How to Become an Infection Control Nurse: Salary, Job Description, Jobs

iStock_000021289943XSmall1Infection control nurses help prevent infections in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Also known as infection prevention nurses, this specially-trained nurse instructs other staff members on proper sanitation methods and procedures and may study patients’ bacterial infections to determine if the patients acquired the infections as the result of healthcare. An infection control nurse may report infections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Table of Contents
How to Become an Infection Control Nurse
Education Requirements
Infection Control Nurse Job Description
Personality Traits
Career Options
Infection Control Nurse Certification
Professional Organizations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specific to infection control nurses but the website does offer an overview of registered nurses.

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

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Source: BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation. * or ** indicate insignificant or unavailable data.

Level of Education Required    Associate degree or Bachelor Degree in Nursing
Board Examinations needed    NCLEX-RN, RN-BC
Average Salary $66,220
# of Jobs (2012) 2,712,000
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 19% growth

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to become an infection control nurse

To become an infection control nurse, the candidate:

  • Must have an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • May pursue additional education
  • May pursue voluntary certification from the Certified Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.

Education requirements

Anyone who desires a career as an infection control nurse must first earn an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Infection control nurse hopefuls will already have graduated nursing school and passed board examinations, and already be a registered nurse. RNs interested in working in infection may take advanced courses in infection control, bacteriology and epidemiology.

Wilkes RN to MS


Job description

An infection control nurse focuses on identifying, controlling and preventing outbreaks of infection in healthcare settings, in patient homes and in the community. These nurses collect and analyze infection control data, and plan, implement and evaluate infection prevention and control measures. Additionally, infection control nurses provide education about infection risk, prevention and control.

Nurses working in infection control participate in the development and revision of infection control policies and procedures, as well as investigate suspected outbreaks of infections within healthcare institutions and the community. Infection control nurses may also act as consultants on the development or revision of infection risk assessment, prevention and control strategies.

Personality traits:

  • Analytical
  • Research oriented
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Managerial

Infection control nurses report to administrators.

Career options

Typical workplaces for an infection control nurse include:

  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Ambulatory care centers
  • Patient homes
  • Hospice centers
  • Public health
  • Behavioral health settings
  • Emergency preparedness organizations

The job outlook for infection control nurses is very good. An increasing number of hospitals, clinics and long-term facilities struggle to contain healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, which puts patients at risk for developing infections. Infection control nurses will be on the forefront of fighting other infectious diseases, such as Ebola and MRSA, which currently affect people living in the United States and traveling to it.

Certification information

Nurses working in infection control may earn certification to indicate special competency in infection prevention and control. In order to qualify for computer-based testing for certification, a candidate must be currently working in a healthcare setting in a role where infection prevention and control is a primary responsibility. The candidate must be a licensed or certified healthcare professional in good standing.

To become certified, the candidate must demonstrate sufficient experience in infection prevention and control, including the collection, analysis and interpretation of infection prevention outcome data, investigation and surveillance of suspected outbreaks.

The applicant must also engage in at least three other infection control and prevention activities, such as the planning, implementation and evaluation of infection prevention and control measures, educating others about infection control and prevention, and development or revision of policies and procedures regarding infection prevention and control.

Certification must be renewed every five years.

Professional organizations

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology: