Certified Healthcare Leader (CHL)

A secondary certification for management.

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 (SPD). CHLs are indispensable members of the healthcare team who are responsible for managing the daily operations of the SPD, including standards and regulation compliance, finance, reporting, staffing, human resource management, and inter- and intra-departmental communications.



Current, full CRCST certification must be obtained prior to taking the CHL exam and must be kept current to maintain your CHL certification.

To earn CHL certification, candidates are required to successfully demonstrate skills through the successful completion of an examination developed to measure the understanding of general sterile processing-, infection prevention- and management-related topics. CHL certification holders are required to recertify annually through the completion of continuing education (CE) requirements.


This course is offered through Purdue University. It is NOT an HSPA product. It is preparation for the exam only, and passing a course does not equate to Certification.

Required Hours of Experience

How many hours of hands-on experience are required?

While there are no hours of experience required to apply for the CHL exam, it is best geared toward those who are already in a leadership position, in training to become a Sterile Processing leader, or interested in pursuing a leadership role.

Please be aware that you must hold a current, full CRCST certification prior to applying for the CHL exam.

Exam Preparation: Self-Study vs. Work Experience

Option 1: Online/Distance Learning Course

Purdue University offers a traditional correspondence course by mail, designed to help prepare Sterile Processing Supervisors and Managers for the CHL exam. You can find out more about the course by calling Purdue at 800.830.0269 or by visiting their website. (!)

Option 2: Self-Study

You may purchase reference materials and choose to study on your own to prepare for the CHL exam. HSPA’s CS Leadership Manual was used as a reference in creating the CHL exam, along with HSPA’s Central Service Technical Manual (8th edition) and ANSI/AAMI’s ST79 (2010 edition), all available through the HSPA Online Store. An additional resource, AORN’s Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices (2017 edition) can be purchased through the AORN website.

Option 3: 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, or study materials on your own. Applicants can apply directly to take the exam without purchasing study materials or enrolling in a course.


  • Courses are preparation for the exam only. Passing a course does not equate to certification.
  • HSPA’s Education department has developed the materials above as an optional method to assist individuals in preparing for the CHL exam. They were developed and produced independently from the Certification Council, which does not develop, require, approve, or endorse any specific training materials.

Content & Composition of the Exam

Exam Content Outline

The CHL exam will test your proficiency in the following areas:

  1. Planning and Decision-Making
  2. Organizing
  3. Leading
  4. Controlling

Each of the seven knowledge domains listed above is comprised of a series of sub-domains which are explained in further detail in the CHL Exam Content Outline (updated August 2021). The Content Outline also describes further detail on the type and amount of content covered in each section, as well as its weight on the certification exam.

Exam Structure

  • The exam is computer-based and no writing instruments are needed (a written version of the exam is not available)
  • The current version of the test is comprised of 150 multiple choice questions
  • You will have three 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, below



Validate that you meet the eligibility requirements detailed above and in the HSPA Certification Handbook and apply today.

Required Experience Documentation

  • CHL Exam: current CRCST

Application Fees

  • Initial Exam: $140
  • Retake Exam: $140

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, as shown above. Please allow 3-4 weeks for processing.

*Any requests for cancellations or refunds must be made within 30 days of payment. If made within 30 days, your payment will be refunded in full, minus a $25 non-refundable processing fee.