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General Information

  • Why was IBHRE (formerly NASPExAM) created?

    NASPExAM was created in the mid-1980s because physicians and allied professionals had no method of becoming board certified for electrophysiology, and those certifications that did exist, nor was there a way to clearly define the electrophysiological expertise associated with devices This fueled the development of an exam that would exclusively measure the core competency, skills and credibility of health care professionals involved in cardiac pacing and cardioversion defibrillation.

  • What is IBHRE?

    Established in 1985, the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners provides competency certification in the fields of cardiac rhythm device therapy and cardiac electrophysiology. IBHRE offers four certifications; two for physicians and two for allied professionals in the field of cardiac rhythm management. Successful completion of an IBHRE examination certifies that a practitioner has mastered the practical knowledge recommended for optimal patient care and is professionally competent in their respective subspecialty.

  • What is IBHRE certification?

    IBHRE certification is accorded to those physicians and allied professionals who have successfully passed the rigorous IBHRE Exam. Recipients of IBHRE certification are professionally competent, highly respected by peers and other medical professionals, can demonstrate advanced skills in clinical practices and represent a standard of excellence in the arrhythmia community.

  • Who can take the IBHRE examinations?

    The IBHRE exams are designed for: 

    • Physicians (e.g., cardiology, pediatrics, internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, general surgery, thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, and anesthesiology)  
    • Allied professionals (e.g., nurses, physician assistants, EP/lab techs, technologists, engineers) employed in the field of cardiac pacing and/or electrophysiology. 

    Exam Eligibility Policies

  • Why should I take this exam?

    If you are a heart rhythm health care professional in the clinical or industry setting responsible for the management of patients with cardiac rhythm disorders, you should take the IBHRE exam. The exam addresses the knowledge required for physicians and allied professionals tasked with specific technology-based interventions and therapies to patients undergoing invasive and noninvasive diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical procedures in cardiac pacing, defibrillation and electrophysiology. 

  • Is there a specific amount of experience required before one can apply for the exam?

    Yes. IBHRE requires specific education, training or work experience to take the exams. Upon application, all candidates are required to provide current and accurate statistical data regarding their past training and present involvement in the field.

    Exam Eligibility Policies

  • What certification exams are offered?

    Certification Examination for Competency in Cardiac Rhythm Device Therapy for the Physician - this exam is specifically designed for physicians involved in the field of cardiac pacing. Candidates for this certification are typically cardiologists who specialize in device therapy and implant pacemakers and ICDs. While a majority of physicians who pursue this certification are non-EPs (not Board Certified Electrophysiologists), many EPs and EP fellows-in-training also pursue this certification to enhance their credentials and validate their competency in device therapy. 

    Certification Examination for Competency in Cardiac Rhythm Device Therapy for the Allied Professional - this exam consists of the same competency areas as the physician’s exam, but is applied to the role of allied professionals. The exam is geared towards allied professionals who work with devices, predominantly in a follow-up setting, but also in the implant setting. Questions relate to troubleshooting, identification of electrograms and malfunctions of the devices. This examination broadly covers the competencies of cardiac pacing and is not tailored toward any one job responsibility in the field. Nurses, physician assistants, lab technicians, technologists, engineers and scientists involved working in the field of cardiac pacing device management, procedures and follow-ups in the clinical or industry setting pursue this certification.

    Certification Examination for Competency in Cardiac Electrophysiology for Physician - this examination captures the core competencies of electrophysiology as applied to the role of physicians in the clinical setting. Candidates for this certification are typically Physician EPs with active involvement in the clinical management and care of adult or pediatric patients. 

    Certification Examination for Competency in Cardiac Electrophysiology for the Allied Professional - this examination is specifically designed to capture the core competencies of electrophysiology as applied to the role of allied professionals in the clinical setting. Nurses, physician assistants, lab technicians, technologists, engineers and scientists who work with cardiac arrhythmias, ablation and electrophysiologic studies pursue this certification. 

  • What are the designations for those who passed the IBHRE exams?
  • When and where are the exams administered?

    Each IBHRE certification examination is offered annually during a one-day testing window. All IBHRE exams are offered through computer-based testing at Prometric Test Centers throughout North America and internationally. For a list of test center locations, visit www.prometric.com/IBHRE .

  • How long is the exam?

