Infection Preventionist Programs

“During times of crisis and emergency management, we must recognize the need to pivot when necessary. Building relationships within the medical space can be extremely advantageous to succeed in this field. More often than not, infection prevention specialists collaborate with healthcare providers and different public health professionals, including epidemiologists, state and local health officials, and more.”

Ronald D. Brown, MD, Founder of AeroClave LLC

In the complex and dynamic healthcare landscape, one role stands as a critical linchpin in ensuring the safety and well-being of patients, staff, and visitors: the infection preventionist. With the escalating challenges posed by reemerging pathogens such as measles, rubella, and tetanus and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the significance of infection prevention programs has never been more pronounced. Infection prevention programs are not just about implementing standard protocols but about fostering a culture of vigilance, education, and continuous improvement to stay one step ahead of infectious threats.

Infection prevention may seem basic, but it is a crucial safety element in global healthcare. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infection prevention and control (IPC) is “universally relevant to every health worker and patient and every health care interaction.” From the frontline battles against outbreaks in hospitals to the strategic planning sessions that set policies for preventing the spread of infections, this guide explores what it takes to safeguard health and prevent disease transmission in an era where infections know no boundaries.

Whether you’re a healthcare professional, a student in the medical field, or simply someone interested in public health, this post will illuminate the critical importance and impact of robust infection prevention strategies. This guide explores the multifaceted world of infection prevention programs ranging from continuing education to graduate certificates and degrees, unraveling their essential components, core courses, and program accreditation. Additionally, we’ll cover career outlook, salary, and certification for infection preventionists, showing how these programs are a non-negotiable pillar in the foundation of modern healthcare.

Meet the Expert: Ronald D. Brown, MD

Ronald D. Brown

In the wake of the 2003 SARS epidemic, Dr. Ronald D. Brown leveraged his extensive background in emergency medicine and his tenure as the EMS medical director for Seminole County Department of Public Safety between 1985 and 2000. He then established AeroClave, LLC, which quickly rose to prominence as a key player in the distribution of decontamination systems. AeroClave was created to design, produce, and market an innovative system engineered to decontaminate commercial and military aircraft against pandemic-causing viruses and various pathogens. Over time, the AeroClave System has expanded to include a range of user-friendly decontamination solutions that are effective in curbing the transmission of infectious diseases.

Beyond its initial focus, AeroClave has pioneered the first large-scale, economically viable vehicle decontamination facility in Winter Park, Florida, and has further broadened its product line to encompass portable and stationary room decontamination units. What is something most people don’t know about being an infection preventionist?

Dr. Brown: Being an infection preventionist involves more than just implementing decontamination and sanitization protocols. It’s about educating the community and those around you on the significance of public health. This aspect of the role can have a profound influence, as I’ve personally witnessed during my time as a practicing physician. The power of preparedness in situations requiring infection control cannot be overstated. What is one piece of advice you would give to a prospective infection preventionist?

Dr. Brown: Understand the importance of collaboration and flexibility. During times of crisis and emergency management, we must recognize the need to pivot when necessary. Building relationships within the medical space can be extremely advantageous to succeed in this field. More often than not, infection prevention specialists collaborate with healthcare providers and different public health professionals, including epidemiologists, state and local health officials, and more.

My biggest advice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in infection prevention is not to be afraid to think outside the box. Many resist change and feel safest following “traditional practices,” even when the data suggests those methods might not work. If you have good evidence to support your idea, don’t be afraid to put it on the table. And, more importantly, don’t be afraid to go back a second or third time if your idea is initially rejected. Persistence pays off.

Infection Preventionist fast facts
Projected Jobs Created2,700
Projected Job Growth27 percent
Average Salary$90,430
Low Salary$54,950
Median Salary$81,390
High Salary$132,230
Entry-Level EDU Master’s degree
Sourced from BLS 2024

Infection Preventionist Degree & Certification Programs

Here are some exemplary programs offered at on-campus or brick-and-mortar institutions.

Johns Hopkins University

The Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Prevention and Control Certificate program, offered by the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a robust educational initiative designed to equip healthcare professionals with the essential knowledge and skills for preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections.

