The Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), a professional membership group of the American Hospital Association, expects 700 environmental services technicians to complete the Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician (CHEST) program by the end of this year. So far, 500 environmental services personnel have received their certifications.

AHE launched the program in August 2015 with a pilot run at Nevada-based Renown Health. The certification is designed specifically for front-line technicians, training them in infection prevention; cleaning and disinfecting; communications; safety; waste management; linen handling; and floor care. Renown Health has certified 72 of its technicians, and other hospitals are following suit.

St. Joseph's Hospital-North in Lutz, Fla., has certified 15 supervisors and 20 team members through the CHEST program. Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., plans to certify all 575 of its environmental services specialists. To date, 18 of its team members have gone through the program.

“We are creating a career ladder for [environmental services personnel], and have seen a tremendous amount of excitement and satisfaction with the certification process that is passed on to our patients,” says Erik Nowak, Geisinger’s senior director of environmental services and surgical cleaning services. “[CHEST] helps us to recognize the best of the best and ensures that they are recognized for their hard work.”

Read more about the program from the American Hospital Association.