FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains frequently asked questions relating to the preparation for and taking of IAHCSMM certification exams. For further information on obtaining and maintaining IAHCSMM certification, please consult the pdfIAHCSMM Certification Handbook.

Certification FAQs contain the following:

Exam Composition

Q What topics are covered on the CRCST certification exam?

A Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) drew from several sources in order to create the Content Outline for the CRCST exam. References include IAHCSMM's Central Service Technical Manual (8th edition), ANSI/AAMI's ST79 (2010 edition, reaffirmed in 2014 with Amendments 1-4), and AORN's Guidelines to Perioperative Practice (2016 edition.) Using those guides to the industry, SMEs organized an exam blueprint featuring seven specific knowledge domains:

• Cleaning, Decontamination and Disinfection
• Preparation and Packaging
• Sterilization Process
• Patient Care Equipment
• Sterile Storage and Inventory Management
• Documentation and Record Maintenance
• Customer Relations

Each of these domains is comprised of a series of sub-domains which further detail the type and amount of content covered in each section, as well as its weight on the certification exam. Results for the exam will provide a Pass/Fail notice, as well as a section-by-section review for those who do not pass, which will detail if the test taker is at or below the required passing level for each domain. Please review the full CRCST Exam Content Outline for more information.

Q What topics are covered on the CER certification exam?

A Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) drew from several sources in order to create the Content Outline for the CER exam. References include IAHCSMM's Endoscope Reprocessing (1st edition),ANSI/AAMI's ST91 (2015 edition), and the following articles by the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA): Standard of Infection Prevention in the Gastroenterology Setting (2015), and Standards for Infection Prevention in Reprocessing Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopes (2016). Using those guides to the industry, SMEs organized an exam blueprint featuring seven specific knowledge domains:

• Microbiology and Infection Control
• Endoscope Purpose, Design, and Structure
• Work Area Design
• Endoscope Reprocessing Steps
• Endoscope Handling, Transport, and Storage
• Endoscope Tracking, Repair, and System Maintenance
• Human Factors That Impact Endoscope Systems

Each of these seven knowledge domains outline the type and amount of content covered in each section, as well as its weight on the certification exam. Results for the exam will provide a Pass/Fail notice, as well as a section-by-section review for those who do not pass, which will detail if the test taker is at or below the required passing level for each domain. Please review the full CER Exam Content Outline for more information.

Q What topics are covered on the CIS certification exam?

A The CIS exam will test your proficiency in these areas:

• Introduction to Surgical Instruments
• Instrument Decontamination
• Instrument Identification, Inspection & Testing
• Factors Influencing the Sterilization Process
• Instrument Inspection & Assembly
• Instrument Quality Assurance
• Instrument Information System
• Safety for Instrument Technicians
• The Human Side of the Instrument System
• The Role of the User in Instrument Care

Q What topics are covered on the CHL certification exam?

A Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) drew from several sources in order to create the Content Outline for the CHL exam. References include IAHCSMM's Central Service Leadership Manual (2010 edition) and Central Service Technical Manual (8th edition), ANSI/AAMI's ST79 (2010 edition, reaffirmed in 2014 with Amendments 1-4), and AORN's Guidelines to Perioperative Practice (2017 edition.) Using those guides to the industry, SMEs organized an exam blueprint featuring seven specific knowledge domains:

Cleaning, Decontamination and Disinfection
Preparation and Packaging
Sterilization Process
Patient Care Equipment
Sterile Storage and Inventory Management
Documentation and Record Maintenance
• Customer Relations

Each of these domains is comprised of a series of sub-domains which further detail the type and amount of content covered in each section, as well as its weight on the certification exam. Results for the exam will provide a Pass/Fail notice, as well as a section-by-section review for those who do not pass, which will detail if the test taker is at or below the required passing level for each domain. Please review he full CHL Exam Content Outline for more information.

Q Do I have to be CRCST before becoming a CER?

A No! Current CRCST certification is not required before you can take the CER exam.

 

Q Do I have to be CRCST before becoming a CIS or CHL?

A Yes! Current CRCST certification is required before you can take the exam for either the CHL or CIS certifications.

 

Q Do I have to take the CIS and CHL exams in a certain order?

A No! After you have obtained CRCST status you may go on to take either the CIS or CHL in any order.

 

Q Can I take the CHL exam if I am not currently a manager/supervisor?

A Yes! The CHL exam is open to any one who is currently in a management position or wishes to pursue such a position in the future.

Exam Preparation

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 eligibility opens immediately (prior to even receiving the study materials.) We therefore recommend purchasing study materials, and then sending in your exam application only when you have finished reviewing and are ready to sit for the exam.

 

Q How long do I have to take the exam after I've completed my course/studies?

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 I finished a course some time ago and was told that I was registered, is this still valid?

A The registered title (RCST) is no longer in use because it was often confused with certification. IAHCSMM now simply refers to individuals as being certified (CRCST) or non-certified.

 

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 It is entirely your choice how you prepare for a certification exam. You are welcome to purchase study material for review, take a local or online course, or challenge an exam based on your working knowledge and experience in the field.

 

Q If I do not complete or pass a local or correspondence course, am I still able to take the CRCST Exam?

