Certified Instrument Specialist
Technology changes. Standards update. Instrumentation evolves. The learning curve for Central Service professionals is steep and ever-changing, and the demands placed on them ever-growing. To help professionals stay abreast of rapidly changing medical technology, IAHCSMM offers the Certified Instrument Specialist (CIS) exam, which tests knowledge and recognition of medical instruments, as well as reviewing instrumentation practice skills. The CIS exam will test your proficiency in the identification and cleaning of medical instruments, and upon completing and passing the exam you will hold the designation of Certified Instrument Specialist (CIS).
Full CRCST certification must be obtained prior to taking the CIS exam, and must be kept current to maintain your CIS certification .
CIS Certification Scope
The Certified Instrument Specialist (CIS) certification program is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the experience, knowledge, and skills necessary to provide competent services as an advanced instrument specialist in the Central Service Department. CIS's are essential members of the healthcare team who are responsible for demonstrating the knowledge and recognition of medical instruments and instrument support system functions necessary to help ensure the safe and timely delivery of surgical instruments to patients.
To earn CIS Certification, candidates are required to successfully demonstrate skills through the completion of hands-on work experience as well as the successful completion of an examination developed to measure the understanding of all instrument reprocessing functions (including instrument support system functions, instrumentation practice skills, knowledge and recognition of medical instruments, plus CS tech responsibilities.) CIS certificants are required to recertify annually through completion of continuing education requirements.
How to Prepare for the Examination
Those interested in becoming a Certified Instrument Specialist (CIS) can prepare in one of the following ways:
Please Note: Online/distance learning courses are not available for the CIS. IAHCSMM has developed the materials below as an optional method to assist individuals in preparing for the CIS exam. They were developed and produced independently from the Certification Council, which does not develop, require, approve, or endorse any specific training materials.
- Self Study: You may purchase reference materials and choose to study on your own to prepare for the CIS exam. Inspecting Surgical Instruments: An Illustrated Guide and the Identification, Handling & Processing Surgical Instruments Workbook were used for reference in creating the CIS exam. (Please note, answer keys are provided for progress quizzes within the workbook.) You can order these publications through the IAHCSMM Store .
- Work Experience: You may take
the exam based on your personal knowledge from experience in the field; it is not required that you take or pass a preparatory course nor study materials on your own. Applicants can apply directly to take the exam without purchasing study materials or enrolling in a course.
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 tab above.
Content & Composition of the Examination
The CIS exam will test your proficiency in these areas:
• Introduction to Surgical Instruments
• Instrument Decontamination
• Instrument Identification, Inspection, and Testing
• Factors Influencing the Sterilization Process
• Instrument Inspection & Assembly
• Instrument Information System
• Safety for Instrument Technicians
• The Human Side of the Instrument System
• The Role of the User in Instrument Care
The exam is computer based and no writing instruments are needed (a written version of the exam is not available.) The test is comprised of 100 multiple choice questions and you will have 2.5 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.
Requirements for the Examination
Current CRCST status is required in order to take the CIS examination. 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 Sterile 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 under the Forms & Documents section):
- Instrument Decontamination (92 hours)
- Instrument Assembly (92 hours)
- Instrument Information System Management (12 hours)
- 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.