This comprehensive program caters to a wide range of healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses, infection preventionists, epidemiologists, and public health practitioners, offering both online and on-campus formats to accommodate diverse learning preferences and schedules. The curriculum covers a broad spectrum of critical topics such as epidemiological principles, infection prevention strategies, surveillance methodologies, outbreak investigation techniques, antimicrobial stewardship, and healthcare quality improvement.

Tailored for both current Johns Hopkins University students pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees and junior to mid-level professionals in the field, the program bridges the gap between research and practice, emphasizing evidence-based approaches to minimize the risk of infections and improve patient safety in healthcare settings. Graduates emerge from the program well-prepared to tackle the challenges of healthcare-associated infections and drive advancements in healthcare delivery.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Duration: One to three years
  • Accreditation: Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)

Healthcare Association of Hawaii

The Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPC0 Version 2) offered by the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH) is an advanced online course meticulously designed for current and aspiring infection preventionists. This program is a pivotal educational tool to enhance professionals’ competencies in effectively preventing and controlling infections across healthcare settings. IPCO Version 2 encompasses a comprehensive curriculum that covers a broad spectrum of crucial topics, including regulatory standards, strategies for preventing transmission of infectious agents, outbreak investigation and management, and antimicrobial stewardship.

The course is structured to provide a blend of self-paced learning with interactive modules, expert video lectures, and real-life scenario exercises. It also prepares participants for key infection prevention and control roles within their facilities, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to lead and implement evidence-based practices. Upon completion, attendees will have met the specialized training requirements for infection preventionists as outlined by federal regulations, positioning them as integral contributors to enhancing patient safety and quality care in their respective healthcare environments.

  • Location: Honolulu, HI
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accreditation: American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC)

University of Southern Maine

The Core Infection Preventionist Training Program, hosted by the Maine Infection Prevention Forum, is a specialized course designed to equip new and seasoned infection preventionists with the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for effective infection control and prevention within healthcare settings. This comprehensive program covers a wide array of topics crucial to the field, including but not limited to the principles of infection prevention, strategies for disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, antimicrobial stewardship, and the application of epidemiological methods to protect patient and staff safety.

It is structured to provide a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application through interactive sessions, expert lectures, and case studies. The training is tailored to meet the needs of professionals in various healthcare roles seeking to enhance their expertise or transition into infection prevention roles. By fostering a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding infection prevention and control, the program aims to empower participants to implement effective strategies within their organizations, ultimately contributing to improved healthcare outcomes and safety standards.

  • Location: Portland, ME
  • Duration: Timeline varies
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Infection Prevention and Control Program offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, through its Continuing Education in Engineering (ICEP) platform, is a comprehensive online course tailored for healthcare professionals looking to deepen their knowledge and skills in preventing and controlling infections within healthcare settings. This course, identified as “Course 1” in a series dedicated to infection prevention, provides a foundational understanding of the principles of infection control, including the identification, surveillance, and management of infections in patients and healthcare personnel. It covers various essential topics such as microbiology, epidemiology, antimicrobial stewardship, and strategies for developing and implementing effective infection prevention policies and procedures.

The program is designed with flexibility, allowing participants to progress at their own pace while engaging with interactive content, expert-led lectures, and real-world case studies. Upon completion, attendees are better equipped to contribute to enhancing patient safety and quality care in their respective healthcare environments, armed with the latest evidence-based practices in infection prevention and control.

  • Location: Madison, WI
  • Duration: Timeline varies
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME); Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE); American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Hybrid & Online Infection Preventionist Programs

Many infection prevention programs are available in hybrid or online learning formats. Here are some top-rated graduate-level programs in infection prevention.

Drexel University

Drexel University’s online infectious disease prevention and control certificate is a dynamic program crafted to arm public health professionals with specialized knowledge in preventing and controlling infectious diseases. This program, ideal for those looking to advance within public health, epidemiology, or healthcare administration, encompasses a curriculum designed around the latest scientific and policy developments in infectious disease control. Credits from this program can be transferred into Drexel’s master of public health program. A master of science in infection prevention and control is also available.