    The Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS) – Physician ; Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS) – Allied Professional ; and Certified Electrophysiology Specialist (CEPS) – Allied Professional exams consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, which are administered over the course of five hours. The exam is broken down into five sections consisting of 40 questions each. Candidates are given 54 minutes to complete each section. During the exam session, candidates are given 15 minutes for an optional tutorial and a total of 15 minutes of optional break time.

    The Certified Electrophysiology Specialist (CEPS) – Physician exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions which will be administered over the course of 4.5 hours. The exam is broken down into four modules with Pediatric EPs taking a specially designed Pediatric section for the fourth module. During the exam session, candidates are given 15 minutes for an optional tutorial and a total of 15 minutes of optional break time.

Applying for the IBHRE Exam

Scheduling An Exam Appointment

  • How do I schedule an appointment to take the exam?

    About 12-15 weeks after the exam registration closes, IBHRE will contact exam candidates via email with instructions on how to schedule an appointment online. Visit the Exam Scheduling section to learn specifics on scheduling an appointment.

  • How do I locate a Prometric Test Center in my area?

    The best way to locate a Prometric Test Center to search for test centers by state/province or countr is to visit:

  • What should I do if there is not a Prometric Test Center in my area or country?

    In some cases, candidates will not have immediate access to a Prometric Test Center. In those situations, some travel may be necessary on the part of the candidate. Be sure to locate your test center before you apply for the exam so you are aware of the travel demands of your preferred test center. Be sure to select a second and third choice test center in case your first choice is unavailable on exam day.

  • What can I do if I am told that there are no seats available at the Prometric Test Center of my choice?

    Exam appointments are given out by Prometric on a first-come-first-serve basis so be sure to schedule your appointment at least thirty (30) days prior to the exam to ensure that you can test at your preferred test center. Test-takers from other organizations may also be attempting to schedule their exams at the same time and location as you, so it is imperative that exam appointments are made as soon as possible. If you are unable to schedule an appointment at any of the test centers in your area, contact the IBHRE Administrative Office immediately for further assistance.

  • Is there a particular start time when I should schedule my exam appointment?

    No. Upon scheduling your appointment with Prometric, you may be presented with the option of selecting your start time in which case you are free to choose whichever start time is most convenient for you. In some cases, your choice of start times may be limited and it may be necessary to accept whichever time is available.

  • When is the last day that I may schedule my exam appointment?

    The final cut-off date to schedule an exam appointment is two business days prior to the exam date, and even then there may be no availability at your preferred testing site. Candidates who attempt to schedule within two days of the exam will not be permitted to schedule an appointment.

    IBHRE strongly recommends that you schedule your exam appointment at least thirty (30) days prior to the exam. After 30 days prior to the exam, IBHRE cannot guarantee that an exam appointment will be available at your preferred testing location(s). You may seek assistance from IBHRE when scheduling an appointment until three weeks prior to the exam. If you do not schedule your appointment within three weeks of the exam, IBHRE cannot guarantee assistance with securing a location and cancellation penalties will be enforced.

  • If I cancel my registration within two weeks prior to the exam can I receive a refund of my exam fees?

    No. If you need to cancel your exam appointment less than two weeks prior to the exam, regardless of reason, you will not receive any refund pursuant to the timeline stipulated in the IBHRE Cancellation and Refund Policy . IBHRE will strive to provide reasonable assistance to any candidate experiencing difficulty with the scheduling process as long as the candidate provides notice of the situation at least two weeks prior to the exam.

Preparing for the IBHRE Exam

  • How much time should I spend preparing for the exam?

    The length of time depends on your budget, schedule, and the urgency you personally feel about passing the exam. Candidates often draw from their previous education and professional experience, IBHRE recommended readings, and the exam content outline to develop their own study plan to prepare for the exam.

  • Is there a prep course for the exam?

    There are currently several exam preparation programs and products that are endorsed by IBHRE. Learn more

  • Are any courses required to take the exam?

    There are no course requirements for taking the exam. You may attend the courses that best meet your own schedule, travel budget and learning development needs.

  • Is there a way that I can become familiar with the computer-based testing software?

    Yes. A free copy of IBHRE Computer-Based Testing Tutorials are available on the IBHRE website for immediate download. These tutorials are designed to orientate candidates to the computer-based testing software and explain key navigation functions. A tutorial will also be available to all candidates during the first 15 minutes of their exam. IBHRE strongly recommends that you take time to review this tutorial before exam day.

Taking the Exam

  • When should I arrive at my test center on exam day?

    You should plan to arrive at your testing center 30 minutes prior to your start time to allow adequate time to be signed in by the Testing Center Administrator. If you are more than 30 minutes late for your appointment, you will not be permitted to test.

