IAHCSMM's Certification Policies

IAHCSMM is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. The Board has established the Certification Council, and granted authority to the Certification Council, to independently make essential decisions related to standards, policies, and procedures of the certification program. These decisions are made independently of, and under no influence by, any other individual or business entity within or outside of IAHCSMM.

Certification Policies Overview

Certification drives knowledge and competency. It helps ensure that Sterile Processing (SP) professionals stay current with regulations, standards, and best practices. It gives them the confidence in knowing they have both the tools and skills needed to overcome the most challenging obstacles. Above all, certification demonstrates that quality care and safety are the driving forces behind the SP department.

Code of Conduct

The IAHCSMM Certification Council supports appropriate, professional standards designed to serve Sterile Processing technicians, their employers, and the public. First and foremost, certificants give priority to providing central services in a manner that promotes safety, reflects positively on the profession, and is consistent with accepted moral, ethical, and legal standards. Certificants have the obligation to:

Section 1: Adherence to IAHCSMM Policies & Requirements
  1. Adhere to all laws, regulations, policies, and ethical standards that apply to the practice of providing central services and related activities.
  2. Follow all certification program policies, procedures, requirements and rules. This includes the obligation to be aware of and understand these policies and requirements.
  3. Provide accurate and complete information to IAHCSMM concerning certification and recertification.
  4. Keep confidential all IAHCSMM examination information; including preventing unauthorized disclosures of exam information.
  5. Cooperate with IAHCSMM and the Certification Council regarding matters related to the Code of Conduct and complaint and/or disciplinary investigations.
  6. Properly use IAHCSMM certification titles, marks, and logos.
  7. Report violations of the Code of Conduct by IAHCSMM certificants to the Certification Council.
Section 2: Professional Performance
  1. Maintain high standards of integrity and conduct, and accept responsibility for their actions
  2. Be accountable and responsible for their actions and behaviors.
  3. Foster excellence in Central Service by continually seeking to enhance their professional capabilities through continuing education and regular on-the-job training.
  4. Maintain the confidentiality of private and sensitive information, unless there is mandate to report or other legal obligation to disclose the information.
  5. Act professionally, and practice with integrity and honesty.
  6. Strive to fairly and objectively represent the principals of CS and encourage others to act in the same professional manner consistent with certification standards and responsibilities.


The Certification Council is committed to protecting confidential and/or proprietary information related to applicants, candidates, certificants and examination development, maintenance, and administration process. The confidentiality policy applies to all IAHCSMM board members, employees, Certification Council members, committee members, contractors, and other individuals who are permitted access to confidential information.

Information about applicants/candidates/certificants and their examination results are considered confidential and may not be disclosed, divulged, or made accessible. Exam scores and/or other confidential information will be released only to the individual candidate unless a signed release is provided or as required by law. Personal information submitted by applicants/candidates/certificants with an application or recertification application is considered confidential. Personal information retained within the candidate/certificant database will be kept confidential.

Information related to the development, administration and maintenance of the examination is considered confidential.

Confidential materials include, but are not limited to: an individual's application status, personal applicant/candidate/certificant information, exam development documentation (including job analysis reports, technical reports, and cut score studies), exam items and answers, exam forms, and individual exam scores.

IAHCSMM and the Certification Council will not disclose confidential applicant/candidate/certificant information unless authorized in writing by the individual or as required by law. If IAHCSMM is required by law to disclose confidential information, the individual(s) whose information is released will be notified to the extent permitted by law.

Verification of Certification

The Certification Manager maintains a database of all active applicants and certificants.

The names of certified individuals and their certification status are not considered confidential and will be published by IAHCSMM in the online verification system. The IAHCSMM headquarters office will also verify certification status upon request – information released will include the certificant's name, certification effective and expiration dates, certification type, and certification status (certified or not certified.)

