Become Certified

HSPA’s CRCST, CIS, CER and CHL certifications are industry-recognized credentials. In 1971, HSPA (then IAHCSMM) began formal certification of Sterile Processing (SP) technicians to recognize individuals as having the necessary competence to perform their duties within the Sterile Processing environment.



Patients rarely meet Sterile Processing (SP) professionals, but they rely on them just the same. They count on technicians for clean, sterile, well-functioning instruments. They count on them to follow best practices and stay ahead of the technology curve.

Certification helps meet these expectations and ensures that SP professionals possess the essential knowledge and skills necessary for managing critical departmental duties safely, effectively and consistently. What’s more, the ongoing education required for SP professionals to maintain their certification status helps ensure that these professionals stay on top of ever-evolving instrumentation, technology, standards and best practices to keep Sterile Processing departments functioning at peak performance.


Application requirements are subject to change. Please ensure you have a current HSPA application for your submission.

Note: membership is not required to obtain certification.


Prepare and Apply: Ensure you are ready for the test. Study and review the policies and procedures. This includes becoming familiar with the following:

  1. Certification Handbook
  2. Exam Content Outline for your selected certification
  3. Reference materials for the exam

Begin collecting the proper documentation as outlined in the eligibility requirements for each certification, including your hours of hands-on experience, when applicable. Fill out and submit your application to HSPA. Once your application is submitted in full, please allow three to four weeks for processing.

Schedule and Take the Exam: Upon approval of your application, you will be emailed a letter with instructions for scheduling your exam. HSPA exams are administered through Prometric Testing Facilities and offered year-round.

When scheduling your exam, please remember:

  1. Scheduling online is preferred
  2. Schedule as far in advance as possible
  3. HSPA cannot schedule for you
  4. Applicants are solely responsible for making and keeping their scheduled examination appointment date
  5. A confirmation letter can be printed or emailed from the Prometric website after you make your appointment. The confirmation letter is for your records and is not required in order to take the exam.

Application requirements are subject to change. Please ensure you have a current HSPA application for your submission.



The CRCST certification program is designed to recognize entry-level and existing technicians who have demonstrated the experience, knowledge and skills necessary to provide competent services as a Sterile Processing technician.


The CER certification is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to pre-clean, test, decontaminate, inspect, disinfect and/or sterilize, transport, and store endoscopes in accordance with industry standards, guidelines and regulations, and manufacturers’ instructions for use.


The 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 Sterile Processing department.


The CHL certification program is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the management and supervisory skills necessary to provide effective leadership in the Sterile Processing department.


The CCSVP certification program is designed to recognize vendors who have demonstrated knowledge of Sterile Processing concepts and processes including the decontamination, inspection, assembly, packaging and sterilization of reusable surgical instruments.


All HSPA certification exams are administered exclusively through Prometric Testing. Prometric has a global network of site-based testing facilities, giving convenient access and a wide selection of times and dates for testing to test takers all over the world. The partnership between HSPA and Prometric offers the only secure, daily examination process within the Sterile Processing field.

Exam appointments cannot be made with Prometric before submitting an application and payment to HSPA and then receiving your scheduling information. Once your application to test is approved, you will be emailed a letter with scheduling information and a testing ID. It is your responsibility to schedule your test with Prometric during your 120-day window of eligibility.

Prometric Test Centers

  1. Locate a Testing Center Near Me
  2. Schedule Exam Online
  3. Schedule Exam by Phone: 1.800.998.1942
  4. Your exam appointment can be verified via Prometric’s WEBSITE or TOLL FREE NUMBER.

Scheduling Resources

Scheduling: What to Expect

Testing: What to Expect


I have special needs, how can I get the necessary accommodations for my test?

Please notify HSPA in writing at the time of application if you wish to request testing accommodations.

You must submit a Special Accommodations form, completed by your physician/medical professional detailing your need for accommodations. The documentation must identify the condition or disability and the need for the requested accommodation.

In accordance with the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA), HSPA will arrange to provide special testing accommodations for those individuals with a condition or disability as defined under the ADA. Accommodations will be provided at a designated testing center at no additional cost to the applicant. If you believe that you qualify for an accommodation pursuant to the ADA, please submit the Special Accommodations Request form.


