What to Expect from the New Prevention Credentialing Exam

March 21, 2023

IC&RC Prevention Credentialing Exam FAQ


The questions and responses below were gathered by the SSW PTTC from four different resources to help the prevention specialist candidate prepare for the new IC&RC Prevention Specialist Exam. By understanding the process for exam development and the domains required for preparation, it is our hope that candidates will be able to utilize this information to move forward with planning for a credential as a Prevention Specialist.


  1. What is the process for creating a new exam?

The foundation of a credential is the Job Analysis (JA), a methodical process of determining what elements of practice and knowledge are important to assess as part of a certification examination.

To develop the JA, IC&RC gathers Subject Matter Experts (SME) working in the field from all around the country and world to contribute tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities they use in their jobs. These SMEs are selected based on geographic area, race, and number of years’ experience ideally in the field with 5-10 years (preferably 5 and under).1 Then the SMEs create a public survey, under the guidance of the IC&RC psychometrician, for professionals to weigh in on whether they do, in fact, complete the proposed tasks in their work – and how important they would rate them. The survey is announced on IC&RC’s website and sent to IC&RC member boards and other relevant organizations for distribution.

Under the guidance of a psychometrician from an international testing company, a second group of Subject Matter Experts reviews the survey results, adjusting the original tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities to reflect the input of thousands of professionals. This final document is called the Job Analysis, and it serves as the blueprint for the examination. The process used by IC&RC directly links an examination score to a specific job and ensures that each examination is valid, reliable, and legally defensible.


  1. If I have already started studying for the exam, will I have to study something different for the new exam?

If you have been studying for the exam, you should not expect a significant change in the testing domains. All domains have remained consistent and proven for today’s beginning prevention specialist. If a new domain were added or a significant change in the percentage occurred, then you would want to study that domain with more intention, but that is not the case with this test.1

The prevention domain graph below shows a comparison between the domain weights in 2016 and 2022. It shows that the biggest change to the current domains is to the Planning and Evaluation domain, with a reduction of 5%. Professional Growth and Responsibility increased by 4%. These are small changes to the weight of each domain and therefore to the scoring on the exam.


 Domain Comparison Bar Graph


  1. What is the best resource for me to study to prepare for the new exam?

The Examination Reference List in the Candidate Guide for the IC&RC Prevention Specialist Examination includes, in part, a list of books and resources from which the test questions were developed.1 For this reason it’s important to study and become familiar with these resources along with others that focus on competency based prevention.


  1. What help can I expect to receive if my primary language is not English?

IC&RC recognizes the diversity of prevention professionals in the field and has developed goals to provide exams and resource materials in other languages other than English. Most recently they have partnered with the Hispanic and Latino PTTC to translate the Candidate Guide for the IC&RC Prevention Specialist Examination into Spanish. The new candidate guide in Spanish is expected to be available mid-year 2023.4

The testing company for IC & RC has added a unique feature not available previously. You can now toggle from English to Spanish and Spanish to English by hovering over a question within the test. This translation has also been made possible by the National Hispanic and Latino PTTC by utilizing grant money to translate the exam.1

The IC&RC continues to address barriers to taking the test, including language barriers and publicizes those additions as they are available.


  1. How often does the prevention specialist exam change?

To ensure IC&RC credentials and examinations reflect the latest practices, exams are updated following the process described above every five to seven years. This rigorous test development sets IC&RC apart from other credentialing organizations. The standard for IC&RC is typically five years but the process for developing the exam for 2023 was delayed due to Covid restrictions.1



1Phone interview with Mark Attanasi, Executive Director International Credentialing and Reciprocity Consortium, March 9, 2023

2The Candidate Guide for the IC&RC Prevention Specialist Examination, updated October 2022, page 10. Retrieved March 2023  https://www.internationalcredentialing.org/resources/Candidate%20Guides/Prevention_Candidate_Guide_Final_.pdf.

3The Candidate Guide for the IC&RC Prevention Specialist Examination updated August 2017, page 11, Retrieved March 2023 https://internationalcredentialing.org/resources/Candidate%20Guides/PS_Candidate_Guide.pdf.

4Exam Study Materials, International Credentialing & Reciprocity Consortium. Retrieved March 2023 https://www.internationalcredentialing.org/examprep.

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