It’s likely to be a welcome development for Medical Technologists (MTs) and Clinical Laboratory Scientists (CLSs). Two credentialing bodies that certify medical technologists and laboratory scientists have agreed to unite. The American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Registry (ASCP-BOR) in Chicago, Illinois, and The National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) in Lenexa, Kansas, announced a letter of intent last week to form a unified credentialing agency.

Cynthia S. Johns MSA, MT(ASCP) SHCM, the Chair of the Board of Governors of the ASCP-Board of Registry, explained “the main benefit of the agreement is to create a single major certification organization for new individuals coming into the profession. In other words, this is good news for students, employers, and for the profession at large”. Technologists/technicians or clinical laboratory scientists who are currently certified will not be affected. “No one will need to recertify,” says Johns. As for how soon this will occur, “the precise timeline will be determined by the parties involved; however, our goal is to realize this unification as soon as possible.”

“The goal is simplification,” explained Elissa Passiment, CLS, Executive Vice President for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, in Bethesda, Maryland. “Currently, a laboratorian can hold certification as either a Medical Technologist (MT/CP) or Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS/NCA)—and it is possible that he or she could be certified by both agencies. For students and employers, this can sometimes cause confusion as to which credential is ‘best.’ This unification would simplify credentialing and create single path for laboratorians. This move also reflects, in part, the globalization of healthcare.”

In the letter of intent, the ASCP, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) , and the Association of Genetic Technologists (AGT) of Lenaxa, Kansas, said they reached an agreement to form a unified certification organization for credentialing. “The next step is to work on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) so that these organizations can formally unite,” Passiment said. “When that happens, NCA will go away and the certification activities will be consolidated under reorganized governance. This new governance will represent both Medical Technologists (MTs) and Clinical Laboratory Scientists (CLSs).”

The parties are now developing an agreement on: 1) the details of governance; 2) how the proposed single certification agency will handle the credentials of currently certified individuals; and, 3) what processes will be established to accommodate both re-certification and new applicants. In the interim, it will be business as usual for both ASCP-BOR and the NCA.

Unification will benefit educational program directors; student applicants from institutions accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) in Chicago and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in Clearwater, Florida; and other eligible individuals who receive on-the-job laboratory training.

Unification of the MT/CLS certification process is likely to be a welcome development across the laboratory profession. It is also in keeping with the well-established trend of consolidation and integration in healthcare and the laboratory industry. Further, the convergence of laboratory operations across the globe is likely to be a factor in the decision of these certification bodies to streamline and unify the credentialing process in this country. Today there are efforts to align regulatory requirements in North America and Europe for laboratory analyzers, systems, and reagents. Similarly, certification agencies for laboratory professionals are recognizing that there will be both a need and a demand for professional certification programs that can be readily accepted by more than one country.

For More Information:
Major Laboratory Certification Agencies Reach Agreement to Unite