Certification 3

CIS Certification - Pilot Exam Now Available

Certified Instrument Specialist

A limited time, discounted pilot for IAHCSMM’s updated CIS exam will be available from June 1-15, 2019. Applications for the pilot exam must be received by May 31, 2019, and pilot exam results will be released on July 31, 2019.

Full CRCST certification must be obtained prior to taking the CIS exam, and must be kept current to maintain your CIS certification.


Those interested in taking the CIS pilot exam can prepare in one of the following ways:

  • Self-Study: You may purchase reference materials and study on your own to prepare for the CIS exam. IAHCSMM's Instrument Resource Manual (1st Ed; 2018), IAHCSMM’s Central Service Technical Manual (8th Ed; 2016), Rick Schultz's The World of Surgical Instruments - The Definitive Inspection Textbook (2018), and ANSI/AAMI’s ST79 (2017) were used as references in creating the exam. You can order these publications through the IAHCSMM Store.
  • Work Experience: It is not required that you purchase any materials for review; you may take the exam based on your personal knowledge from experience in the field. Applicants can apply directly to take the exam without purchasing study materials.

CIS certification also requires the completion of 200 hours of hands-on experience in a CS Department prior to testing. Hands-on experience provides an invaluable resource with which to better understand the standards, knowledge, and practices needed to be successful in a CS Department and on the CIS Exam. More information on the accumulation of these hours can be found under the Requirements section below.

Content & Composition

The CIS Pilot Exam will test your proficiency in the following areas:

  1. Instrument Cleaning & Decontamination Processes
  2. Instrument Identification
  3. Instrument Inspection, Testing & Assembly
  4. Preparation & Packaging
  5. Sterilization & High-Level Disinfection (HLD)
  6. Human Factors Impacting Instrument Systems

Each of the six knowledge domains listed above is comprised of a series of sub-domains which are explained in further detail in the CIS Exam Content Outline. Further detail on the type and amount of content covered in each section, as well as its weight on the certification exam can also be found in the CIS Exam Content Outline (available below.)

The exam is computer based and no writing instruments are needed (a written version of the exam is not available.) The current version of the test is comprised of 150 multiple choice questions and you will have 3 hours in which to complete the exam. Questions can be marked for review and answered or changed later in the exam. A 15 minute tutorial describing how to take the exam on the computer precedes the test and is also available online, here. (For more information regarding the testing process please see the Certification Testing section.)


Current and Full CRCST status is required in order to take the CIS Pilot Exam. Additionally, you must complete and provide documentation (on the exam application as indicated) of a minimum of 200 hours of hands-on experience in a Central Service Department, on a paid or volunteer basis, prior to testing. These hours must be broken down into the following areas of experience (as fully detailed on the exam application, available below):

  1. Instrument Decontamination (92 hours)
  2. Instrument Assembly (92 hours)
  3. Instrument Information System Management (12 hours)
  4. Surgery Observation (4 hours)

Though provisional testing is an option for the CRCST exam, it is not available for CIS examinations. All hours must be completed in full before applying to take the exam.

Application & Content Outline

Please pdfclick here for the CIS Pilot Exam Application (or pdfhere for those testing outside of the US/Canada.)

Please pdfclick here for the CIS Pilot Exam Content Outline.

International Association of
Healthcare Central Service Materiel 
Management (IAHCSMM)

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