Procedure for Requesting an Accommodation

Upon receipt of a request for an accommodation, HSPA’s Certification Department will contact the examination applicant, or their authorized personal representative, to discuss and identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability and the possible accommodation that HSPA might provide to help overcome those limitations.

The determination regarding what might be a reasonable accommodation for an applicant claiming to have a disability in order to assure equal and fair access to the examination being administered will be made on a case-by-case basis. HSPA will determine the feasibility of any accommodation, including the specific accommodation requested by the applicant, taking into account all relevant circumstances including, but not limited to: the nature of the claimed disability; the nature and cost of the accommodation; HSPA’s overall financial resources and organization; and the accommodation’s impact on certification operations and security. Based upon the circumstances of the case, HSPA may provide: appropriate auxiliary aids or services for an applicant with a sensory, manual, or speaking impairment; and/or modifications to the manner in which the test is administered. HSPA will seek to determine an accommodation that best ensures that the test is administered: to reflect the aptitude, achievement level, or whatever other factor the examination purports to measure, rather than the disability of an applicant; to assure accessibility in the facility where the examination is administered.

Whether a given testing modification is appropriate will be evaluated based on the candidate’s impairment and the individual circumstances of the candidate’s case, taking into account the candidate’s specific limitations and needs.

As a matter of fairness to all candidates and consistent with ADA principles, HSPA will not grant requests that would (i) fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge that a particular examination is intended to test; or (ii) result in an undue burden on HSPA. If it is determined that a requested modification would fall into either of these categories, HSPA will contact the applicant to determine whether some other form of modification or method of accommodation will satisfy their needs.

HSPA will inform the applicant of its decision pertaining to the accommodation request. If the accommodation request is denied, the applicant may appeal the decision by submitting a written statement to HSPA’s Certification Council explaining in detail why they believe the denial was incorrect and include any additional documentation they wish to be considered. Appeals must be received within 60 calendar days of the date applicant’s request for accommodation was denied. If the request on appeal is denied, that decision is final.

What Accommodations are Possible?

Based upon the circumstances of the case, HSPA may provide: appropriate auxiliary aids or services for an applicant with a sensory, manual, or speaking impairment; and/or modifications to the manner in which the test is administered. HSPA will seek to determine an accommodation that best ensures that the test is administered: to reflect the aptitude, achievement level, or whatever other factor the examination purports to measure, rather than the disability of an applicant; to assure accessibility in the facility where the examination is administered.

Testing Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Extended testing time
  • Large text test
  • Separate testing area
  • Special seating
  • Wheelchair accessible testing site
  • Food / Drink

Americans with Disabilities Act Policy Statement

HSPA is committed to complying with Title III and all other applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (the “ADA”). It is HSPA’s policy not to discriminate against any qualified applicant with regard to any term or condition associated with any examination administered by HSPA. Consistent with this policy, HSPA will offer and conduct all examinations in a place and a manner in compliance with the ADA to assure accessibility to qualified persons with disabilities or offer reasonable alternative accessible arrangements for such individuals, where feasible. HSPA also will provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified person with a disability, as defined by the ADA, who has made HSPA aware of their disability and submitted a Special Accommodations Request Form, provided that the accommodation does not fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge associated with the examination and does not constitute an undue hardship on HSPA.

HSPA also will not discriminate against any person because of their known association or relationship with any person with a known or perceived disability.

HSPA encourages any examination applicant with a disability to come forward and request a reasonable accommodation. Any examination applicant with a disability who believes they need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the examination should contact the HSPA Certification Department.

Procedure for Reporting Discrimination

An applicant who has questions regarding this policy or believes that they have been discriminated against based upon a disability should notify HSPA’s Certification Council. All such inquiries or complaints will be treated as confidential to the extent permissible by law.


Can I test at my hospital?

No, HSPA certification exams are available exclusively at Prometric Testing Facilities worldwide.

If all of the certification exams are given at Prometric Testing Centers, is there a tutorial that will teach me how to take an exam on a computer?

