Principal / Premium Partners
Q: What topics are covered on the CRCST certification exam?
A: The exam is divided into two sections (each worth 50%): Infection Control and General Central Service Knowledge. You will not see the individual sections broken out because the test is set up to administer questions evenly throughout the exam. Chapter/Topic information is divided between the two sections as follows:
Decontamination; Point of Use Prep and Transport
Cleaning and Decontamination
Sterile Packaging and Storage
Point of Use Processing
High Temperature Sterilization
Low Temperature Sterilization
General Central Service Knowledge
Introduction to Central Service
Anatomy and Physiology
Regulations and Standards
Tools for Cleaning
Complex Surgical Instruments
Management of Patient Care Equipment
Human Relations Skills for Central Service Technicians
Ambulatory Surgery and Related Practices
Q: Do I have to complete the 400 hours of hands-on experience?
A: Yes. The 400 hour hands-on experience component of the curriculum serves two purposes. First, it provides an opportunity to practice what you have learned and it is a fact that people remember more when they do things themselves rather than just reading and discussing them. The second reason for the 400 hour hands-on component is to provide technicians with a well-rounded experience in CS. Many students that enroll in certification courses are not employed in a CS department (yet) and others may be employed, but may not be assigned to all work areas. The hands-on component provides a technician with a broader perspective on CS. To review the specific requirements for the hands-on component, view the CRCST application in the download section of the website
Q: Can I take the test before I’ve completed my 400 hours?
A: Yes, but you must submit documentation of completion of 400 hours within 6 months of passing the exam (Provisional Certification)
Q: What is Provisional Certification?
A: Provisional Certification is attained when students choose to take the CRCST exam before they have completed their 400 hours of hands-on experience. It is NOT an exemption from the hands-on experience requirement. Students who attain provisional certification have 6 months to complete their hands-on experience component and submit proof of that to IAHCSMM Headquarters. If that is not completed in 6 months, the certification will be revoked and the person will need to retake the certification exam. No extensions are granted for the provisional certification status.
Whenever possible, students should complete their hands-on requirement before taking their CRCST exam. Doing so eliminates the risk of having to retake the exam if the hours requirement cannot be completed on time and the actual hands-on experience helps students prepare for the CRCST exam.
Q: Who can sign my hours?
A: Only a manager or supervisor who oversees your work in the department
Q: I hold another CS certification. Do I need to take the CRCST exam?
A: No. If you hold another approved (and current) CS certification, you can transfer that certification to CRCST by completing an Alternative Certification Application and submitting proof of your current CS certification and verification of 400 hours of hands-on experience as outlined in the application form. You can download an Alternative Application from the download section of the website
Q: I used to be certified and let it lapse, I now have to retake the test, do I need to resubmit my hours?
A: Yes, we need verification of your current work status in the field
Q: I missed my exam appointment, do I have to pay to retake my test?
A: Yes, all exams appointments that are missed are marked as No-Shows, and requires additional payment with a retake exam application
Q: If I fail the exam, how soon can I attempt to take the exam again?
A: We normally receive your exam scores within 1 business day of your appointment, and send out your retake information the following business day. We cannot process another exam request until 2 business days after your scheduled exam date
Q: How long do I have to take the exam after I’ve completed my course?
A: There is no time constraint, you may take it whenever you feel you are ready, though we recommend taking the exam sooner than later so that the information you learned is still fresh in your mind
Q: Can I order my books and sign up for the exam at the same time?
A: We recommend only applying to test when you are done studying. Once we receive your exam application, your 90 day testing window immediately opens (prior to even receiving the study materials). We recommend purchasing the study materials, and sending in your exam application only when you have finished studying and are ready to sit for the exam
Q: I finished a test and was told that I was registered, is this still valid?
A: The registered title (RCST) is no longer in use because it was confused with certification. IAHCSMM recognizes CRCST as the certification for Central Service Technicians
Q: If I fail (or pass) the exam, can I have a copy of my exam so I can review which questions I missed?
A: For the sake of our exam’s integrity, we cannot give out copies of the exam’s questions and answers
Q: I have an old edition of the text book, can I still use it to study for the current version of the exam?
A: Each edition of the text book undergoes expansions and updates, so while the material is similar there will be information on the exam that will not necessarily have been covered in the previous editions
Q: Is there a practice exam specifically for the CRCST, CHL, or CIS?
A: There are no practice exams available
Q: If all of the certification exams are given at Prometric Testing Centers, is there a practice exam that will teach me how to take an exam on a computer?
A: The IAHCSMM website offers a download tutorial (see the certification section) which will walk you through the process of how to answer questions, mark questions to answer later, and finalize your exam. This same tutorial is offered on-site at Prometric Testing Centers when you take your exam, and does not count against your allotted time window to complete the exam
Q: If I do not complete or pass an Approved Instructor Course or the Purdue Correspondence Course, am I still able to take the CRCST Exam?
A: Yes, you are welcome to challenge the exam
Q: When is your test offered?
A: IAHCSMM certification exams are given through Prometric Testing Centers. Most test centers are open 6 days a week. Once your completed application and payment has been received and processed, you will have 90 days to schedule and take your exam. IAHCSMM certification exams have no set testing dates or times; availability of testing appointments depends on the site and date you select. We recommend scheduling your exam within the first 45 days of your eligibility to ensure availability of a date and time that best fits your schedule
Q: I live outside the United States, how can I pay for the exam?
A: Using a credit card or bank draft/money order drawn on U.S. funds
Q: Can I test at my hospital?
A: Our test is only offered at Prometric Testing Centers within the United States
Q: I have special needs, what can I do to get the necessary accommodations for my test?
A: Included with your exam application, you must submit the Special Accommodations form from your physician detailing the limitation. This form can be found in the Download section of the website
Q: I am not ready to take my test, can I have an extension for my window?
A: No, unfortunately, we do not offer extensions. It is highly recommended to send in your exam application only when you are sufficiently prepared to sit for the exam
Q: My driver’s license shows my middle name/initial, is that ok?
A: Yes, only your first and last names must match, middle names/initials will not be verified when checking in for your testing appointment
Q: Can I contact IAHCSMM to reschedule my exam date?
A: No, all scheduling and rescheduling of appointments must be done through Prometric by calling (800) 998-1942 or online at www.prometric.com/iahcsmm
Q: I’ve been working in the field for years, or took a course several years ago, do I need to take a current course before applying for the exam?
A: All courses are designed to prepare you for the current certification exam offered. If you opt to not take a refresher course, it is recommended at the very least to study on your own from the most current textbook available through IAHCSMM
Q: I bought the boxed course, but there aren’t answers to all of the tests in my book.
A: The workbook is designed to be used with either the Instructor’s Guide or the Purdue Correspondence Course. While you are welcome to study on your own, if you choose to do so you will not have answers to all of the study material and we suggest you go over those tests with a manager/supervisor in your CS department
Q: Should I buy the manual or the boxed course?
A: The choice is yours, the boxed course has a study work book to further help prepare you and focus your studies
Q: I live outside the United States, how can I pay for an exam?
A: Using a credit card or bank draft/money order drawn on U.S. funds
Q: Can I make payments over the phone?
A: Due to credit card restrictions, we can accept only payments that are faxed or mailed