An up-to-date database of all certificants is maintained under the oversight of the Certification Manager. The online verification system will be promptly updated to reflect individuals whose certification has expired or has been suspended or revoked.

IAHCSMM will not release further details of your certification(s), such as exam scores or the number of exam attempts, without your prior written consent. In order to verify your certification through IAHCSMM, online or in writing, the requesting party must have your full name and IAHCSMM ID number. IAHCSMM will not release your ID number without your consent; employers or other prospective parties would need to obtain that information directly from you.

Upon becoming certified, and with every annual renewal, you will be issued a certificate for each certification you hold. The certificate(s) will detail the scope and dates of your certification(s) and can be used as a primary source document to verify your certification.

Aggregate Certification Data

Aggregate exam statistics (including the number of exam candidates, pass/fail rates, and total number of certificants) will be publicly available. Aggregate exam statistics, studies and reports concerning candidates/certificants will contain no information identifiable with any candidate, unless authorized in writing by the candidate.

Confidentiality Agreements

Applicants for certification will be required to read and acknowledge a confidentiality statement as part of the application process.

Access to Confidential Information

Access to confidential information will be limited to those individuals who require access in order to perform necessary work related to the certification program. Access will be granted in compliance with the provisions of the security policy. IAHCSMM Board members, employees, Certification Council members, committee members, contractors, and other individuals will use confidential information solely for the purpose of performing services for IAHCSMM.

This policy is not intended to prevent disclosure where disclosure is required by law.

Use of Credentials

After receiving notification of CRCST, Provisional CRCST, CER, CIS, CHL, CCSVP, or FCS designation, the credential may be used only as long as certification remains valid and in good standing. Individuals may not use any of the above credentials (or retired credentials such as CHMMC and ACE) until they have received specific written notification that they have successfully completed all requirements, including passing the relevant exam. Certificants must comply with all recertification requirements to maintain use of the credential(s).

The use and/or display of the CRCST (or Certified Registered Central Service Technician), Provisional CRCST (or Provisionally Certified Registered Central Service Technician), CER (Certified Endoscope Reprocessor), CIS (or Certified Instrument Specialist), CHL (or Certified Healthcare Leader), CCSVP (or Certified Central Service Vendor Partner), FCS (Fellow), CHMMC (Concepts in Healthcare Materiel Management Certificant), or ACE (Approved Certified Educator) acronyms, except as permitted by this policy, is prohibited. Individuals who fail to maintain certification / recertify or whose certification is suspended or revoked must immediately discontinue use of the relevant CRCST, Provisional CRCST, CER, CIS, CHL, CCSVP, FCS, CHMMC, or ACE certification mark(s) and are prohibited from stating or implying that they hold the certification(s).

Acceptable Use

Individuals who have earned the CRCST credential may identify themselves as a "Certified Registered Central Service Technician" or "CRCST". Individuals who have earned the Provisional CRCST credential may identify themselves as a "Provisionally Certified Registered Central Service Technician" or "Provisional CRCST". Individuals who have earned the CER credential may identify themselves as a "Certified Endoscope Reprocessor" or "CER". Individuals who have earned the CIS credential may identify themselves as a "Certified Instrument Specialist" or "CIS". Individuals who have earned the CHL credential may identify themselves as a "Certified Healthcare Leader" or "CHL". Individuals who have earned the CCSVP credential may identify themselves as a "Certified Central Service Vendor Partner" or "CCSVP". Individuals who have earned the Fellow credential may identify themselves as a "Fellow" or "FCS". Individuals who have earned the CHMMC credential may identify themselves as a "Concepts in Healthcare Materiel Management Certificant " or "CHMMC". Individuals who have earned the ACE credential may identify themselves as an "Approved Certified Educator" or "ACE". These names and acronyms may only be used in connection with a certified individual and not with a facility, department, or other group.

These names and acronyms may be used only as long as the relevant certification is valid and in good standing. Certification is a non-transferable, revocable, limited, non-exclusive license to use the certification designation and is subject to compliance with the policies and procedures of the Certification Council.

