College of American Pathologists
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What ASCP’s Certification Maintenance Program means for you

May 2004

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
  • Histotechnologist
  • Medical technologist
  • Technologist in blood banking
  • Technologist in hematology
  • Technologist in molecular pathology
  • Cytotechnologist
  • Histotechnician
  • 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 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.