About the Program

About the Program

When Will the Next Examination be Administered?

The next exam will be held before the opening of CISTM15 in Barcelona on 14 May 2017.


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What is the ISTM Certificate of Knowledge?

The Certificate recognizes individual excellence in knowledge in the field of travel medicine, associated with pre-travel care and consultation. It is the first step in the ISTM Travel Medicine Continuous Professional Development Program. The exam focuses specifically on the level of knowledge that is necessary to practice travel medicine. Knowledge of specific tropical diseases and treatments will be limited to that which should be known to advise travellers (for example, in the diagnosis and treatment of traveller's diarrhea or rabies immunoprophylaxis), including post-travel triage of travellers and post-travel screening. Knowledge of tropical medicine is not required.

Developed by an international panel of travel medicine experts representing a variety of professional disciplines, the Certificate will be awarded to eligible professionals who pass the Certificate of Knowledge Examination. The Certificate is a symbol of your achievement in the field - proof of your commitment to excellence. Those passing the examination will receive a Certificate of Knowledge and will be granted a "Certificate in Travel Health™" or "CTH©" that must be maintained every ten years to remain active. ISTM members who have been awarded and maintain the Certificate will also be recognized in the ISTM Directory of Travel Medicine Providers and within the Travel Clinic section of the ISTM website.


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What are the Purposes of the Program?

The ISTM Certificate of Knowledge Program was created to:

  • Establish an international standard for travel medicine practitioners
  • Encourage individual and global professional development in the area of travel medicine
  • Formally recognize individuals who pass the Certificate of Knowledge Examination
  • Serve the public by promoting quality travel medicine services
  • Demonstrate the global validity of epidemiological data and of preventive strategies

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Why has the ISTM developed a Travel Medicine Continuing Professional Development Program?

The practice of travel medicine is an ever changing environment. To keep current with recent developments, along with new treatments and new challenges, travel medicine professionals must take active steps to remain current in their knowledge and practices. The new ISTM Program will now reward those practitioners who participate in activities to keep up to date with the most recent developments in the field. This process will provide greater confidence to the public and patients we treat, and enable the CTH© holders demonstrate to compliance authorities that the credential is relevant. Additionally, these activities will enhance and elevate the practice of travel medicine around the world.


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How does one renew their certificate?

There are two options to maintain an active CTH©:

  1. Earning a specific number of credits through the professional development activities in which most travel medicine practitioners already participate. The following activities will be included in this option:
    • Educational Events
      • In-Person: Local, State, Regional, National, International
        • Conferences, courses, lectures, short courses
      • Distance Learning Interactive Webinars and Webcasts
      • Enduring Materials within Peer-reviewed Journals or Online
    • Completing Academic Coursework within Schools of Higher Learning
    • Treating Patients/Practicing Travel Medicine
    • Teaching, Lecturing, Speaking, including Invited Conferences, University Lecturing, Internal Teaching (e.g. Grand Rounds), Presenting Posters
    • Publishing, including Authoring, Peer-reviewing, and Serving on an Editorial Board
    • Committee/Volunteer Activities, including serving as a Volunteer or Committee Member with a Travel Medicine Society or in a Travel Medicine Related Activity in a Non-Travel Medicine Society
    • Clinical Supervision of Health Care Professionals and/or Students and Trainees
    • Peer Review/Practice Audits
    • Serving as a Subject Matter Expert, including Expert Witnesses, Governmental & Supragovernmental Advisory Committees (National, Regional, Local, International), Consulting Activities
  2. The second option is to retake the CTH© Examination

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ISTM CTH© Renewal Program Sample Scenarios

There are many options and combination of activities available to accrue the number of points required for renewing the certificate. The following sample scenarios have been developed to illustrate just a few of these options.

Scenario 1
In 10 years:

Attends 2 CISTM or RCISTM 100 points
Attends 2 additional meetings
Not international
20 points
Attends 20 lectures 20 points
Participates in/takes 5 online,
telephonic or other classes
5 points
Sees patients for 60 days 60 points
Reads 20 articles 20 points
Volunteer 2 points
Consultant 2 points

Scenario 2
In 10 years:

Attends 3 CISTM or RCISTM 150 points
Attends 2 days of CE
Not International
16 points
Reads 19 articles 19 points
Consultant 3 points
Contributing Author for 2 Articles 12 points

Scenario 3
In 10 years:

Attend 1 CISTM or RCISTM 50 points
Attend 8 Days of CE
Not international
64 points
Read 26 Articles 26 points
See patients for 60 Days 60 points

Scenario 4
In 10 years:

Attend 10 Days of CE
Not international
80 points
Participate in 10 webinars 1 hour 10 points
Take 20 1 hour online seminars 20 points
Read 30 articles 30 points
Contributing Author for 4 articles
In a peer-reviewed journal
24 points
5 years as committee member 5 points
Present 2 posters 6 points
Journal Reviewer for 5 years 25 points

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I received by CTH© Certificate before the 2011 examination, will I have to participate?

No. The Travel Medicine Continuing Professional Development Program becomes effective with those achieving the CTH® by successfully negotiating the 2011 examination. Those who were awarded certificates before 2011 are not affected by the new program. The ISTM supports professional development activities for travel medicine practitioners to remain current in the field. CTH© holders who received their certificates before 2011 are encouraged (and not mandated) to consider participating during or prior to 2018 on a voluntary basis. Those who choose to participate will be recognized as such.


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Who is Eligible to Take the Exam?

The ISTM welcomes applications from all qualified professionals who provide travel medicine-related services on a full- or part-time basis. The exam is open to all licensed travel medicine professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others. Both ISTM members and non-members are eligible to participate.


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What Topics are Covered on the Exam?

The 200-multiple choice exam is designed to reflect the reality of day-to-day pre-travel practice. It covers six key areas based on the ISTM Body of Knowledge:

  • Epidemiology of travel-related problems
    • Common and important diseases acquired during travel and their prevention
    • Other conditions associated with travel
  • Pre-travel consultation and management
  • Products used in travel medicine
    • Vaccines
    • Drugs
    • Other
  • Preventive strategies (where there is global consensus)
  • Appropriate post-travel triage
  • General travel health issues

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How Do I Prepare for the Exam?

The Body of Knowledge, upon which the exam is based, has been published for review purposes. A number of travel medicine conferences and courses are listed as means of review, as well. The ISTM has Mock Tests available in our Online Learning Program for candidates to use for practice and study. Sample questions are also available in the Candidate Bulletin to give test-takers an idea of the types of questions that will appear on the exam.


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How Can I Get More Information?

You can contact ISTM for answers to specific questions you may have about the Certificate of Knowledge Examination and Program. Please email your questions to ISTM@ISTM.org.

A Candidate Bulletin will be available soon. This useful publication contains:

  • the test date and location
  • the cost of the exam
  • test administration procedures
  • steps to follow if you wish to apply for the certificate
  • a description of how the exam was developed
  • sample questions to familiarize yourself with the types of questions that will appear on the exam

The ISTM Certificate of Knowledge is voluntary and is not meant to limit or restrict, in any way, the professional activities of travel medicine practitioners. Nor is the certificate intended to be a substitute or replacement for credentials offered by national societies or other organizations.