Webinar Follow-Up: Earning the CPIA Credential

On May 12, PRIM&R presented Earning the CPIA® Credential: Is it Right for You, Right Now?, a sixty-minute informational webinar on the Certified Professional IACUC Administrator (CPIA®) program. CPIA Council chair Deb Frolicher, BS, CPIA, outlined the history of the CPIA program, as well as the eligibility and recertification guidelines, and credential holder Toni K. O’Connell, BS, CPIA, shared strategies on how to prepare for the examination. Both Ms. Frolicher and Ms. O’Connell fielded participants’ questions, including those listed below, and provided some additional follow-up information.

Q: How is the CPIA exam scored?
Deb Frolicher (DF): The exam consists of 250 objective multiple-choice questions; each question has one correct answer. Test-takers earn one point for every questions answered correctly. Since the inception of the exam, the average passing score has been about 72%, and has ranged from 70-74%.

Q: I started my position on November 1, 2013. Would I be able to sit for the exam during the October 2015 testing period?
DF: The Council strictly interprets the eligibility guidelines. In order to sit for the exam, credential holders must have two years of eligible experience at the institutional level. If you have questions about your eligibility, please send your CV/resume to PRIM&R for the Council to review.

Q: For recertification, how long do you have to complete 50 hours of continuing education activities?
DF: Credential holders have five years to complete the required 50 hours of continuing education credits, beginning from the date in which they passed the exam. Although recertification by continuing education applications are due three months prior to the certification lapse date, credential holders are able to list those events in which they plan to participate that have not yet occurred.

Toni O’Connell (TO): It is also important to remember that CPIAs must obtain credits in multiple categories, so when planning continuing education activities, consult the recertification by continuing education guidelines.

Q: Do you have any recommendations on how many hours a week I should study for the exam?
TO: I averaged about 15-20 hours a week, spending the lion’s share of my studying time on the weekends. During the week, I spent two hours a week in study groups, and I would spend another hour or two in the evening studying. On the weekends, I read and answered questions for about four hours a day.