CIC Certification

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The CIC (Certified in Infection Control) traces its roots to 1978, when the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC) established a committee to determine the goals and methods for a certification program. In 1980, an offshoot of the APIC called the APIC Certification Association (APICCA) was formed to create and maintain the certification program, and in 1982, the organization changed its name to the Certification Board of Infection Control (CBIC). Although the name of the organization was later lengthened to include "and Epidemiology" at the end, the preferred abbreviation remains CBIC.[1]

The CIC exam receives major updates approximately every five years. The CBIC conducts a Practice Analysis study every five years to determine the responsibilities and competencies most crucial for modern infection control professionals. This information informs revisions to the content outline of the examination, and in turn, it influences the specific questions asked on the examination.[2][3] As of February 2015, the most recent practice analysis was conducted in 2009 and published in 2010.[3] The CBIC reports that it takes approximately 18 to 24 months to conduct a practice analysis and revise the CIC exam.[2]

Function of the Test

CIC Study Guide

The CIC (Certified in Infection Control) certification is a professional credential maintained by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC).[4][2] According to CBIC, the CIC has three purposes: to measure professionals' knowledge of current practice in infection prevention and control; to encourage individual professional development among those working in infection prevention and control; and to provide recognition for those professionals who meet the level of knowledge and ability necessary to earn the CIC credential.[4]

The CIC is a nationally recognized credential. As of 2015, the eligibility requirements include the following: candidates' current professional roles and responsibilities must focus on infection prevention and control; candidates must be certified healthcare professionals, whether as a registered nurse, physician, or other certified professional; candidates must currently be working in a healthcare setting; and candidates must meet minimum experience requirements in at least five areas of the field of infection prevention and control. There is no minimum requirement for hours or years worked, but CBIC intends for the CIC exam to be taken by professionals with at least two years of full-time experience.[5]

In 2013, the pass rate for the CIC exam was 58%.[6] The CBIC website lists approximately 5,700 professionals with current CIC certification.[7]

Test Administration

CIC Flashcards

The CIC exam is offered year-round at Prometric testing centers.[6] The examination fee is $350.[6]

The CIC exam is a computer-based test, and candidates receive score reports immediately following the examination. Official CIC certificates are mailed to successful candidates four to six weeks after the exam date. Unsuccessful candidates who wish to retake the exam must wait at least 90 days between attempts and must pay the full examination fee for every attempt.[6]

Candidates who require special testing accommodations for a disability are instructed to contact the CBIC directly at[4]

Test Format

Sections of the CIC Test
CIC Test Subject Areas # of Questions
Identification of Infectious Disease Processes 22
Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation 24
Preventing/Controlling the Transmission of Infectious Agents 25
Employee/Occupational Health 11
Management and Communication 13
Education and Research 11
Environment of Care 14
Cleaning, Sterilization, Disinfection, Asepsis 15
Total 135

Test Structure

The CBIC Exam is made up of 135 questions dealing with eight main subjects: Identification of Infectious Disease Processes; Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation; Preventing/Controlling the Transmission of Infectious Agents; Employee/Occupational Health; Management and Communication; Education and Research; Environment of Care; Cleaning, Sterilization, Disinfection, and Asepsis. There will also be an additional 15 unscored, pretest questions. All 150 questions will be multiple choice.[8]

Test Environment

Testing for the CBIC takes place at Prometric testing centers. There, candidates are expected to arrive at least half an hour before the exam is scheduled to start. A valid, government issued ID, containing both a signature and photograph, is required for admission. Personal items, including electronics, notes, watches, outerwear, and bags, are not allowed into the testing room. Lockers will be provided by the testing center to store prohibited items until the test is complete.[9]

Sample Questions

More free CIC practice test questions.


The CIC exam comprises 135 scored multiple choice questions plus fifteen unmarked, unscored pretest questions which are being evaluated for inclusion on future versions of the CIC exam.[2]

As the content of the CIC exam will change in the near future, the table below reflects both the old and new exam content outlines:

Distribution of questions on the CIC exam
Content area Before 7/1/15[10] Starting 7/1/15[11]
# of items # of items
Identification of Infectious Disease Processes 18 22
Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation 38 24
Preventing/Controlling the Transmission of Infectious Agents 39 25
Employee/Occupational Health 10 11
Management and Communication 16 13
Education and Research 14 11
Environment of Care 0 14
Cleaning, Sterilization, Disinfection, Asepsis 0 15
Total 135 135

There is no precise passing score on the CIC exam. The CIC exam is criterion referenced, meaning that the exam seeks to measure whether the candidate has at least the minimum level of knowledge required to become CIC certified. Every individual question on every version of the examination is analyzed to determine how difficult it is—or more precisely, to determine what percentage of minimally-qualified candidates (also called "borderline experts") would be expected to answer the question correctly. The exact passing score for any given version of the examination depends on these question-level difficulty ratings such that a candidate taking a more difficult version of the examination will need to answer fewer questions correctly to pass than a candidate taking an easier version of the examination would need to.[6]

In 2013, the pass rate for the CIC exam was 58%.[6] However, given the large revision to the exam content outline which is going into effect on July 1, 2015, it is unclear whether future pass rates will be similar.

Recent/Future Developments

As of February 2015, the CIC exam is in the late stages of a major overhaul. A new content outline for the exam is being put into effect on July 1, 2015. See the Scoring section above for details on the forthcoming revision to the examination content outline.[11]


  1. ^ CBIC - About CBIC February 26 2015
  2. ^ a b c d CBIC - Understanding CBIC and the CIC Credential February 26 2015
  3. ^ a b Am J Infect Control - The current practice of infection prevention as demonstrated by the practice analysis survey of the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. February 26 2015
  4. ^ a b c CBIC - Certification in Infection Prevention and Control - Candidate Handbook February 26 2015
  5. ^ CBIC - 2015 Eligibility Requirements February 26 2015
  6. ^ a b c d e f CBIC - Frequently Asked Questions about Certification February 26 2015
  7. ^ CBIC - Find a CIC February 26 2015
  8. ^ Content Outline 25 March 2015
  9. ^ About Exam 25 March 2015
  10. ^ CBIC - 2014-2015 Examination Content Outline (ends June 30, 2015) February 26 2015
  11. ^ a b CBIC - 2015 Examination Content Outline (begins July 1, 2015) February 26 2015