As you may or may not know, there are two certifying agencies for sterile processing professionals. One is “The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management” (IAHCSMM) and the other “The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution” (CBSPD). What you may not know is what exactly the difference is between them and how to choose which agency is right for you.
IAHCSMM was founded in 1958 and was originally known as the National Association of Healthcare Central Service (NAHCS). The agency is based out of Chicago, IL. There are over 23,000 members and certificants.
They currently offer 5 certifications:
- Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST)
- Certified Instrument Specialist (CIS)
- Certified Healthcare Leader (CHL)
- Certified Central Service Vendor Program (CCSVP)
- Certified Endoscope Reprocessor (CER)
Certifications taken in the US and Canada are $125 ($150 Internationally). IAHCSMM requires certificants to obtain 12 continuing education (CE) credits annually in order to maintain their certification. An annual recertification fee of $60 with membership or $50 without is also required.
CBSPD was founded in 1988 and was originally known as the National Institute for the Certification of Healthcare Sterile Processing and Distribution Personnel (NICHSPDP). Based out of Lebanon, NJ the CBSPD has credentialed over 31,000 personnel internationally and currently has over 15,500 active certifications. CBSPD offers 5 certifications:
- Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Tech (CSPDT)
- Certified Sterile Processing Management (CSPM)
- Certified Ambulatory Surgery Sterile Processing Tech (CASSPT)
- Certified Surgical Instrument Specialist (CSIS)
- Certified Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor (CFER)
Certification exams are $125 with the exception of the CSPM exam, which cost $150 (Credit card and late registration fees apply). CBSPD requires recertification every 5 years as opposed to IAHCSMM, which requires recertification every year. The cost of recertification is $100. Techs are required to obtain 100 continuing education credits over the course of 5 years with the exception of the CSPM, which requires 150.
Both certifying agencies are accredited and are accepted at most hospitals and surgery centers. Now the question is which one is right for you? To help you make your decision I will lay out the pros and cons of each agency respectively.
- Offers Membership.
- Access to numerous resources
- Regional IAHCSMM chapters
- International certifications
- Annual Conference & Expo
- Annual Recertification
- Cost to recertify annually
- 5 year certification
- More certification opportunities
- International certifications
- Cost to recertify
- Access to publications and educational resources
- Difficulty tracking CE credits over 5 years
- Lesser known certifying agency
Understandably some individuals may find some cons to be pros and vice-versa. If you believe there are any other pros and cons worth mentioning or anything of importance please leave a comment. Also, let us know about your experience with either certifying agency and why you chose to certify through them.