The HSPA website offers an Online Tutorial which will describe the look and feel of the exam, and walk you through the process of answering questions or marking questions for later review. This same tutorial is offered on-site at Prometric Testing Facilities when you take your exam, and does not count against your allotted time window to complete the exam.

When are HSPA exams offered?

HSPA certification exams are available through Prometric Testing Facilities. Most test centers are open at least 6 days a week. Once your completed application and payment has been received and processed, you will have 120 days to schedule and take your exam. HSPA certification exams have no set testing dates or times; availability of testing appointments depends on the site and date you select. We recommend scheduling your exam within the first 45 days of your eligibility to ensure availability of a date and time that best fits your schedule.

I live outside the United States, how can I pay for the exam?

Using a credit/debit card or bank draft/money order drawn on U.S. funds.

My driver's license/state ID/passport shows my middle name/initial, is that ok?

Yes, only your first and last names must match, middle names/initials will not be verified when checking in for your testing appointment. However, all first and last names must be listed (ie JoAnn John-Smith could not test if she only listed her name as Jo Smith.)

IDs must also be non-expired.

I have signed up for an exam but am not ready to take my test, can I have an extension for my eligibility?

No, unfortunately, we do not offer extensions. It is highly recommended to send in your exam application only when you are sufficiently prepared to sit for the exam.

Can I contact HSPA to reschedule my exam date?

No, all scheduling and rescheduling of appointments must be done through Prometric by phone at 800.998.1942 or online at

I missed my exam appointment, do I have to pay to retake my test?

Yes, missing an exam appointment forfeits your exam payment. A new application and payment will be required in order to receive a new testing eligibility.

If I fail the exam, how soon can I attempt to take the exam again?

There is a mandatory six week waiting period between exam attempts.

If I fail (or pass) the exam, can I have a copy of my exam so I can review which questions I missed?

For the sake of our exams’ integrity, we cannot provide copies of exam questions or answers.

Do I have to be a CRCST before becoming a CER?

No. Current CRCST certification is not required to take the CER exam.

Do I have to be a CRCST before becoming a CIS or CHL?

Yes. Current CRCST certification IS required to take the CIS and CHL exams.

Do I have to take the CIS and CHL exams in a certain order?

No. After you have obtained the CRCST, you may go on to take either the CIS or CHL exams in any order.

Can I take the CHL exam if I am not currently a manager/supervisor?

Yes. The CHL exam is open to anyone who is currently in a management position or who wishes to pursue such a position in the future.

Can I order my books and sign up for the exam at the same time?

We recommend only applying to test when you are done studying. Once we receive your exam application, your 90 day testing eligibility opens immediately (prior to even receiving the study materials.) We therefore recommend purchasing study materials, and then sending in your exam application only when you have finished reviewing and are ready to sit for the exam.

How long do I have to take the exam after I've completed my course/studies?

There is no time constraint; you may take it whenever you feel you are ready, though we recommend taking the exam sooner than later so that the information you learned is still fresh in your mind.

I finished a course some time ago and was told that I was registered, is this still valid?

The registered title (RCST) is no longer in use because it was often confused with certification. HSPA now simply refers to individuals as being certified (CRCST) or non-certified.

I've been working in the field for years, or took a course several years ago, do I need to take a current course before applying for the exam?

It is entirely your choice how you prepare for a certification exam. You are welcome to purchase study material for review, take a local or online course, or challenge an exam based on your working knowledge and experience in the field.

If I do not complete or pass a local or correspondence course, am I still able to take the CRCST Exam?

Yes. Courses as preparation are not required and you are welcome to challenge the exam.

I hold a CS certification through another organization or have years of experience in CS. Do I need to take the CRCST exam in order to become HSPA certified?

Yes, HSPA certifications are only granted to those who take and pass our certification exams and complete any required hands-on/observation experience. Certifications held by other groups or associations cannot be transferred to an HSPA certification, nor are we able to grandfather individuals based on their years of experience working in the field.

Is there a practice exam specifically for the CRCST, CER, CIS or CHL?

Outside of the quizzes and progress tests found in our study workbooks, HSPA does not offer practice tests for any of our certification exams. While various websites may offer practice exams, HSPA has no hand in creating or reviewing them, and cannot in anyway guarantee their validity or usefulness.

