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IAHCSMM’s Updated CRCST Exam

On any given day Central Service (CS) professionals are required to navigate everything from new instruments and equipment to new processes and standards. Working in a field that is so constantly changing means that keeping abreast of those changes is especially critical. IAHCSMM is dedicated to ensuring that those seeking certification are tested on the most current technological advancements and the highest industry standards. Which is why we are excited to announce an updated CRCST exam designed to reflect the most recent industry changes affecting the CS department.


How was the new CRCST exam developed?

Exam updates require a tremendous amount of planning, analysis, and involvement from a group of dedicated experts. To help facilitate this process, IAHCSMM contracted with Prometric, the company that administers our certification exams and also provides high-quality examination development services.

To establish the framework for the new CRCST exam, several focused workshops – each addressing a different aspect of the test development process – were held. The first workshop, which took place in July 2012, entailed an extensive Job Analysis Study. This in-depth, scientific research study involved CS Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) defining the tasks, knowledge, and skill sets most pertinent to a CS technician. The results of the Analysis were used to validate the content of the exam and ensure that it accurately reflected changes in the profession. A key component of the Job Analysis was the release of a profession-wide survey that was completed by hundreds of CS technicians. Survey respondents' participation helped determine the knowledge and skill sets deemed most vital to the profession. The SMEs then used the survey findings to develop a revised CRCST exam blueprint, or Content Outline.

Following the initial Job Analysis, a series of additional workshops focused on a variety of exam aspects: Test Specifications, which documented the importance of each content area and how many items should be written to each objective; Forms Assembly, which created the new test blueprint, Item Development & Validation, which involved the review of existing exam questions, the writing of new exam questions, and the review of the newly-created questions; and, lastly, Item Analysis, which involved a statistical and analytical review to help improve the quality and accuracy of the new exam.

What does the updated CRCST exam cover?

Our SMEs drew from several sources in order to create a new blueprint, or Content Outline, for the redesigned CRCST exam. References include IAHCSMM's Central Service Technical Manual (7th edition), ANSI/AAMI's ST79, and AORN's Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices (2013 edition).

Using those guides to the industry, the SMEs were able to organize a new 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 new exam will provide a Pass/Fail notice, as well as a section-by-section review detailing if the test taker is at or below the required passing level for each domain. Click to view the full Exam Content Outline.

When will the new CRCST exam be available?

The updated CRCST exam is now available, and immediate Pass/Fail notifications are available again at testing centers as of Nov 15th 2013.

Is there a new edition of the CS Technical Manual?

The current, 7th Edition of the Central Service Technical Manual was used for reference in creating the updated CRCST exam, along with ANSI/AAMI's ST79, and AORN's Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices (2013 edition).

How does this affect my current certification?

If you are already CRCST certified then the changes to the CRCST exam will not affect you in any way.

Are the CIS and CHL exams changing as well?

We are excited to review and further improve all of our certification exams and the test development process has already begun for the CIS and CHL exams as well. Those exam updates will be completed over the next two years.

How will the new exam be structured and scored?

The updated exam is comprised of 150 multiple choice questions with 3 hours in which to answer them.

Each question on the updated exam is weighted equally – no question is worth more than any other question. Some of the 7 CS knowledge domains making up the test are, however, weighted more heavily than others. For example, this means that there will be more questions related to Preparation and Packaging than Customer Relations. The Exam Content Outline fully details the percentage weight of each domain.

Candidates will receive an immediate Pass/Fail notice at the test center, as they did with the previous exam. However, if a candidate does not pass the updated exam, they will now also receive an overview of the 7 CS knowledge domains. This will pinpoint exactly in which areas they were strongest and weakest.

Who helped to create the new exam?

The help, talent, and knowledge of approximately 50 Subject Matter Experts, from Central Service departments all over the country, went into the test development process. IAHCSMM is incredibly grateful for the dedication and hard work of the following individuals:

Kristi Abbott Debra Mendez
Steve Adams Andrew Mikos
Francis Aka-Eri Joyce Moen
Dee Banks-Irving Renee Moran
Dewey Barker Peter Munnis
Rodd Bogue                  John Ocansey
Gwen Byrd Leslee-Ann Palmer
Mattie Castro Timothy Parsons
Gemel Cato Carol Petro
Walter Copp Phi-Phung Pham
Davina Cowlard Lana Phillips
Angela Francis Brenda Jan Prudent
Francisco Garcia Dawn Rooney
Susan Gardner Linda Schultz
Chris Genowa Donna Serra
Rudy Gonzales Rudy Serrato
Debbie Guerrero Erle Shepard
Steven Hall Mary Sorrell
Cathy Hayton Al Spath
Lisa Huber Matthew Strunk
Bradley Jensen Donna Swenson
Wilhelmina Jones Pat Vanni
Valerie Kozik Don Williams
Shami Lachney Linda Williams
Elaine Mather  



Examination Development Process Timeline

July 2012
Job Analysis Performed

October 2012
Exam Specifications Developed

April 2013
Examination Assembly & Review

November 2013
Item Writing

December 2013
Item Review

April 2013
Forms/Exam Review

June 1, 2013
Enrollment Opens for Pilot Exam

August 31, 2013
Final Day for Current Version of Exam

September 1 – 14, 2013
CRCST Exam Blackout Dates

September 15 – 30, 2013
Pilot Exam Period

October 2013
Updated CRCST Exam Available