Certified individuals may not make misleading, deceptive, or confusing statements regarding their certification status. Certificants may not suggest that they have expertise outside of the scope of their professional licenses, credentials, and training.


Each certificant will receive a certificate specific to each certification. Each certificate will include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • Name of the certified individual
  • Unique certification number
  • Signatures of the IAHCSMM President and Certification Manager
  • Reference to the scope and limitations of the certification
  • Effective date
  • Expiration date
  • Disclaimer stating that IAHCSMM retains sole ownership of the certificate

Individuals who renew their certification will receive a new certificate.

The care and issuing of uniquely numbered certificates shall be the responsibility of the Certification Manager.


Certificates include the IAHCSMM certification seal, two signatures, a unique ID number, and are produced on copy resistant security paper to prevent fraud, forgery, and counterfeiting.


IAHCSMM retains sole ownership of all certificates.

Complaints & Investigations

Incidents of alleged misuse of the CRCST, Provisional CRCST, CER, CIS, CHL, CCSVP, FCS, CHMMC, or ACE names and/or acronyms by a certificant, candidate, or other individual will be investigated by the Certification Manager and referred to the Certification Council Chair for action under the Disciplinary Policy as required. Individuals who are found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action under the Disciplinary Policy.

Test Development

To establish the framework for the CRCST, CER, CIS, and CHL exams, several focused workshops – each addressing a different aspect of the test development process – are held. The first workshop, a Job Task Analysis (JTA), involves CS Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) defining the tasks, knowledge, and skill sets most pertinent to each certification. The results of the JTA are used to create and/or validate the content of the exams and ensure that they accurately reflected changes in the profession. A key component of the Job Analysis is the release of a profession-wide survey completed by hundreds of CS professionals. Survey respondents' participation helps to determine the knowledge and skill sets deemed most vital to the profession. The SMEs use the survey findings to finalize the exam blueprints.

Following each JTA, a series of additional workshops are held: a Test Specifications meeting, which documents the relative importance of each exam's content areas and how many items should be written to each objective; Item Writing and Review, which involve the writing of new exam questions, and the review of the newly-created questions and existing exam questions; Form Review, which involves a final review of the test form and how the questions on the form work together; and finally, Item Analysis, which involves a statistical and analytical review of exam items to help improve the quality and accuracy of the exams.

In between the Form Review and Item Analysis, a pilot exam is offered for each certification. The performance of pilot exam participants is measured against a predetermined standard. For the CRCST, CER, and CHL standard setting study the Angoff standard setting method, supplemented by the Beuk Relative-Absolute Compromise method, is implemented during a two day standard setting meeting facilitated by the Prometric testing company. These methods use a SMEs panel to first reach a consensus on the acceptable level of knowledge and skill that is expected for passing candidates. SMEs then review each examination item to determine the level of knowledge or skill that is expected. SMEs ratings and difficulty predictions are analyzed by Prometric to provide a recommended cut score. Lastly, the recommended cut-score is reviewed and approved by the IAHCSMM Certification Council.

The exam Content Outlines, as created through the Job Task Analysis, detail the specific areas of knowledge necessary to perform the duties associated with each certification. The Content Outlines also detail the percentage weight for each of the exam sections. The higher the percentage weight, the more heavily the questions in that area will affect your overall test score.

