Clinical Lab Scientist Certification

Medical technologist training is not complete without passing the certification exam. Medical technologists nationwide are required to pass a national board exam administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Recently there was a merger between two different accrediting bodies; the ASCP and the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCALP). The education required to sit for either certification exam was the same; a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or another science related major. The only difference was that someone who sat for the ASCP exam would earn the credentials “MT” for Medical Technologist and those who sat for the NCALP would earn the CLS credentials for Clinical Laboratory Scientist. Following the merger the credentials a person who passes the exam now earns are Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS).

In order to sit for the ASCP certification exam a person must have graduated from an accredited bachelor’s degree program in
The cumulative exam is computer-based and includes all multiple-choice questions. Each question is weighed in terms of difficulty so if a person continues to answer questions correctly, the test then provides more difficult questions which lessens the total number of questions one has to answer. The test includes different sections related to the different fields of study in a medical technology degree program. Sections tested include: hematology, coagulation, immunology, immunohematology, chemistry and microbiology. Tests are offered at a variety of testing centers at different times based on the location of choice.

Is state licensure required in this field?

To practice anywhere in the United States, medical technologists must be certified through the American Society for Clinical Pathology. However, only a handful of states additionally require state licensure to practice; California and New York being two of them. For the states that require a licensure to practice as a medical technologist, typically an exam must be passed that is specific to the scope of practice in that state.

What are the continuing education requirements for medical technologists?

The American Society of Clinical Pathology requires 30 continuing education units every three years in order for medical technologists to maintain their credential. Oftentimes these credits can be earned through ones employer without charge, and there are also seminars and a plethora of other opportunities for continuing education.

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