The certificate program is offered through Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health, consisting of five courses totaling 15 quarter credits, which students can complete part-time within one year. The coursework covers essential topics such as biostatistics, epidemiology, infectious disease strategies, and the public health implications of infectious diseases, providing a comprehensive understanding of the complex nature of infectious diseases and how they can be controlled and prevented. With Drexel University’s flexible online format, students can balance their studies with professional commitments, engaging with interactive course materials and participating in a vibrant online learning community guided by Drexel’s experienced faculty.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: Nine months
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Post University

The graduate certificate in infection prevention and control offered by Post University is an entirely online program designed for licensed registered nurses (RNs) to enhance their expertise in preventing, managing, and controlling infectious disease outbreaks within healthcare environments. This flexible program offers monthly start dates and comprises five courses totaling 15 credit-hours. The curriculum spans critical topics such as epidemiology, environmental risk assessment, infection control program development, surveillance system design, and the interpretation of infection control data.

Importantly, while the program prepares students for the Certification in Infection Control (CIC) credential examination, achieving certification is not guaranteed by the university. Post University supports student success through two learning modalities: Term Based and SIMPath® (Competency-Based), tailored to accommodate different learning styles and schedules. Despite not qualifying for Title IV funding, the program promises comprehensive support via student success advisors, ensuring a robust educational experience. However, it’s incumbent upon students to verify that the program meets all educational requirements for their certification goals.

  • Location: Waterbury, CT
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

University of California Los Angeles Extension (UCLA)

The UCLA Extension offers a specialized infection prevention and control certificate program tailored for healthcare professionals and allied health specialists aiming to excel as infection preventionists. This comprehensive program is designed to complete over six courses within a year, offering in-depth training in hospital epidemiology, infection risk mitigation techniques, identification using National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) definitions, and strategies for managing infectious disease outbreaks. It leverages online instruction for flexible learning, aligning with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) competency model and equipping students for the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) certification exam.

With scholarships available for eligible students and a faculty renowned for their expertise in public health, epidemiology, and medicine, the program stands out for its quality education and practical approach to infection prevention and control. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), this program is a gateway for professionals seeking to contribute significantly to public health safety and infection control standards.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Duration: One year
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) offers a comprehensive certificate in infection prevention program through its School of Public Health. It is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective infection prevention and control in healthcare settings. This program, which can be completed within 1.5 years but allows up to three years for completion, requires students to complete four courses (12 credit-hours) covering a broad array of topics, including the principles of infection prevention, healthcare-associated infection surveillance, data and reports, and infection prevention in healthcare facilities. Students can choose between courses on infectious disease epidemiology or transmission of infectious diseases, with the latter being the only course not offered online.

The curriculum is structured to ensure students understand the epidemiology of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), statistical methods for evaluating these infections, and the regulatory requirements guiding Infection Prevention programs. This certificate program is ideal for individuals looking to enhance their expertise in infection prevention or pursue careers in this vital field, offering both foundational knowledge and practical insights into the challenges of infection control in various healthcare environments.

  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Duration: 1.5 years
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) offers an online master of public health (MPH) program with a concentration in infection control, designed to meet the growing demand for skilled infection prevention and control professionals. This 42-credit program is delivered entirely online, except for a required internship that students can complete locally, providing flexibility for both current practitioners and those entering the field.

The curriculum is closely aligned with the Certification Board of Infection Control’s detailed content outline, covering essential areas such as infectious disease processes, surveillance and epidemiologic investigation, and prevention and control strategies. Aimed at licensed healthcare professionals or those with a background in biological sciences, the program prepares graduates for diverse roles in healthcare facilities, public health departments, research, education, and beyond. With students enrolled from across the United States and other countries, the program fosters a wide network of opportunities for professional development and practical experience in infection control practices.

  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

University of Providence

The University of Providence offers a cutting-edge master of science in infection prevention and epidemiology program to propel students into leadership roles in infection control and prevention. This online program is meticulously structured to give students the skills and knowledge to prevent and manage infectious diseases across various healthcare environments effectively.

