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
  • Personal satisfaction
  • You become part of a team which helps to lower infection in healthcare settings
  • Demonstrates 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?

To apply for the examination, follow the instructions titled “Apply for the CIC©” at the bottom of the page.

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

In 2023, the pass rate was 71%. 1,869 candidates took the CIC in 2023. 

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 $410.

  What type of degree do I need to apply?

Based on the eligibility guidelines, CBIC recommends post-secondary education in a health-related field including but not limited to medicine, nursing, laboratory technology, or public health. This would mean that a diploma RN, an LPN/LVN, DPN, an Associate's degree nurse, a bachelor of science in public health etc.  Post-secondary includes public or private universities, colleges, community colleges, etc. 

  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 guidelines:

  • Infection Preventionist
  • Infection Control Link Nurse
  • RN Infection Preventionist
  • Epidemiologist (also includes Hospital Epidemiologist)
  • Research Analyst (ICP/Epidemiology related)
  What does the term, "direct responsibility," mean?

Within their role this person is responsible for providing consultation to departments or assigned practice settings on infection prevention and control program elements, practices and processes, as well as products used within health care facilities. For example, public health practitioners must be prepared to provide guidance appropriate to reduce transmission or halt outbreaks in a variety of practice settings and their job description includes this activity.

  How do I apply?

To apply for initial certification, you will need to fill out an application. A step-by-step guide is available online

  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 guidelines prior to applying.

  Do you offer a print version of the test?

No, we only offer computer based testing through Prometric.

  Do I have to reapply if I failed my exam?

Yes. If you failed the initial exam and still wish to pursue certification, you will need to reapply and successfully pass the initial certification examination.

  Do I have to pay again to reapply?

Yes. You must pay the full application fee to reapply.

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

There will be a mandatory 90-day waiting period between the date of your last exam and a new exam eligibility period. Please wait 90-day before attempting to reapply and make payment.

  Why do I have to wait 90-day before I can reapply for the examination?

Waiting periods are common for professional certification examinations. The waiting period helps maintain the validity and security of our examinations. Additionally, it ensures that those who were unsuccessful have the neccesary time to prepare for their next attempt.

CBIC ID/My Profile

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  How do I create a CBIC login?

Follow this link to create a login and password: You will need an active email address to proceed.

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

For those who have applied before or already have a login, follow this link to either sign-in to your profile and make any changes:

  How do I reset my password?

Follow this link and select “Forgot Password?”

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.

  What is considered domestic and international when I schedule my examination and need to select a testing site?

Domestic includes U.S. and Canada. Anywhere else would be considered international.

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

On the day of your appointment, you must bring a valid, government-issued form of identification that contains your signature and a recognizable photograph. This document must be in Latin characters. In addition, the first and last name displayed on your identification must match the name you used to register and confirm your examination appointment. If the name on the form of identification does not match your exam confirmation, please contact CBIC at prior to your testing date.

Candidates may be allowed to use an expired government-issued form of identification if they provide proof of renewal through a copy of a temporary government-issued form of identification along with the expired form of identification. 

Valid forms of identification in the US/Canada/International:

  • Driver's License
  • Military ID
  • Passport
  • National Identification Card

If the identification presented on exam day does not contain a signature but meets all other CBIC identification requirements, you must provide a secondary form of identification on exam day. The signature on your secondary identification must match exactly with the first and last name on your primary identification and with the names that you provided when you registered. The secondary identification must contain:

  • Signature (in Latin characters)


  What do I do if I no longer want to take the examination, need to reschedule my examination appointment, or would like to request an extension?

Please refer to CBIC's Examination Appointment Policy for information on rescheduling your examination appointment, requesting an extension to your current appointment date or eligibility end date, or cancelling your appointment date and/or eligibility altogether.

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
  Are study groups available?

Local APIC and IPAC Canada Chapters can help you find a local study group.

  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.

The APIC Text Online is available in a 12-month subscription and is $219 for non-members or $169 for APIC members.

After the Exam

Exam Scoring FAQs

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  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.

Scaled Scoring FAQs

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  How is the passing score determined with scaled scoring?

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, what kind 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 kind 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.

  Where can I read more about scaled scoring?

Other FAQs

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  How do I appeal my results?

If you are interested in appealing your examination experience following the examination, please fill out the Appeal Request Form. Requests must be placed within 30 days of the exam date by emailing the completed form to The cut score/pass point of the examination is a non-appealable issue. 

  Do I get a receipt?

For the initial certification examination, the recertification examination, and merchandise receipts, contact the CBIC Executive Office via email:

  When do I get my certificate?

Physical copies will no longer be sent out automatically. Successful candidates will receive an email from The Award Group with information on ordering a certificate.  

  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 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 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 exam.

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

To access your score report, visit

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 with the following information:

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

-Certification number (if applicable)