  • What should I bring with me to the test center?

    For the Cardiac Device exams for the Physician and Allied Professional, and the Cardiac EP exam for the Allied Professional - Remember to bring your Scheduling Permit and an unexpired Government Issued Photo ID. Check your permit to ensure that the first and last names on your scheduling permit and the first and last names on your ID are the same.* 

    For the Cardiac EP exam for the Physician – An unexpired Government Issued Photo ID is required. Check your appointment confirmation to ensure that the first and last names on your confirmation and the first and last names on your ID are the same.*

    *If the names do not match, you will not be permitted to test. If you find that your names do not match, you must contact IBHRE at least two weeks prior to the exam to obtain a new permit.

    You may bring personal items such as cell phones, purses, and food to the testing center but you may not carry those items into the testing room. The Test Center Administrator will provide you with a locker to store your personal belongings while you are testing. For a complete list of the Prometric Test Center Rules and Regulations, be sure to review the Computer Based testing section of this website. 

  • May I bring scratch paper with me into the testing room?

    No. Any outside paper or writing instrument is strictly forbidden in the testing room. You may request a laminated sheet and dry erase marker from the Test Center Administrator. If you have to leave the testing room for any reason, you must return the laminated sheet to the Test Center Administrator before exiting.

  • Will I need to bring my own calculator and caliper to the exam?

    No. The testing software for the Allied EP exam and Allied and Physician Device exam is equipped with electronic calculators and calipers which you may use throughout the exam. You can practice using these functions by downloading the IBHRE Computer-Based Testing Tutorial prior to the exam.

    The Physician EP Exam testing software is equipped with electronic calculators, but caliper software has not been integrated into the Physician EP exam and no calipers are allowed in the testing site. To measure intervals, test takers may utilize scratch paper and writing instruments, which are provided by Prometric staff upon request.

  • May I bring earplugs with me to the testing center to block out typing noises?

    Yes. You may bring soft earplugs to use during the exam. The Test Center Administrator must inspect earplugs before you enter the testing room. You may also request noise-blocking headphones at the testing site.

  • May I bring a magnifying glass with me to see exam questions better?

    Candidates should seek prior approval from IBHRE to use a magnifying glass during the exam. The Test Center Administrator will permit candidates with prior approval to bring their own magnifying glass into the testing room upon inspection.

  • When will my exam session officially begin?

    As soon as the Test Center Administrator signs you into your computer using the Candidate Identification Number (CIN) located at the bottom of your permit, your exam will officially begin.

  • How is the exam structured?

    For the Cardiac Device exams for the Physician and Allied Professional, and the Cardiac EP exam for the Allied Professional -After an optional 15-minute tutorial, your exam will begin. The exam consists of 200 questions. You will be presented these questions in five blocks of 40. You will have 54 minutes to complete each block. At the end of each block, you will be given the option of continuing to the next block or taking a scheduled break. You will have a total of 15 minutes of scheduled break time for the entire exam.

    For the Cardiac EP exam for the Physician – After an optional 15-minute tutorial, your exam will begin. The Physician EP exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions which will be administered over the course of 4.5 hours. The exam is broken down into four modules with Pediatric EPs taking a specially designed Pediatric section for the fourth module. During the exam session, candidates are given 15 minutes for an optional tutorial and a total of 15 minutes of optional break time.

  • How will I know how much time I have left during my exam?

    The testing software is equipped with two timers located in the top left-hand corner of the computer screen. The “Day Remaining” timer tracks the amount of time you have left in your exam session. The “Block Remaining” timer tracks the amount of time you have left in your current exam block.

    The “Block Remaining” timer is always set for 54 minutes at the beginning of each block, regardless of how much time is available on the “Day Remaining” timer. The “Day Remaining” timer will continue to run, even during scheduled breaks. If you take more than your allotted break time, the “Day Remaining” timer may run out and close down your exam before you have a chance to complete the final test block. Be sure to pace yourself carefully to ensure that you have adequate time to complete all of the questions.

  • How is break time administered?

    At the completion of each exam section, you will be prompted to take either a scheduled break or move on to the next test block. If you choose to take a break, you will be responsible for keeping track of your own break time. You will have a total of 15 minutes of break time for the entire exam. If you finish your tutorial early, the remaining time may be applied to scheduled breaks as well. IBHRE strongly recommends that you use care not to exceed the 15 minutes allotted break time to ensure that you have adequate time available to complete the exam.

