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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.