Exam Content Outlines & References
The CRCST Exam uses the following materials as references:
  • IAHCSMM's Central Service Technical Manual (8th ed.)
  • ANSI/AAMI's ST79 (2010 ed. reaffirmed in 2014 with Amendments 1-4)
  • AORN's Guidelines for Perioperative Practice (2017 ed.)
The CIS Exam uses the following materials as references:
  • IAHCSMM's Identification, Handling & Processing of Surgical Instruments Workbook (2005 ed)
  • Rick Schultz's Inspecting Surgical Instruments: An Illustrated Guide (2005 ed)
The CER Exam uses the following materials as references:
  • IAHCSMM's Endoscope Reprocessing Manual (1st ed)
  • ANSI/AAMI's ST91 (2015 ed)
  • CDC’s Essential Elements of a Reprocessing Program for Flexible Endoscopes (2017 ed)
  • TJC’s High-Level Disinfection & Sterilization BoosterPak (2015 ed)
  • SGNA’s Guidelines for Use of High-Level Disinfectants & Sterilants in the Gastroenterology Setting (2017 ed)
  • SGNA’s Standard of Infection Prevention in the Gastroenterology Setting (2015 ed)
The CHL Exam uses the following materials as references:
  • IAHCSMM's Central Service Technical Manual (8th ed)
  • IAHCSMM’s Central Service Leadership Manual (2010 ed)
  • ANSI/AAMI's ST79 (2010 ed; Reaffirmed 2014 w/ Amendments 1-4)
  • AORN's Guidelines for Perioperative Practice (2016 ed)

Certification Program Complaints

Complaints about the certification process may be submitted by an individual or entity. Complaints should be reported to the Certification Council in writing and include the name of the person submitting the complaint and a detailed description of the complaint.

A preliminary review to determine if the complaint is valid and actionable will be conducted by the Director of Certification in consultation with the Executive Director and/or Certification Council Chair within 30 calendar days of receipt of the complaint. If the complaint is deemed valid and actionable, the Director of Certification will consult with the Certification Council to address and resolve the issue.

Certificant Complaints & Disciplinary Actions

In order to maintain and enhance the credibility of the certification program, the Certification Council has adopted the following procedures to allow individuals to bring complaints concerning the conduct of individuals who are certificants or candidates for certification to the Certification Council.

In the event an individual candidate or certificant violates the Code of Conduct, certification rules, or certification program policies, the Certification Council may reprimand or suspend the individual or may revoke certification.

The grounds for sanctions under these procedures may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  1. Violation of the Code of Conduct;
  2. Violation of established certification policies, rules and requirements;
  3. Conviction of a felony or other crime of moral turpitude under federal or state law in a matter related to the practice of, or qualifications for, central service;
  4. Gross negligence, willful misconduct, or other unethical conduct in the performance of services for which the individual has achieved certification from IAHCSMM; or
  5. Fraud or misrepresentation in an initial application or renewal application for certification.

Information regarding the complaint process will be available to the public without request via the IAHCSMM web site and/or other published documents. A complete copy of this policy will be published.

Actions taken under this policy do not constitute enforcement of the law, although referral to appropriate federal, state, or local government agencies may be made about the conduct of the candidate or certificant in appropriate situations. Individuals initially bringing complaints are not entitled to any relief or damages by virtue of this process, although they will receive notice of the actions taken.


Complaints may be submitted by any individual or entity. Complaints should be reported to the Director of Certification in writing and should include the name of the person submitting the complaint, the name of the person the complaint is regarding along with other relevant identifying information, a detailed description of factual allegations supporting the charges, and any relevant supporting documentation. Information submitted during the complaint and investigation process is considered confidential and will be handled in accordance with the Certification Council's confidentiality policy. Inquiries or submissions other than complaints may be reviewed and handled by the Certification Council or its staff members at its discretion.

Upon receipt and preliminary review of a complaint involving a certificant, the Director of Certification in consultation with the Certification Council Chair may conclude, in their sole discretion, that the submission:

  1. Contains unreliable or insufficient information, or
  2. Is patently frivolous or inconsequential.

In such cases, the Director of Certification and Certification Council Chair may determine that the submission does not constitute a valid and actionable complaint that would justify bringing it before the Certification Council for investigation and a determination of whether there has been a violation of substantive requirements of the certification process. If so, the submission is disposed of by notice from the Director of Certification and Chair to its submitter, if the submitter is identified. All such preliminary dispositions by the Chair are reported to the Certification Council at its next meeting.

