ASCP Certification Requirements and Information

An ASCP certification is generally a professional credential for pathologist's assistants, laboratory technicians and technologists. Continue reading for an overview of the qualifications for certification, as well as job growth and salary info for a few career options for certified professionals.

Essential Information

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers over 20 professional certifications for pathologist's assistants, laboratory technicians and technologists. In California and New York, ASCP certification qualifies some technicians and technologists for state licensure. Certification shows prospective employers that individuals have the knowledge and experience to safely work in a laboratory setting. Most ASCP certifications require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, however some technicians require a minimum of a high school diploma. The certification requirements vary by category, but all include a combination of education, training and experience. ASCP certification remains valid for three years and maintenance requirements vary for different certifications, however all require a minimum number of continuing education and practice hours.

Education High school diploma; bachelor's degree; graduate degree
Experience At least 6 months in a medical lab
Specialization Technician; technologist; specialist; diplomate; international
Median Salary (2014)* $38,370 for medical and clinical lab technicians; $59,430 for medical and clinical lab technologists
Exam Requirements Fee; successfully complete certification every 3 years

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

ASCP Certification Requirements

The ASCP Board of Certification offers technician, technologist, specialist, diplomate and international professional certifications for laboratory professionals and pathology assistants. Requirements for certification vary by category. Although some technician candidates may have a minimum of a high school diploma, most ASCP certifications require candidates to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and six months of experience in a medical laboratory. Additionally, fees are required to take certification exams.

After successfully passing an exam, ASCP certification remains valid for three years. Certification maintenance requirements vary by certification type, but all require a minimum number of continuing education and a minimum number of practice hours.

Technician Certification

Technician certification options include phlebotomy technician, histotechnician, medical laboratory technician and donor phlebotomy technician. Phlebotomy technician certification requires a minimum of a high school diploma and a phlebotomy training course. Other technician certifications require a minimum of 60 postsecondary education credits, or the completion of an associate's degree, including coursework in chemistry and biology.

Technologist Certification

Technologist certification specialties include molecular biology, medical laboratory scientist, histotechnologist, blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, cytotechnologist and cytogenetics. To qualify for these certifications, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in chemistry or biology coupled with clinical laboratory experience.

Specialist Certification

Specialist certification options include pathologist's assistant, laboratory safety, blood banking, chemistry, microbiology, hematology and cytotechnology. These certifications can be obtained by achieving a minimum of a bachelor's degree in combination with other certifications, or holding a graduate degree in conjunction with clinical laboratory experience.

Diplomate Certification

The diplomate in laboratory management certification is for those with experience in all aspects of laboratory management, including finance, human resources, operations and marketing. Diplomate eligibility requirements include a combination of a postsecondary degree with laboratory management experience. The minimum qualification is a bachelor's degree with four years of experience and multiple laboratory certifications. A graduate degree is preferred.

International Certification

International certification from ASCP offers credentials to laboratory professionals regardless of an applicant's physical location in the world. The certification options include international designations as a medical technologist, phlebotomy technician, technologist in molecular biology, medical laboratory technician and technologist in gynecologic cytology. The certification options vary based on regional location.

ASCP Information

The American Society for Clinical Pathology provides both education and certification opportunities for pathologists and laboratory professionals. ASCP also serves as membership organization with more than 130,000 members. To become a member one must be a pathologist, pathologist's assistant or a laboratory professional. Annual dues are required for membership.

Although ASCP only certifies laboratory professionals, it also provides continuing education programs for pathologists, physicians and other non-laboratory medical professionals. Pathologists, who are medical doctors certified by the Board of Pathology (BOP), may complete ASCP's maintenance of certification program to keep their BOP certification valid.

ASCP has offices in Chicago, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. The Chicago office is the organization's main headquarters and the Washington D.C. office serves as the advocacy headquarters. ASCP is also a major publisher of pathology media, including the American Journal of Clinical Pathology.

Career and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for medical and clinical laboratory technicians are predicted to increase 30% from 2012-2022, while jobs for medical and clinical laboratory technologists are predicted to increase 14% during that same decade (www.bls.gov). The agency also reported that in 2014, technicians in this field earned a median salary of $38,370, and technologists in this field earned a median salary of $59,430.

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