I used to be certified and let it lapse, I now have to retake the test, do I need to resubmit my hours?

Hands-on experience is required to be recent, so if your most recently submitted experience occurred more than five years prior you would be required to resubmit your documentation.

Who can document my hours of experience on an exam application?

If hands-on (CRCST & CIS) or clinical observation (CCSVP) hours are required for certification, documentation of those hours must be provided on the exam application as indicated. No other documentation is necessary or acceptable.

The sections of the application documenting experience must be completed by an immediate supervisor/manager/educator and must have been accrued within the past five years at most. An individual in a leadership role within the department cannot document their own experience. They are required to have their immediate supervisor/manager or educator complete all required documentation.

Provided they are in a position above the applicant, experience hours can be documented by:

• Lead Techs
• Coordinators
• Supervisors
• Managers
• Chiefs
• Directors
• Administrators
• Hospital Educators

Hours cannot be documented by technicians or private instructors. In order to verify experience, all contact information provided for the leader/educator documenting your experience must be current or your application will be rejected.

Do I have to complete the 400 hours of hands-on experience for the CRCST?

Yes, the 400 hours of hands-on experience required for CRCST certification is mandatory for all applicants.

Can I take the CRCST exam before I've completed my 400 hours?

Yes, but you must submit documentation of your hands-on experience, completed on a paid or volunteer basis, within six months of passing the exam. During that six month period you will be considered Provisionally Certified.

What is Provisional Certification?

Provisional Certification is attained when applicants choose to take the CRCST exam before they have completed their 400 hours of hands-on experience. It is NOT an exemption from the hands-on experience requirement. Whenever possible, applicants should complete their hands-on requirement before taking their CRCST exam. Doing so eliminates the risk of having to retake the exam if the hours requirement cannot be completed on time. Additionally, the experience is often very beneficial in helping applicants to better understand the key concepts and skills needed to excel in Central Service and on the certification exam.

Individuals who attain provisional certification have six months in which to complete and submit documentation of their hands-on experience. If the experience is not completed and documented within the allotted six month period, the certification will be revoked and the individual will need to retest in order to regain certification.

A one-time, two month provisional extension may be available, if and only if the provisional certificant has already begun working or volunteering in a department before the provisional certification expires. The Supervisor/Manager/Educator of that department would need to contact IAHCSMM to request an extension on the applicant’s behalf, prior to the provisional certification expiring.

Applicants who attain provisional certification have 6 months to complete their hands-on experience component and submit proof of that to IAHCSMM Headquarters. If that is not completed in 6 months, the certification will be revoked and the person will need to retake the certification exam.

A one-time, 2 month extension may be available, if and only if you have already begun working or volunteering in a department before your provisional certification expires. The Manager/Supervisor of that department would need to contact IAHCSMM to request an extension on your behalf, prior to your provisional certification expiring.


All information provided by and about you on the exam application (and any other subsequent forms submitted in relation to the application) must be accurate and correct. If any information provided on an exam application or any other document relating to your certification is determined to be false or purposefully misleading, HSPA can reject your application and disqualify you from future testing. The HSPA Certification Council will review all such instances and determine the appropriate recourse, including the invalidation of test results, the revocation of any certifications which have been granted, and/or the denial of recertification.


Application fees include the application processing and one exam attempt (in-person at a Prometric Testing Facility). Additional fees are required for each exam retake.

Any requests for cancellations or refunds must be made within 30 days of payment and before an exam appointment has been made. If made within 30 days, your payment will be refunded in full, minus a $25 non-refundable processing fee.

Failure to schedule and take an exam within the allotted 120 day testing eligibility, missing or arriving late for an appointment, or presenting ID that is unacceptable, expired, or does not match your registered name (as provided on your exam application), will prohibit you from testing and effectively end your exam eligibility period. Your exam fee will be forfeited and you will not be eligible for any refund. The application process must be repeated and full payment submitted, when you are ready to have a new test eligibility granted.



Applying online is quick and easy. Select your certification, provide your hands-on experience information for your supervisor/manager to verify, pay your application fee, and click submit.

To apply by fax or mail, please see the required application forms on each certification page.

Please allow three to four weeks for processing.