What Is Certification in Infection Control (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To keep patients and employees safe in healthcare facilities, it's vital to stay up to date with the latest safety and preventative methods for reducing infections and communicable diseases. Getting an infection control certification as a medical practitioner is an effective approach to contribute to that cause. If you work in healthcare or public health, you may be interested in learning more about how to develop your skills in this field.

In this article, we define what a certification in infection control is, review professionals who may get this certification, discuss the steps to get a certificate in infection control, and share the benefits of earning a certification in infection prevention and control.

What is a certification in infection control?

Certification in infection control is a highly acclaimed accreditation for medical professionals working in infection control and public health. Infection control refers to the practices, skills, and knowledge that people employ in health settings to prevent the transmission of pathogens. Patients and employees in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation institutions are some directly beneficiaries of these preventive activities.

The aim of infection control accreditation is to create an acceptable standard of expertise and safe practises in infection control against which to assess practitioners. By passing the exam, control and preventive practitioners can showcase their mastery of these benchmarks and best practises. Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC) is the certifying body for these professionals, through the infection and prevention control courses.

Related: 25 Top Healthcare Jobs in Canada

Who can get certified in infection control?

Here are some healthcare professionals who can get certified in infection control:

1. Hospital manager

National average salary: $79,276 per year

Primary duties: A hospital manager, also known as a hospital administrator, oversees the day-to-day operations of a hospital. They supervise daily activities, develop departmental plans, manage the facility's infrastructure and personnel, and plan the facility's finances and budget. Hospital managers are in charge of the hospital's financial performance and the well-being of patients. They work with personnel from other departments to ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care. Because of their work, these professional can benefit from getting certified in infection control.

2. Epidemiologist

National average salary: $87,825 per year

Primary duties: Epidemiologists study the causes and transmission of infectious diseases. They keep track of epidemics and gather data. An epidemiologist's duty is to make sure there are no disease outbreaks by devising strategies to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Conveying findings to policymakers and the public is another key responsibility of these professionals. Epidemiologists work expose them to various health hazards, and getting certified can help them and those they work with in ensuring a safe health environment.

Related: How to Write a Healthcare Resume (With Tips and Examples)

3. Immunologist

National average salary: $252,265 per year

Primary duties: Immunologists work in the medical profession to diagnose and monitor human immunological conditions. If physicians in other fields of medicine suspect their patient's condition problem relate to the immune system, they refer them to immunologists. The type of organization for which they work typically influences the responsibilities of an immunologist. Immunologists working in health-care organizations are often trained doctors who specialize in the investigation of illnesses or allergies. Those in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries assist in the development of medical products.

4. Laboratory technician

National average salary: $24.78 per hour

Primary duties: A lab technician, also known as a laboratory technician, works in laboratories to facilitate scientific research by performing routine technical duties and tests. Setting up research labs for scientific investigation, running lab-based tests, and collecting and analyzing findings are among their responsibilities. These professionals may require getting and preparing samples, solutions, and specimens. They also require staying up to date with scientific developments relevant to their work, such as proper waste disposal, health and safety regulations, making them prime candidates for certification in infection prevention and control.

Related: 20 Popular Careers in Health Science to Consider

5. Nurse

National average salary: $34.88 per hour

Primary duties: Nurses' major responsibility is to ensure patients receive proper care for faster recovery. Nurses help patients recover by using a variety of treatment procedures. They offer patients and their families counsel and emotional support, including health education on medication use, good habits, and preventative measures. Nurses are typically responsible for administering medication, monitoring and recording patients' vital signs, and looking for signals of drug reactions. They require a good understanding of health and safety policies, such as disinfection and sanitation. A certification in infection prevention and control can boost their career prospects.

Related: Nurse Practitioner vs. Registered Nurse: Important Distinctions

How to obtain a certificate in infection control

Follow these steps to understand how to obtain a certificate in infection control:

1. Get a degree in a medical field

Getting a bachelor's degree is the first step toward obtaining this credential. If you've identified infection control as a potential career path, it's essential to enrol for a medical-related degree program. This can include courses in areas such as public health, epidemiology, biology, nursing, and laboratory medicine taking these courses introduces you to basic concepts in infection transmission and disease control, which provides a solid foundation for certification.

2. Gain experience

The next step is to gain experience in infection prevention and control. Typically, IPAC recommends candidates seeking certification to have a minimum of two years work experience. Some institutions also require applicants to have clerkship experience in laboratory medicine or infection control. Working in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, clinic or a busy laboratory can help you gain requisite practical experience before applying for certification.

Read more: Common Healthcare Interview Questions and Sample Answers

3. Apply for certification

After fulfilling initial requirements, you can then apply to get certified. This typically involves filling enrolment forms and paying the requisite fees. You also require studying and passing exams. You may choose to study online or in-person depending on your availability. Regardless of the mode of study, you may be required to attend practical lessons.

4. Maintain certification

You require maintaining your active membership to keep certification status. Membership renewal is after 12 months, and you require filling renewal forms and paying the requisite membership renewal fees, depending on your membership category. Renewing your membership ensures you maintain professional standing in the infection control community and continue to enjoy the benefits that come with the membership.

Related: 15 Jobs With a Master's in Public Health

Benefits of earning a certification in infection prevention and control

Here are several benefits of getting certified in infection prevention and control:

Demonstrates professionalism

Earning a certification is an objective basis by which others can verify and accept your knowledge in infection prevention. Developing expertise in infection prevention guiding principles elevates your role as a valuable part of a medical team. A certification in this field shows you're passionate about what you do, which is a sign of professional competence. Certification also illustrates your dedication to excellence, adherence to industry standards, and lifelong learning. These qualities can help you earn respect in your network.

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter for Healthcare Aide Positions

Improves patients' safety

Getting infection control certification can enable you to create and maintain a safer environment for your patients. One objective of any health institution is to ensure the safety and well-being of their patients. Earning a certification in infection control represents your contribution to advancing patient safety and safe working environments.

Enhances knowledge of best practices

It's vital to stay up to date on the best methods for prevention and treatment as new knowledge about how disease spread emerges. Going through the accreditation process enables you to access the most up-to-date data on innovative solutions. It gives you access to new technologies and allows you to showcase mastery of the operational skills associated with that knowledge.

Allows networking with other professionals

Attending certification courses and related events, such as workshops and webinars, provides a great opportunity for networking with other professionals. If you're just starting in this career, this is a great opportunity for meeting potential employers and mentors. For experienced professionals, networking events present immense career growth and business opportunity. You also get to impact on aspiring professionals through internship, mentorship, and externships.

Teaches others about safety

Once you earn a certification in infection prevention and control, you're well-positioned to educate your coworkers about the latest and effective safety methods and protocols. Informed colleagues can enhance the overall working environment for patients and other visitors to healthcare settings. This can lead to better health outcomes, such as more informed patients and public, reduced disease transmission, and safer communities.

Read more: How to List Your Certifications On A Resume

Provides higher earning potential

Professional certificates often result in greater earnings because of the time and effort involved. Typically, most clients are aware of the increased costs associated with specialist training and are prepared to pay for industry-certified experts. Getting certified in infection control can be a great strategy for asking for a pay rise from your current or future employer.

Increases employability and competitive advantage

When applying for a job, having a certification in this field distinguishes you from your competitors. Certifications may set you apart from other professionals in your field by demonstrating your dedication to learning and excelling in your field. This can give you a competitive advantage, which is very crucial in today's job market. If you want to work abroad, such as in the United States, you may not require undertaking other certifications to practice.

Explore more articles