass the exam, what type of feedback will I receive?

You will receive a pass message with instructions about your certification.  You will not be provided with a numerical scaled score.

  If I fail the exam, what type of feedback will I receive?

You will receive a scaled score, which can range from 300-699. In addition, you will be provided with diagnostic performance levels in each content area to guide you in future study, if you decide to retake the examination.

  I scored close to 700, does this mean I could have failed by one question?

How close a score is to passing may vary slightly across forms, but it is likely that between one and three additional questions should have been answered correctly to pass.

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