  • May I take a break during a test block?

    Yes. A break taken while a test block is still open is called an ‘unauthorized break’. While you are allowed to take unauthorized break time, it is not recommended. Be aware that if you use unauthorized break time, the break time will be deducted directly from your testing time and you will run a risk of not being able to answer all of the questions in the block before time runs out.

  • What will happen when I have completed the exam?

    Once you have answered all of the questions, you will have the option of taking an exit survey. This survey provides IBHRE with valuable feedback that helps us further develop and improve our examination process. After you have finished the survey, you will receive a printout from the test center indicating that you completed the exam. Once you receive your printout you may leave the test center. Before exiting the testing room, be sure to return any laminated paper or dry erase markers you may have been given to the Test Center Administrator.

  • If I have a question about the exam, will the Test Center Administrator be able to help me?

    Maybe. Test Center Administrators are employed by Prometric to check-in candidates, sign them into their exams, monitor the exam room for irregularities and cheating behavior, address technical issues, and submit problem reports if necessary. Prometric employees are not equipped with substantive information about the IBHRE exam or the IBHRE certification process and may not be able to answer every question you may have on exam day. If there is a question that a Test Center Administrator cannot answer, please contact IBHRE at 202-464-3414.

  • What should I do if I experience technical difficulties during my exam?

    Be sure to report any technical or environmental issues that you experience to your Test Center Administrator. They will be responsible for filing a problem report on your behalf. Problem reports are submitted to those responsible for scoring the exams for consideration. In addition, IBHRE reviews all problem reports to identify any recurring issues that may need to be addressed.

  • Who should I call if I have complaints about my exam experience?

    If you have any questions, concerns or complaints regarding your exam experience you must contact IBHRE by phone at 202-464-3414 or e-mail at info@ibhre.org within one week (7 days) of the exam to be given due consideration. IBHRE will investigate any complaints received and will provide a prompt response.

    Download the IBHRE Complaint Form

International Alliances

  • Why does IBHRE want to expand internationally?

    As a global leader in cardiac rhythm device therapy and electrophysiology certification, IBHRE is pursuing international partnerships to maintain a diverse and high level of expertise among cardiac care professionals worldwide and advance the heart rhythm profession by meeting the specific credentialing needs of other health care systems. It is the vision of IBHRE to work towards a global standardization of cardiac rhythm management by establishing a measure of competence among health care professionals in order to provide an acceptable level of care for the arrhythmia patient.

  • How is IBHRE seeking to standardize knowledge for international physicians?

    IBHRE’s Physician EP exam is designed specifically to help standardize knowledge for international and pediatric physicians who are qualified by their training or experience to take such an exam, but are not board eligible for the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) exam in electrophysiology. ABIM requires that the physician must be U.S. Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine. Many physicians in the U.S. have received a portion or all of their training outside the U.S. and are therefore not eligible for the ABIM exam. Additionally, many physicians in countries such as Canada, Australia, China, India, Japan, and the Middle East would like to be Board Certified in EP, but do not meet the U.S. requirements. Pediatric electrophysiologists in the U.S. have no route to EP board certification beyond the Pediatric Cardiology Sub-Board examination of the American Board of Pediatrics. IBHRE developed the Physician EP exam specifically to fill this gap of knowledge in EP certification.

  • What makes IBHRE a qualified international partner?

    Over the last 15 years, IBHRE has seen the number and diversity of its international certified professionals increase exponentially, with certification recipients from more than 45 countries (see statistical data here). IBHRE is well positioned to assist countries with the development of pacing and EP certification programs to standardize optimal health care practices, safeguard patient care and certify knowledge. IBHRE already has a track-record of cooperative partnerships with international organizations, most notably the Japanese Heart Rhythm Society.

  • Why was a specialized Japanese exam created for Allied Professionals that differs from the traditional IBHRE exam?

    The Japanese Ministry of Health stipulated that all professionals in the medical device industry who have direct contact with cardiac patients must be nationally certified, yet there was no certification mechanism in place. Traditionally, IBHRE addresses the needs of Western cardiac rhythm management standards, but the IBHRE representatives stepped in to help create a specifically tailored examination to meet the Japanese Ministry of Health’s requirements. The IBHRE exam that was created was then translated into Japanese, customized and administered to Japanese allied professionals by computer-based testing. The questions on this exam are extracted from the same pool of questions used in the English version of the exam except for those that do not apply to Japanese health care practices.