This preliminary review to determine if the complaint is valid and actionable will be conducted within 30 calendar days of receipt of the complaint.

If a submission is deemed by the Chair to be a valid and actionable complaint, the Chair shall see that written notice is provided to the candidate/certificant whose conduct has been called into question. The candidate/certificant whose conduct is at issue shall also be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint. The Chair shall also ensure that the individual submitting the complaint receives notice that the complaint is being reviewed by the Certification Council.

Complaint Review

For each compliant that the Chair concludes is a valid and actionable complaint, the Certification Council authorizes an investigation into its specific facts or circumstances to whatever extent is necessary in order to clarify, expand, or corroborate the information provided by the submitter.

The Chair refers the complaint to the Review Committee to investigate and make an appropriate determination with respect to each such valid and actionable complaint. The Review Committee initially determines whether it is appropriate to review the complaint under these Procedures or whether the matter should be referred to another entity engaged in the administration of law. The timeline for responses and for providing any additional information shall be established by the Review Committee. The review and investigation will be completed in an appropriate amount of time, not to exceed 6 months, unless there are extenuating circumstances that require an extended time period. The Review Committee may be assisted in the conduct of its investigation by IAHCSMM staff or legal counsel. The CC Chair exercises general supervision over all investigations.

Both the individual submitting the complaint and the candidate/certificant who is the subject of the investigation (or his or her employer) may be contacted for additional information with respect to the complaint. The Review Committee, or the CC on its behalf, may at its discretion contact such other individuals who may have knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the complaint.

All investigations and deliberations of the Review Committee and the CC are conducted in confidence, with all written communications sealed and marked "Personal and Confidential," and they are conducted objectively, without any indication of prejudgment. An investigation may be directed toward any aspect of a complaint which is relevant or potentially relevant. Formal hearings are not held and the parties are not expected to be represented by counsel, although the Review Committee and Certification Council may consult their own counsel.

Determination of Violation

Upon completion of an investigation, the Review Committee recommends whether the Certification Council should make a determination that there has been a violation of IAHCSMM Certification Council policies and rules. When the Review Committee recommends that the Certification Council find a violation, the Review Committee also recommends imposition of an appropriate sanction. If the Review Committee so recommends, a proposed determination with a proposed sanction is prepared under the supervision of the Chair and is presented by a representative of the Review Committee to the Certification Council along with the record of the Review Committee's investigation.

If the Review Committee recommends against a determination that a violation has occurred, the complaint is dismissed with notice to the candidate/certificant, the candidate/certificant's employer, the individual or entity who submitted the complaint, and the IAHCSMM Executive Board.

The Certification Council reviews the recommendation of the Review Committee based upon the record of the investigation. The Certification Council may accept, reject, or modify the Review Committee's recommendation, either with respect to the determination of a violation or the recommended sanction to be imposed. If the Certification Council makes a determination that a violation has occurred, this determination and the imposition of a sanction are promulgated by written notice to the candidate/certificant, and to the individual submitting the complaint, if the submitter agrees in advance and in writing to maintain in confidence whatever portion of the information is not made public by the Certification Council.

In certain circumstances, the Certification Council may consider a recommendation from the Review Committee that the candidate/certificant who has violated the certification program policies or rules should be offered an opportunity to submit a written assurance that the conduct in question has been terminated and will not recur. The decision of the Review Committee to make such a recommendation and of the Certification Council to accept it are within their respective discretionary powers. If such an offer is extended, the candidate/certificant at issue must submit the required written assurance within thirty days of receipt of the offer, and the assurance must be submitted in terms that are acceptable to the Certification Council. If the Certification Council accepts the assurance, notice is given to the candidate/certificant's employer and to the submitter of the complaint, if the submitter agrees in advance and in writing to maintain the information in confidence.


