CIC® Initial Certification FAQ

Certification Overview

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  What is certification?

The primary purpose of certification is to increase 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 prevention and control professionals can demonstrate a mastery of this knowledge by taking and passing a comprehensive examination developed by the Certification Board of Infection Control & Epidemiology (CBIC). Infection prevention and control professionals who become certified are authorized and encouraged to use the internationally recognized initials CIC® after their names and in their titles.

The Initial certification is good for five years after which successful completion of recertification extend certification at five-year intervals.

  Why is certification important?

Certification represents the commitment of an infection prevention and control professional and an institution to the continued improvement of infection prevention and control functions and their contribution to healthcare and patient safety. The mission of CBIC is to protect the public through the development, administration, and promotion of an accredited certification in infection prevention and control.

As an infection prevention and control professional, certification reaffirms that through your study and hard work, you have an internationally recognized level of knowledge in the field of infection prevention and control. It also gives you a sense of professional accomplishment.

It also signals to employers and colleagues that you are committed to professional growth in the field of infection prevention and 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 shows that the Joint Commission recognizes the professionalism of people with the CIC® credential.

  How does the CIC® certification help my career?

The Certification Board of Infection Control & Epidemiology's mission is to protect the public and does so by promoting professional certification of the highest quality. You can help CBIC's mission by recognizing that Certification Is Commitment!

Being Certified in Infection Control (CIC®) can help in your career in several ways:

  • Enhances credibility and prestige
  • Personal satisfaction
  • You become part of a team which helps to lower infection in healthcare settings
  • Proves to others you are knowledgeable in the field
  • Supports future knowledge and skills
  • Shows commitment to best practices in infection prevention and control and improved patient care
  • Moves your profession forward!
  How do I apply for the initial certification examination?

For step-by-step instructions on applying for the initial certification examination, view our video tutorial. The online and paper application for the initial certification examination can be accessed here.

  What is the pass rate of the CIC® exam? What is the percentage of correct answers needed to pass?

In 2018, 72.4% of candidates who took the initial certification examination passed the exam, up from 67.5% in 2017. In 2018, 90.2% of those who took the recertification examination passed the exam, up from 84.5% in 2017.

When the initial form of an examination is developed following a job analysis, a criterion referenced passing point study is conducted. Such a study ensures that passing the examination depends on the amount of knowledge displayed, and does not depend on the other candidates taking the examination. In the passing point study, content experts develop a definition of an individual who should barely be able to pass the examination, sometimes called a minimally competent practitioner or a borderline expert. Following considerable discussion, training, and practice, the content experts provide a judgment about the difficulty of each item on an examination form for this borderline expert. The aggregation of these judgments provides an estimate of the number of correct answers that would likely be provided by the borderline expert, and therefore, an estimate of the most appropriate passing point for the examination. Since examination forms may vary slightly in difficulty, it may not be appropriate to require exactly the same number of correct answers to pass. This is why the passing score may be different for each version of the examination.

To hear additional information about the examination development process, please listen to our podcast here.

  What is the difference between a certificate and a certification?

A certificate is awarded following the completion of a course or series of courses and to provide education and training around an intended learning outcome.

A certification is awarded following successful completion of a comprehensive examination process and to provide an independent assessment of the knowledge, skills, and/or competencies required for competent performance of an occupation or professional role.

A certificate program typically encompasses baseline knowledge while a certification indicates mastery of knowledge.

  How do the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC) and Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC Canada/PCI Canada) encourage certification?

APIC encourages all its eligible members to become certified and continue qualifying for the CIC® credential by recertifying at the appropriate intervals. Certification is a part of APIC's education program as it fosters continuing upgrading of infection prevention and control professionals knowledge of infection prevention and control and applied epidemiology. APIC looks upon its members who earn the CIC® credential as having reached a significant milestone in their infection prevention and control careers. Certification is an important aspect in an infection prevention and control professional’s potential to contribute to increased overall patient safety. A goal of 100% certification of eligible members is desired by APIC. IPAC Canada/PCI Canada is a national, multidisciplinary professional association for those engaged in the prevention and control of infections. IPAC Canada/PCI 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.

  Is certification well-established and well-recognized?

The impetus for certification in infection prevention and control started in 1977 because of the efforts of the New England Chapter of the Association for Professionals 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.