A Yes, you are welcome to challenge the exam.

 

Q I hold another CS certification or have years of experience in CS. Do I need to take the CRCST exam in order to become IAHCSMM certified?

A Yes, IAHCSMM certifications are only granted to those who take and pass our certification exams and complete any required hands-on/observation experience. Certifications held by other groups or associations cannot be transferred to an IAHCSMM certification, nor are we able to grandfather individuals based on their years of experience working in the field.

 

Q Is there a practice exam specifically for the CRCST, CER, CIS or CHL?

A Outside of the quizzes and progress tests found in our study workbooks, IAHCSMM does not offer practice tests for any of our certification exams. While various websites may offer practice exams, IAHCSMM has no hand in creating or reviewing them, and cannot in anyway guarantee their validity or usefulness.

Certification Testing

Q Can I test at my hospital?

A No, IAHCSMM certification exams are available exclusively at Prometric Testing Centers worldwide.

 

Q If all of the certification exams are given at Prometric Testing Centers, is there a tutorial that will teach me how to take an exam on a computer?

A The IAHCSMM website offers an Online Tutorial which will describe the look and feel of the exam, and walk you through the process of answering questions or marking questions for later review. 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 When are IAHCSMM exams offered?

A IAHCSMM certification exams are available through Prometric testing centers. Most test centers are open at least 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 have special needs, how can I get the necessary accommodations for my test?

A Included with your exam application, you must submit a Special Accommodations form, completed by your physician/medical professional detailing your need for accommodations.

 

Q Can I make payments over the phone?

A While we are not able to accept exam payments by phone, you are welcome to submit your application and payment by mail, fax, or email.

 

Q I live outside the United States, how can I pay for the exam?

A Using a credit/debit card or bank draft/money order drawn on U.S. funds.

 

Q My driver's license/state ID/passport 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. However, all first and last names must be listed (ie JoAnn John-Smith could not test if she only listed her name as Jo Smith.)

 

Q I have signed up for an exam but am not ready to take my test, can I have an extension for my eligibility?

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 Can I contact IAHCSMM to reschedule my exam date?

A No, all scheduling and rescheduling of appointments must be done through Prometric by phone at 800.998.1942 or online at www.prometric.com/iahcsmm.

 

Q I missed my exam appointment, do I have to pay to retake my test?

A Yes, missing an exam appointment forfeits your exam payment. A new application and payment will be required in order to receive a new testing eligibility.

 

Q If I fail the exam, how soon can I attempt to take the exam again?

A There is a mandatory six week waiting period between exam attempts.

 

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 exams' integrity, we cannot provide copies of exam questions or answers.

 

Hands-On Experience & Provisional Certification

Q Do I have to complete the 400 hours of hands-on experience for the CRCST?

A Yes, the 400 hours of hands-on experience required for CRCST certification is mandatory for all applicants.

 

Q Can I take the CRCST exam before I've completed my 400 hours?

A Yes, but you must submit documentation of your hands-on experience, completed on a paid or volunteer basis, within six months of passing the exam. During that six month period you will be considered Provisionally Certified.

 

Q What is Provisional Certification?

A Provisional Certification is attained when applicants 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. Whenever possible, applicants 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. Additionally, the experience is often very beneficial in helping applicants to better understand the key concepts and skills needed to excel in Central Service and on the certification exam.
Individuals who attain provisional certification have six months in which to complete and submit documentation of their hands-on experience. If the experience is not completed and documented within the allotted six month period, the certification will be revoked and the individual will need to retest in order to regain certification.

A one-time, two month provisional extension may be available, if and only if the provisional certificant has already begun working or volunteering in a department before the provisional certification expires. The Supervisor/Manager/Educator of that department would need to contact IAHCSMM to request an extension on the applicant’s behalf, prior to the provisional certification expiring.

Applicants 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.

A one-time, 2 month extension may be available, if and only if you have already begun working or volunteering in a department before your provisional certification expires. The Manager/Supervisor of that department would need to contact IAHCSMM to request an extension on your behalf, prior to your provisional certification expiring.

 

Q Who can document my hours of experience on an exam application?

A If hands-on (CRCST & CIS) or clinical observation (CCSVP) hours are required for certification, documentation of those hours must be provided on the exam application as indicated. No other documentation is necessary or acceptable.

The sections of the application documenting experience must be completed by an immediate supervisor/manager/educator and must have been accrued within the past five years at most. An individual in a leadership role within the department cannot document their own experience. They are required to have their immediate supervisor/manager or educator complete all required documentation.

Provided they are in a position above the applicant, experience hours can be documented by:

• Lead Techs
• Coordinators
• Supervisors
• Managers• Chiefs
• Directors
• Administrators
• Hospital Educators

Hours cannot be documented by technicians or private instructors. In order to verify experience, all contact information provided for the leader/educator documenting your experience must be current or your application will be rejected.

 

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 Hands-on experience is required to be recent, so if your most recently submitted experience occurred more than five years prior you would be required to resubmit your documentation.

International Association of
Healthcare Central Service Materiel 
Management (IAHCSMM)

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Suite 501
Chicago, IL 60601
 
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