Any of the following sanctions may be imposed by the Certification Council upon a candidate/certificant whom the Certification Council has determined to have violated the policies and rules of its certification program(s), although the sanction applied must reasonably relate to the nature and severity of the violation, focusing on reformation of the conduct of the individual and deterrence of similar conduct by others:

  1. written reprimand to the candidate/certificant;
  2. suspension of the certificant for a designated period; or
  3. suspension of the candidate's application eligibility for a designated period; or
  4. termination of the certificant's certification; or
  5. termination of the candidate's application eligibility for a designated period.

For sanctions that include suspension or termination, a summary of the final determination and the sanction with the candidate/certificant's name and date is published by the Certification Council. This information will be published only after any appeal has either been considered or the appeal period has passed.

Reprimand in the form of a written notice from the Chair normally is sent to a candidate/ certificant who has received his or her first substantiated complaint. Suspension normally is imposed on a candidate/certificant who has received two substantiated complaints. Termination normally is imposed on a candidate/certificant who has received two substantiated complaints within a two year period, or three or more substantiated complaints. The Certification Council may at its discretion, however, impose any of the sanctions, if warranted, in specific cases.

Certificants who have been terminated shall have their certification revoked and shall not be considered for certification in the future. If certification is revoked, any and all certificates or other materials requested by the Certification Council must be returned promptly to the Certification Council.


Within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of a determination by the Certification Council that a candidate/ certificant violated the certification program policies and/or rules, the affected candidate/certificant may submit to the Certification Council Chair in writing a request for an appeal. Any candidate / certificant receiving such adverse decision will receive a copy of this policy along with notification of the appeal period.

Upon receipt of a request for appeal, the Chair of the Certification Council establishes an appellate body consisting of at least three, but not more than five, individuals. This Appeal Committee may review one or more appeals, upon request of the Chair. No current members of the Review Committee or the Certification Council may serve on the Appeal Committee; further, no one with any personal involvement or conflict of interest may serve on the Appeal Committee.

The Appeal Committee may only review whether the determination by the Certification Council of a violation of the certification program policies and/or rules was inappropriate because of:

  1. material errors of fact, or
  2. failure of the Review Committee or the Certification Council to conform to published criteria, policies, or procedures.

Only facts and conditions up to and including the time of the Certification Council's determination as represented by facts known to the Certification Council are considered during an appeal. The appeal shall not include a hearing or any similar trial-type proceeding. Legal counsel is not expected to participate in the appeal process, unless requested by the appellant and approved by the Certification Council and the Appeal Committee. The Certification Council and Appeal Committee may consult legal counsel.

The Appeal Committee conducts and completes the appeal within ninety days after receipt of the request for an appeal. Written appellate submissions and any reply submissions may be made by authorized representatives of the member and of the Certification Council. Submissions are made according to whatever schedule is reasonably established by the Appeal Committee. The decision of the Appeal Committee either affirms or overrules the determination of the Certification Council, but does not address a sanction imposed by the Certification Council. The Appeal Committee will confirm receipt of all communications including the initial appeal and will provide notice to the appellant of the end of the appeals-handling process.

The Appeal Committee decision is binding upon the Certification Council, the candidate/certificant who is subject to the termination, and all other persons.


If a certificant who is the subject of a complaint voluntarily surrenders his or her certification at any time during the pendency of a complaint under these Procedures, the complaint is dismissed without any further action by the Review Committee, the Certification Council, or an Appeal Committee established after an appeal. The entire record is sealed and the individual may not reapply for IAHCSMM certification. However, the Certification Council may authorize the Chair to communicate the fact and date of resignation, and the fact and general nature of the complaint which was pending at the time of the resignation, to or at the request of a government entity engaged in the administration of law. Similarly, in the event of such resignation, the certificant's employer and the person or entity who submitted the complaint are notified of the fact and date of resignation and that Certification Council has dismissed the complaint as a result.