What ASCP’s Certification Maintenance Program means for you
Barbara D. Benstein, PhD, SCT(ASCP)
Kory Ward-Cook, PhD, MT(ASCP), CAE
The American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Registry launched its
new Certification Maintenance Program for laboratory professionals in January
of this year. Participation in the program is required for individuals certified
starting Jan. 1, 2004 in the following categories:
- Apheresis technician
- Donor phlebotomy technician
- Medical technologist
- Technologist in blood banking
- Technologist in hematology
- Technologist in molecular pathology
- Medical laboratory technician
- Phlebotomy technician
- Technologist in chemistry
- Technologist in microbiology
The Certification Maintenance Program requires 36 points (credit hours) of
documented continuing competency activities every three years for all categories
except phlebotomy technician, which requires nine points (hours) in the three-year
period. Certificates in the preceding categories issued after January 2004 will
be time-limited for three years. Before the three-year period has expired, certificants
will need to submit an affidavit of activities with the required fee to the
Board of Registry office to receive a new certificate valid for an additional
three years. A percentage of affidavits will be audited, in which case individuals
will be required to submit documentation of their completed activities. Medical
technologists and medical laboratory technicians will be required to accumulate
a minimum of two points each in blood banking, chemistry, hematology,
immunology, and microbiology during the three-year period. A minimum of one
point in safety is required for all categories of certification. The
remaining points may be in the area of laboratory specialty, management, or
education, or a combination. For more specific information on the types of activities
and points awarded, log on to ASCP's Web site at www.ascp.org.
Click on certification and Board of Registry to find this information as well
as updates on the program.
This is not required of those certified before Jan. 1, 2004, but individuals
are encouraged to participate in the Certification Maintenance Program voluntarily.
Those who successfully complete the program will receive a new certificate and
an additional designation "CM" in superscript as part of their certification
designation. For example, a cytotechnologist who successfully finishes the program
can use the designation CT(ASCP)CM after his or her name.
The program was implemented to demonstrate the Board of Registry’s commitment to improving the certification process and ensuring the continued competence of medical laboratory personnel. It is designed to meet the requirements of regulatory agencies and the expectations of the public in the interest of safety.
Dr. Benstein, a cytotechnologist consultant to the CAP Cytopathology Committee,
is a professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and program
director for the cytotechnology program at the University of Tennessee Health
Science Center, Memphis. Dr. Ward-Cook is executive director of the ASCP Board
of Registry and senior vice president of the ASCP.