Applying & Reapplying

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  How much does the initial certification examination cost?

The initial certification examination costs $375.

  What type of degree do I need to apply?

A post-secondary degree from an accredited institution

 

OR

 

A three-year diploma RN degree (applicable through December 31, 2020).

  How do I apply?

To apply for initial certification, you will need to fill out an application. The online and paper application for the initial certification examination can be accessed here. For step-by-step instructions on applying for the initial certification examination, view our video tutorial.

  Do you have to have a certain job title to apply?

You do not need to have a certain job title to apply. However, below are some job titles that may fit the CIC requirements:

  • Infection Preventionist
  • Infection Control Link Nurse
  • RN Infection Preventionist
  • Epidemiologist (also includes Hospital Epidemiologist)

Research Analyst (ICP/Epidemiology related)

  I’m an LPN/LVN. Can I sit for the CIC exam?

No. In order to sit for the CIC exam, you must meet the education requirements which include having an RN Diploma or associate degree or higher from a post-secondary institution. LPN/LVN training is considered a certificate/vocational program, which is why it doesn't meet the education requirement.

  Can I send my application materials prior to applying?

No, you must complete the entire application process.

  Do you pre-screen candidate applications?

No. CBIC does not pre-screen candidate applications. It is highly recommended you review all the eligibility requirements prior to applying.

  Do you offer a print version of the test?

No, we only offer computer based testing through Prometric.

  Can I take the CIC® exam to help me apply for a job in infection prevention?

No, as part of the eligibility requirements for the exam, you must provide a current job description and attestation statement showing your responsibility over infection prevention and control procedures.

However, there are no eligibility requirements for the a-IPC.

  Is there a specific degree I need to hold to apply?

So long as you have a post-secondary degree from an accredited institution, your specific degree does not matter.

  Do I have to reapply if I failed my exam?

It’s up to you. If you would like to become certified, you will need to successfully pass the initial certification examination. To maintain certification after initial certification, you will need to successfully pass the recertification examination.

  Do I have to pay again to reapply?

Yes. You must pay the full application fee of $375 to reapply.

  How long do I have to wait to apply if I failed?

You can apply to retake the exam immediately if you are applying for the initial exam. For recertification, please allow 5 business days for your information to be updated in the system as you will need to take the proctored recertification exam.

  What do I have to submit if I am reapplying?

You will need to submit any supporting documentation and payment again.

  I don’t meet all the eligibility requirements. What can I do?

If you are still interested in obtaining certification, continue to review the eligibility requirements to determine the steps you need to take to become eligible. You can also sign up for the CBIC newsletter for certification and eligibility updates, as well as view other educational opportunities through our partner organization, APIC: https://apic.org/.

If you are still interested in certification, consider the Associate - Infection Prevention and Control (a-IPC) entry-level examination. More information about the a-IPC can be found here.

CBIC ID/My Profile

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  How do I create a CBIC login?

To create a log in, click the “Forgot login, or logging in for the first time?” link from the My Profile login page. You will receive an email with further instructions on creating a login.

  My contact information has changed. How do I update it?

Please visit the My Certification tab at www.cbic.org and log in to My Profile. If you need assistance, please contact info@cbic.org.

  How do I reset my log in?

To reset your log in, click the “Forgot login, or logging in for the first time?” link found on the My Profile login page. After entering your email address, you will receive an email with a link to reset your username and password.

  How do I reset my password?

Select the “Forgot login, or logging in for the first time?” link from the My Profile login page. You will receive an email with a link to reset your password.

You may also contact the CBIC Executive Office for further assistance. 

Scheduling and/or Cancelling Examination Appointment

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  How do I schedule my exam?

After the exam application process has been completed, candidates are sent an email containing instructions on how to schedule their CIC® exam through the Prometric online scheduling portal.

  How much time do I have to schedule and take my exam once my application is accepted?

Once your application to take the examination has been approved, you have 90 days to sit for it. 

  Where do I find testing dates?

There are no set testing dates (i.e. the exam isn’t given twice per year at specified locations). The CIC® examination is offered by appointment at hundreds of Prometric testing sites continuously throughout the year. After the exam application process has been completed, candidates are sent an email containing instructions on how to schedule their CIC® exam through the Prometric online scheduling portal.