  • How does IBHRE navigate differences in the needs of various health care systems in pursuit of a global standard of knowledge?

    IBHRE understands that different health care systems have different standards, certification requirements, and needs. Therefore, IBHRE is committed to tailoring examinations to national health care systems’ needs while maintaining an international standard of excellence among cardiac rhythm management professionals. International applicants can elect to take any of IBHRE’s given exams or have their organizations partner with IBHRE to tailor and deliver the exam in their preferred language. Additionally, given international variations in training and educational requirements, IBHRE evaluates qualification criteria for its exams on a country-by-country basis to make sure that those who have the training and expertise can also have the certification.

  • How can I learn more about the advantages of international partnerships and opportunities with IBHRE?

    Please contact Tracy Lofty, Executive Director of IBHRE who would be happy to explore the option further at info@ibhre.org .

Exam Scoring

  • How long do I have to wait to receive my exam score?

    Scores are usually available within 8-10 weeks of the exam. Once the scores have been submitted to IBHRE by the psychometrician, the names of those who passed the exam will be posted to the web site and candidates will be notified via email accordingly. In addition, those who passed will receive an official results packet in the mail shortly thereafter.

  • What score is required to pass?

    Because the overall difficulty of the test varies slightly from year to year, total scores are equated so that a score of "500" on one exam represents the same level of proficiency as a score of "500" on a previous test form. The number of correct answers required to pass is not reported because it varies slightly from administration to administration, year to year (and from each form).

  • What is the pass/fail rate?

    Content experts review a variety of statistical analyses before setting a pass/fail standard. The equating procedure allows IBHRE to require the same level of proficiency across years and this means that the pass/failure rates vary somewhat across administrations. You may refer to the statistics page for more information.

  • What happens if I pass the exam?

    Upon passing the exam, you will be considered IBHRE certified in the field pertaining to your exam for a total of ten years. You will receive a certificate confirming this accomplishment and your name will be added to the IBHRE website.

    Once you achieve IBHRE certification, you may experience one of many benefits such as:

    • Recognition from your peers as a highly qualified physician or allied professional within the heart rhythm management field 
    • Qualification for advancement in your current position 
    • Competitive advantage for jobs that may require IBHRE certification 
    • Validation that you have acquired knowledge essential to the practice of heart rhythm management. 
  • What will happen if I do not pass the exam?

    If you do not pass the exam, you will receive a score report that provides key-word feedback pertaining to the areas of the exam where you did not perform well. This report is intended to help candidates identify areas that may require additional study. 

    Candidates who do not pass the exam are greatly encouraged to take the exam again. There is no limit on the number of times a candidate may re-take an examination.

  • What can I do if I am not satisfied with my score?

    Candidates who are not satisfied with their exam result may request to have their exam re-scored for a $75 fee. Requests for a re-score must be submitted in writing and accompanied by payment. Re-score requests may take as many as thirty (30) days to furnish a response. The result of an exam re-score is considered final and may not be appealed for a second time.

  • Are CME credits offered after IBHRE certification is achieved?

    Continuing Medical Education credits are not offered for passing the exam.

IBHRE Physician EP Exam

Recertification/Verification of Continuing Education

  • What is the duration of my IBHRE certification?

    Currently, IBHRE certification is valid for 10 years. The year of expiration is located on the candidate’s certificate. All certified professionals must meet requirements for recertification  by December 31 of their recertification year to renew their certification by reexamination. Certified professionals who do not recertify will lose their IBHRE credential. Certification validity periods are subject to change at the discretion of IBHRE.

  • How do I maintain my IBHRE certification?

    Five (5) years after passing the exam, certified professionals must attest to having completed 45 contact hours of professional development activities that are applicable to their IBHRE certification. Verification of continuing education  (VCE) criteria are subject to change. As of 2010, all IBHRE certified professionals are required to file a Verification of Continuing Education form and pay a processing fee by December 1 of their fifth year of certification in order to maintain their credential. Those who do not meet VCE are noted on their recipients listing with an asterisk (*) as "Certified - VCE noncompliant."

  • How do I recertify my IBHRE credential?

    Ten (10) years after passing the exam, certified professionals must re-certify by re-examination . Certified professionals must also attest that they are currently active and involved in the field of cardiac rhythm management and that they remain in good standing within the medical community. Candidates who do not meet these requirements will lapse in their certification. (Effective January 1, 2010) 

Achieving Global Excellence in Heart Rhythm Management

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