With a curriculum that spans epidemiologic methods, data analysis, ethical considerations, and the fundamentals of surveillance and reporting, graduates are well-prepared to excel in hospitals, ambulatory care, home care, long-term care facilities, and public health organizations. Unique to this program is its partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health, which enriches the learning experience by providing practical insights and access to healthcare facilities and opens pathways to valuable job opportunities. Tailored for flexibility, the program can be completed in six semesters through asynchronous courses, ensuring that even the busiest professionals can advance their education and career prospects.

  • Location: Great Falls, MT
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Core & Elective Courses - Infection Prevention Programs

Graduate-level and continuing education programs in infection prevention are meticulously structured to equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to combat and prevent the spread of infectious diseases within healthcare settings. These programs blend core foundational courses with specialized electives, allowing students to gain a comprehensive understanding of epidemiology, public health principles, and the latest prevention techniques, while also providing the flexibility to tailor their learning according to specific interests or emerging trends in the field.

Common Core Courses

  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Infection Prevention and Control Practices
  • Public Health Microbiology
  • Healthcare Quality Improvement
  • Biostatistics

Elective Courses

  • Advanced Topics in Hospital Epidemiology
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Healthcare Policy and Infection Control
  • Environmental Health in Healthcare Settings

This blend of core and elective courses ensures that graduates not only understand the fundamental aspects of infection prevention but also have the opportunity to explore specific areas of interest, making them well-rounded professionals ready to tackle the challenges of today's healthcare environment.

Program Accreditation - Infection Preventionist

Infection prevention programs, pivotal in safeguarding public health, are accredited through two primary channels: regional and programmatic accreditation.

Regional accreditation often applies to academic institutions offering master's degrees in public health. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) plays a significant role in this process, ensuring that these programs meet rigorous educational standards.

On the other hand, programmatic accreditation is tailored towards continuing education courses designed for healthcare professionals. This type of accreditation is meticulously overseen by specialized organizations, including but not limited to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Each organization sets the benchmark for curriculum quality, ensuring that practitioners receive up-to-date, relevant training in infection prevention and control.

Career Outlook

Infection preventionists have varied educational and professional backgrounds, meaning their career outlook and salary data vary widely. Here are some of the fast-growing and most common titles for infection preventionists, their projected career growth in the coming decade, entry-level education, and median annual salaries.

All data is sourced from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook from 2022-2032. All occupations below are expected to experience job growth rates above the national average of 3 percent (BLS 2024).

Medical Assistants

  • Projected jobs: 105,900
  • Projected job growth: 14 percent
  • Entry-level education: Post-secondary certificate
  • Median annual salary: $42,000


  • Projected jobs: 20,900
  • Projected job growth: 5 percent
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s
  • Median annual salary: $85,470

Registered Nurses (RNs)

  • Projected jobs: 177,400
  • Projected job growth: 6 percent
  • Entry-level education: Diploma, Associate’s, or Bachelor’s
  • Median annual salary: $86,070

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

  • Projected jobs: 123,600
  • Projected job growth: 38 percent
  • Entry-level education: Master’s
  • Median annual salary: $129,480


  • Projected jobs: 2,700
  • Projected job growth: 27 percent
  • Entry-level education: Master’s
  • Median annual salary: $81,390

Physician Assistants

  • Projected jobs: 39,300
  • Projected job growth: 27 percent
  • Entry-level education: Master’s
  • Median annual salary: $130,020

Licensing & Certification - Infection Preventionist

Licensure and certification are crucial steps for infection preventionists who want to demonstrate their expertise and commitment to the field. State-level licensure isn’t common, but many employers prefer professional certification.

The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) administers a primary certification called the Certified in Infection Control (CIC®) credential. This certification is internationally recognized and serves as a standard of achievement for individuals in infection prevention and control.

To obtain the CIC® credential, candidates must pass a comprehensive examination that assesses their knowledge of infection prevention, surveillance, and epidemiologic methods, infection prevention and control strategies, healthcare-associated infection, program management, and communication and education.

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd Writer

Rachel Drummond has contributed insightful articles to since 2019, where she offers valuable advice and guidance for those pursuing careers in the healthcare field, combining her passion for education with her understanding of the critical role that healthcare professionals play in promoting physical and mental well-being.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.