Developmental path of the infection preventionist

The ever-changing requirements of the profession demand that infection preventionists (IPs) constantly update their knowledge base and expand their skill set. The updated APIC Competency Model (May 2019) has four career stages, defined as follows:


The Novice infection preventionist (IP) has very limited knowledge, skills, experience, and basis in which to have situational awareness in infection prevention and control (IPC) and epidemiology. The Novice must rely on rules and concepts to guide their practice and begin to develop their knowledge/skills in the core competencies.

Becoming proficient

At this stage, the IP continues to build on their knowledge/skills in the core competencies while developing into an independent practitioner. The Becoming Proficient practitioner is able to briefly move beyond rule-based thinking to identify common trends that need to be addressed to ensure patient safety. Their knowledge and proficiency level will vary based on their previous training, setting, role, size of their team, and the extent that they have opportunities to experience and apply specific areas of IPC practice.


In this stage, the IP can demonstrate proficient knowledge of the core competencies through successfully achieving the CIC® credential. The CIC® indicates that the IP has knowledge required for competent performance in IPC. During this stage, the IP begins to apply the core competencies independently and deepens their knowledge and application of the future-oriented competency domains in APIC’s Competency Model. The proficient IP is able to use past experiences to shape future thinking about a situation.


The Expert IP consistently and reliably demonstrates professional expertise (and at times very advanced levels of mastery) in the IPC core competencies and future-oriented competency domains. The Expert IP shares their knowledge and skills through mentoring, research, publication, collaboration, leadership, and educating other IPs. The expert is able to analyze more rapidly than any other stage and guide future decisions based on experience and perceptual acuity to achieve defined outcomes.

Available Resources

  • Roadmap for the Novice Infection Preventionistnew and interactive!
    The new Roadmap for the Novice Infection Preventionist outlines key knowledge, skills, and abilities that the IP must gain from day one on the job through taking the Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC®) exam. Learn more about CBIC’s content for CIC®) examination preparation.
  • Fellow of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
    The APIC Fellows program recognizes exemplary APIC members with status as a Fellow of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (FAPIC). Fellow of APIC status is a distinction of honor for IPs who are not only advanced practitioners of infection prevention practice, but also leaders within the field.
    • Note: the 2020 APIC Fellows application will be updated to align with new (2019) APIC Competency Model.
  • Professional Practice Standards
    The foundational document for the profession, the Professional Practice Standards establish the core duties, responsibilities, and skill set of the infection preventionist.
  • Proficient Practitioner Bridge
    Based on the May 2012 AJIC article on APIC’s Competency Model, the Proficient Practitioner Bridge enables IPs to identify personal strengths and weaknesses, with the ultimate goal of positioning the proficient IP to apply for the APIC Fellow designation. The PDC is updating this resource. The updated version will be available by January 2020. Already signed up? Log in to by selecting “My Account” in the top right corner, followed by “My Courses”