Certification in Infection Control: What You Need To Know

Infection preventionists (IPs) are aware that the Certification Board in Infection Control (CBIC) pays close attention to changes in the certification process. 2020 was a turbulent and transformative year for the industry, and some may look back remembering a time when the Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC®) credential was given to a select group of highly skilled IPs, primarily in the acute care setting. CBIC envisions a time when IPs across the health care continuum must demonstrate verified infection prevention competency.

The new a-IPC credential, the CIC exam, and a new recertification procedure Some may question whether the CIC credential still has the same standing as it once did because it is becoming more widely available. The CIC credential is the “pinnacle of practice,” according to the chapter on certification in the 2014 APIC Text. ” This is no longer true. The value of an infection prevention certification has increased from what it once was. It is for any frontline IP in a healthcare setting who chooses to show competency, not just a select group of experts. Today, demonstrating competency through certification in infection control is a milestone, and it’s frequently a prerequisite for jobs.

Just over 80% of employers prefer or demand certification, according to the 2020 CBIC Practice Analysis. This is a 10% increase from the 2014 Practice Analysis. The diversity of those with the CIC is greater than ever. This diversity encompasses disciplines, geography, and health care settings. There are more than 6500 CIC IPs in the United States and over 8000 from over 40 different countries. They are physicians, nurses, laboratorians, and epidemiologists. Certified IPs will continue to be respected authorities throughout the continuum of care as the world begins to recover from the effects of a novel respiratory disease (COVID-19) that caused a public health disaster; from nursing homes to critical care units, the CBIC cannot miss the opportunity to confirm the competency of those entering our profession.

It has become more challenging for some people without work experience to enter the profession as the CIC credential continues to become a requirement of employment within infection prevention departments. Even though some of them have degrees, they still need work experience in the medical field to be certified. Because employers will choose the appropriate level of education for their setting, the a-IPC has no educational requirements. This could be a Master of Public Health for some settings, or it could be a Licensed Vocational Nurse for other settings. The individual will need to possess a post-secondary degree in a health-related field in order to advance to the CIC credential. Additionally, because the a-IPC does not permit renewal, pursuing the opportunity to take the CIC aligns with the development of the IP career and competency.

According to CBIC, the CIC exam should gauge the proficiency of those in charge of direct programmatic infection prevention in a medical setting. Starting in June 2021, the CIC will demand that applicants have a post-secondary degree in a health-related subject. A minimum of one year of full-time IP employment, two years of part-time IP employment, or 3000 hours of infection prevention employment must have been completed by candidates for certification within the previous three years. The certificant is accountable for activities within the domains of cleaning, disinfection, sterilization, and asepsis in addition to the previously necessary domains.

The current practicing IP’s professional activities reflect their efforts to stay current with the field, and IPU recertification reflects this. IPUs are earned during the recertification period and given out for tasks that frequently involve sharing lessons learned. IPUs, for instance, are given out for the publication of articles in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, and poster presentations at professional events. IPUs must include information pertinent to the practice of IP, but they also offer a way to reward the efforts of IP professionals. This is just as demanding and probably more rewarding than an annual open-book multiple choice exam.

Infection prevention is a team sport. Even though not every healthcare worker will end up being a CIC, they all need to be familiar with the fundamentals of infection control. Our goal is to establish pathways for all levels of healthcare professionals to become competent in infection prevention across the continuum of care. We think that providing health care free from infection is only possible if all medical professionals are trained in and skilled at performing infection control procedures.

Yes, we firmly believe that verified competency in infection prevention, specific to the level of care and responsibilities the person is charged with, results in infection-free healthcare. In the future, there might be a number of new certification types created. The ability of healthcare professionals to deliver safe healthcare in all settings is crucial for the survival of those we work with and those we are responsible for.

The Value of Certification in Infection Prevention and Control

Who should get IPC certification?

Here are seven professions where individuals may think about obtaining an certification in infection prevention and control:

A hospital manager’s main responsibilities include controlling the daily operation of key hospital processes that have an impact on personnel and medical staff. Managers of hospitals oversee patient care operations, budgeting, planning, policymaking, and marketing.

A registered nurse who works in the field of public health is known as a public health nurse. They work to increase access to healthcare for underserved populations as well as public wellness and disease prevention.

An infection preventionist’s main responsibilities are to gather, comprehend, disseminate, and apply infection prevention data to the infection prevention team they work with. A person in this position frequently has nursing experience, though they may also have worked in other medical-related fields.

Taking care of patients is one of a registered nurse’s main responsibilities. They are in charge of a number of crucial patient care tasks, such as determining the patient’s needs, placing test orders, and conducting diagnostic procedures. Additionally, they write patient care plans, prescribe and give out medication to patients in hospitals.

A primary responsibility of an epidemiologist is to investigate the causes and spread of diseases. They conduct research, gather data, and provide that information to front-line medical professionals and decision-makers. They play a key role in the creation of methods for identifying, comprehending, containing, and preventing the spread of diseases.

A research scientist’s main responsibilities in the medical field are planning, designing, and carrying out scientific experiments. They work to better understand illnesses and medical conditions as well as develop treatments for them.