  How do I reschedule or cancel my examination appointment?

You may reschedule your appointment on line through Prometric, our testing facility, via https://www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/cbic or by calling 800-278-6222.

Rescheduling fees, paid through Prometric, are as follows:

* Rescheduling 30 days or more in advance – No Charge
* Rescheduling between 5 and 29 days in advance - $30 Fee
* No rescheduling or cancellations are allowed within 5 days of your appointment; examination fees will be forfeited

  What happens if I no longer want to take the examination?

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 $72 administrative processing fee for cancellations 90 to 60 days from scheduled examination date or eligibility end date. CBIC will refund your money less a $150 administrative processing fee for cancellations 59 to 5 days from scheduled examination date or eligibility end date.

  What is CBIC's extension policy?

Extension requests that will not be accepted: 

  • Not prepared to sit for examination
  • Requests submitted within 10 days of scheduled examination date or eligibility end-date without sufficient supporting documentation. Examples of supporting documentation include: doctors note, verifiable letter from direct manager or supervisor, etc.
  • Request to extend eligibility beyond 60 days of scheduled examination date or eligibility end date.

Extension eligibility includes request forms that are completed and submitted 30 to 10 days prior to scheduled examination date or eligiblity end-date (your eligibility end-date is 90 days from when you first received your eligibility email). 

The extension request form can be downloaded here.

  What type of identification do I need to bring with me to the testing center the day of my testing appointment?

You will be required to present one valid, government-issued ID (e.g., driver's license or passport, other federal or military ID), with your signature and a recognizable photograph. If you are testing outside of your country of citizenship, you must present a valid passport. If you do not provide correct identification at the time of the exam, it is considered a missed appointment.

**Please note: the information on your identification must match the information you provided on your application.

Preparing for the Exam

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  How much time is recommended to prepare for the exam when taking it for the first time?

Preparation depends on the amount of experience in infection prevention and control, as well as an individual’s learning style. You should not apply for the exam if you are not ready to take it within the 90 day window.

  Is it still recommended to wait two years to sit for the exam?

There is no specific time requirement that defines “sufficient experience;” however, CBIC emphasizes that this certification examination is geared towards the infection prevention and control professional who has had at least two years of full-time experience in infection prevention and control.

  Exam Resources
  What is the APIC Text Online?

The APIC Text Online (ATO) is the most comprehensive and up-to-date reference for infection prevention and control. Written, edited, and reviewed by more than 200 subject matter experts, the ATO reflects the latest guidelines, regulations, and standards of practice. It is considered a main study resource in preparing for the CIC® examination.

After the Exam

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  Do I get a receipt?

For the initial certification examination, the recertification examination, and merchandise receipts, contact the CBIC Executive Office at (414) 918-9796 or email info@cbic.org.

  How do I get my certificate?

Certificates are not automatically mailed upon successful certification. You must request your certificate. To download an electronic version of your official certificate, order a physical copy, or request a replacement certificate, fill out the Certificate Request form.

  How do I appeal my results?

If you are interested in appealing your results following the examination, please fill out the Appeal Request Form.

  When do I get my certificate?

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. If ordering a physical copy of your certificate, please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

  How do I have my name added to the Find a CIC directory?

If you originally chose to opt out of being included in the Find a CIC directory, please contact info@cbic.org with your name and ID number.

  My name is not listed in the Find a CIC directory?

If you do not see the name you are looking for and feel there is an error please contact info@cbic.org. Please allow 24 hours for changes to be reflected on the CBIC website.

  When will I get my score report for the exam?

A score report is generated upon completion for the initial certification examination and will be emailed to examinees by Prometric within one hour. A pass/fail indicator is generated immediately for the recertification exam.

  What if I don't get my score report or need to request a new one?

To access your score report, visit https://scorereports.prometric.com.

You will need to enter:

  1. Your confirmation #. This is the confirmation number that is displayed on your confirmation of appointment email sent from Prometric after scheduling. 
  2. Last name
  How do I get a verification letter?

To receive a verification letter, please email info@cbic.org with the following information:

-Certificant’s full name; correct spelling of first and last name.

-Certification number (if applicable)

  How do I obtain proof that I passed the examination?

To obtain proof of passing the examination, please contact the CBIC Executive Office to receive a verification letter.

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