What was the catalyst for unification?
A recognition of two key points:
- Competition and division among laboratory organizations results in decreased ability to achieve change that will benefit the profession.
- Our best chance of being able to resolve critical professional problems is to look for ways to collaborate with each other for our common interests.
What are the benefits of the unified certification agency?
- agreement within the profession on a standard for entry-level competency that will advance patient safety;
- credibility and recognition of the credentials by other healthcare professionals and the public;
- allows pooling of professional volunteer resources to work together on critical issues for the future of the profession ;
- eliminates confusion of having competing organizations;
- decreased costs to students who are taking two exams;
- decreased costs to programs (i.e., only one performance report);
- consensus on entry level standards;
- employers can be assured anyone possessing the unified credential will have met the same standards and criteria for entry level into the profession;
- easier to standardize salaries and job descriptions; and
- Unity within the professions will increase recognition to other healthcare professionals and the public; will demonstrate qualifications working for the benefit of the public health; and will increase credibility by speaking with a unified voice.
Who will make up the BOC Board of Governors?
- Four ASCLS representatives
- Two AGT representatives
- ASCLS and AGT representatives on the BOC Executive Committee
- Governor's seats and proportions for ASCLS and AGT remain the same if the composition of the new Board changes.
What will happen to the NCA?
- The ASCP BOR and NCA are consolidating all existing credentialing activities based on the reconfigured governance
- NCA bylaws require dissolution as a corporation, allowing ASCLS and AGT to appoint board representatives to, and officially participate in, a new credentialing body
- NCA will cease certification activities on an agreed upon date, and then begin to shut down all administrative activities
What will the new credentials look like?
- The "ASCP" suffix will attach to each certification designation offered by the Board of Certification.
- Baccalaureate-level certification designations Medical Technologist (MT) and Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) will be replaced by "Medical Laboratory Scientist" or MLS(ASCP).
- Associate-level certification designations are "Medical Laboratory Technician" or MLT(ASCP).
- Cytogenetics certification designation will be "Technologist in Cytogenetics" or CG(ASCP).
- The molecular examination committee will be evaluating merging of the NCA molecular biology certification with the ASCP molecular pathology certification, with the designation MB(ASCP).
- The newly-designated credentials of MLS(ASCP)CM or MLT(ASCP)CM will be conferred at the time of mandatory or voluntary recertification for the current certification designation of CLS/MT and CLT/MLT.
Will my credential with the BOR or NCA still be valid?
If you hold an active and current credential with either organization, that credential will be transferred to the Board of Certification without having to take an examination, even if that exam is no longer being offered. As individuals meet mandatory or voluntary recertification requirements, their credentials will be transferred to the new Board of Certification references regardless of whether they were certified initially by NCA or ASCP BOR.
All categorical examination committees of the BOC will hybridize examination content from NCA and ASCP BOR examinations. BOC will offer an examination to support a certification program for a Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Sciences (DCLS)
What if I am due to recertify this year?
Recertify on schedule. By maintaining your active credential, you will ensure the transfer of your credential to the Board of Certification
I am NCA certified but didn't recertify. Will I be certified by the new agency?
Everyone should maintain current status. Only those who hold a current certification will be transferred to the Board of Certification.
Can I get a credential from the Board of Certification without taking an examination?
If you are not currently certified with BOR or NCA you cannot get a credential without taking an examination. This would be a violation of the certification board's accreditation.
Do I need to take both exams?
You can still register to take NCA examinations up until Aug. 21, 2009. After that date, there will be only one combined agency offering examinations.
--American Society for Clinical Pathology
(Editor's Note: To get your individual questions answered, please contact NCA at NCAfirstname.lastname@example.org.)