Primary responsibilities: A doctor who treats and prevents transmissible diseases is known as an infectious disease specialist. They carry out infectious disease diagnosis, recommend therapies, and assist post-infection rehabilitation for recovering patients.

What is a certification in infection control?

For those working in medicine, infection control, or public health, certification in infectious control is a nationally recognized credential. The strategies, tactics, and information used in healthcare settings to prevent the spread of infections is known as infection control. Their work is intended to safeguard clients and staff at clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and facilities for rehabilitation

An objective standard of knowledge and safe practices in the field of infection control is established by infection control certification so that professionals can be assessed against it. Professionals in control and prevention can prove they are familiar with these guidelines and best practices by passing the test created by the Certification Board of Infection Control & Epidemiology (CBIC). IPC certification, which stands for infection prevention and control, is given by them.

Benefits of earning an infection prevention and control certification

Here are the top five advantages of obtaining an infection prevention and control certification:

Become knowledgeable about prevention methods

A certification represents an objective standard by which others can validate and recognize your knowledge of infection prevention. Your position as a vital member of a medical team is cemented by becoming an authority on infection prevention best practices.

Help create safe healthcare environments for patients

Obtaining certification in infection control can assist you in establishing and maintaining a secure environment for your patients’ care. One of any care facility’s top priorities is to ensure the health of all patients while they are receiving treatment. You are making a significant contribution to the success of that primary objective by acquiring the abilities and knowledge that certification verifies.

Teach others about safety techniques

By becoming certified, you are able to instruct your coworkers in the most recent safety practices. You’re about to ensure that the healthcare environments you work in are safe for patients, medical staff, and other employees who come in every day by learning how to inform other healthcare professionals.

Stay up to date regarding best practices

It’s important to stay current with the best practices for prevention and treatment as new research into the development and spread of infections emerges. Taking part in the certification process gives you access to the most recent information on research and innovation. It gives you access to fresh ideas and the chance to show off your command of practical application methods for that knowledge.

Develop safe workspaces for healthcare workers

Using the knowledge and best practices you learned from certification, you can create a safe workspace for your coworkers in the healthcare industry. Keeping your coworkers secure in a clinical setting ensures not only their health but also their ability to continue giving their patients compassionate care.

5 steps for how to get IPC certification

The following five steps will help you become certified in infection control:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

To become certified, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree. As you prepare for a career in medicine, take into account enrolling in degree programs like public health, pre-med, biology, or epidemiology.

2. Determine if certification or a credential is right for you

To create safe medical environments, learning about infection control and disease prevention measures is helpful. It may also give you a professional edge in landing jobs or advancing to leadership positions. It’s crucial to look into the different educational options available for infection control as you pursue knowledge and professional advancement. You might want to think about whether a digital credential would be more in line with your goals than a full certification in infection prevention and control.

Anyone working in the healthcare industry who is interested in a career in infection prevention and control and needs to obtain the fundamental qualifications should pursue IPC certification. The required program of study consists of five courses that emphasize providing information from the world’s top experts on infection control in healthcare settings and public health organizations.

The shorter digital credential is designed for healthcare professionals who want to learn more about infection prevention and control. It enables individuals to investigate infection control as a potential field of specialization but demands less time. As opposed to the full IPC certification, which requires passing a standardized test, earning this credential typically involves studying just one course.

3. Attend private courses

You must pass a required test if you decide to pursue full certification in infection control. One of the most efficient ways to get ready for the certification exam is to enroll in a private study course with others pursuing the same certification. You can prepare for the certification procedure by participating in group study sessions within a course that uses a defined methodology for teaching you how to pass the exam. It might even boost your self-assurance and readiness as you take the test.

4. Pass the CIC exam

5. Review certification renewal requirements

The initial IPC certification is valid for five years. After five years, you need to apply for recertification. You can achieve this by passing a recertification exam or by finishing IPUs, or continuing education courses.

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How much does CIC cost?

CIC® Requirements
  1. Attestation Statement (completed, signed and dated by current supervisor)
  2. Proof of Degree (a diploma or transcripts)
  3. Current CV/Resume.
  4. Official Job Description (must be signed by manager or supervisor immediately above you)
  5. $375 examination application fee.

How do I take the CIC exam?

Qualifications Required
  1. Bachelor’s degree in Nursing or any other health related field/Epidemiologist.
  2. Licensure with a relevant regulatory body, such as CPSA for physicians, CMLTA for lab technicians, or CARNA for nurses, may be necessary.
  3. Requires CIC Board certification on the job.

How do you become an infection control practitioner?

The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology’s Certified in Infection Control (CIC) credential is the one IPs most frequently pursue. Candidates for this certification process must hold a postsecondary degree and have experience working in infection control, preferably for two years or more.

How do you become an infection control epidemiologist?

The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology’s Certified in Infection Control (CIC) credential is the one IPs most frequently pursue. Candidates for this certification process must hold a postsecondary degree and have experience working in infection control, preferably for two years or more.

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