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Biology degree to MLT or MT

  • 1.  Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 02-22-2017 11:43
    Hello colleagues

    How can a person with a B.S. in biology can work as MLT or MT? Can they take the specialty ASCP exam and work in that area (e.g. microbiology, hematology, etc.) without any formal training? In general what are the options? 

    Thank you

    Saeid Ghazizadeh, MS MT (ASCP)
    Director of Medical Laboratory Technician program
    Baker College of Allen Park
    4500 Enterprise Drive
    Allen Park Mi 48187
    Main:(313) 425-3800, Direct: (313) 425-3862, Fax: (313) 425-3777


  • 2.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 02-22-2017 12:14
    I've known some people who have gone this route to get into the field. Categorical exams can be taken without formal (NAACLS) training, but they do require clinical lab experience. In order to sit for an exam (MLS or categorical), they'll need to have at least five years experience in a clinical lab, in addition to their B.S. biology degree from an accredited institution. So they'll have find a clinical facility that is willing to hire a bench tech with only a biology degree. Once hired, they have to have certain experience in order to sit for the exams. For categorical exams, ASCP requires experience in certain procedures (for example, the chemistry, C(ASCP), exam requires that an applicant, within the last five years, have clinical experience in at least 8 out of 15 of the following areas: Blood gases • Carbohydrates • Electrolytes • Electrophoresis • Enzymes • Heme compounds • Immunochemistry • Lipids/lipoproteins • Non-protein nitrogen compounds • Point-of-care • Proteins • Quality control program management • Therapeutic drug monitoring • Toxicology • Vitamins/hormones). Their employer will need to sign a documentation form and provide a letter verifying their experience. 

    It's not impossible; I think the biggest challenge for the person would be finding a clinical facility that will hire someone with a B.S. in biology that isn't certified. In Virginia, I've known of some smaller reference labs that have done it. 

    Good luck, I hope this helps!

    ------------------------------
    Julie Bayer-Vile
    Vice-Chair, Molecular Diagnostics Scientific Assembly
    Chair, Region II Leadership Academy Task Force
    Secretary and P.A.C.E Coordinator, ASCLS-VA
    jbayervile@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 02-23-2017 05:46
    The routes to certification for biology degree holders require them to find employment first.  Then their experience can be as a generalist for the generalist exam at the MLS level or department specific for the categorical certifications.  They cannot sit for the exam until they have the requisite experience, however.  The Board of Certification eligibility routes include these options - route 4 to generalist (4 years experience) and route 5 to categorical (1 year experience).  There are employers who are more open to training a biology grad and some have formal programs that will assist them toward certification, like ARUP in Salt Lake City.  And, I would still recommend that they be involved in continuing education or some formal course work - passing the exam based just on experience is tough!

    ------------------------------
    [Kathy] [Doig]
    [Professor Emeritus]
    [Michigan State University]
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 02-23-2017 09:19
    Hello!

    Once you have a B.S. degree, the are many Medical Laboratory Science certificate programs that you can apply to that take your degree as a pre-requisite. Depending on the collage, you may need to also take some of their courses required to graduate of your previous classes don't transfer, but I'm not entirely sure about that. These programs are usually about a year long. Then you can sit for the MLT exam.  I have known many people who have gone this route. With a B.S. degree, the MT exam may not be an option for you because it is typically only has an associate's degree as pre-requisite.  I have known many people who have gone this route. It doesn't take nearly as long as gaining 5 years of experience. I recommend taking to someone involved with a MLS program near you and seeing if that is the route for you!

    I hope this helps!

    ------------------------------
    Monica Marolt
    --
    Clarksville TN
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 02-24-2017 06:14
    This is an interesting discussion. If you have a Bachelor's degree there are plenty of 4+1 MLS programs and I would suggest people pursue that option. I have seen many people with BS degrees simply go to an MLT degree. I don't believe we should advise them to do this. If you can complete the MLS program in the same timeframe as an MLT it is better that they get the MLS certification. 

    Secondly, we all should fully support the degree options for MLT and MLS. The idea that experience alone can lead to certification is a somewhat outdated concept. Most other professional programs don't allow exceptions around the requirements or are closing these options.

    ------------------------------
    Perry Scanlan
    Professor and Program Director
    Editor in Chief Clinical Laboratory Science Journal
    Austin Peay State University
    Clarksville TN
    (931) 538-8082
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 02-27-2017 07:35
    This is an interesting discussion.  In my state there are no MLS programs except for hospital based.  The 2 hospital based programs only accept 4 students and they must have had several courses not offered in traditional biology or chemistry degrees.  The 2 programs also have  a GPA requirement that may disqualify some good candidates that would have to search for other programs.

    Many times the student with a bachelor's degree wants to refresh and get a 2nd degree whether for financial aid, improve GPA, or get a taste of what the laboratory profession is about and the MLT offers access in 2 years versus 4.  

    That brings to mind, why should these students with a Bachelor's degree and an Associate in MLT have to work 2 years after 6 years of education?  If they pass the MLT certification and any state licensure, should the MLS  certification test be offered after 6 months of experience versus 2 years?

    I did a transition from MLT to Bachelors in Health Science and satisfied the requirements to test for the Medical Technologist at that time.  The flexibility of working while going to school, helped prepare me for the MT ASCP exam.    It was a long road to take but often other life experiences dictate a student's ability to get back to school.

    ------------------------------
    Janis Livingston
    MLT Clinical Ed Coordinator
    Midlands Technical College
    North SC
    (803) 568-4930
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-18-2017 22:30
    I have taken and passed the following exams without returning to school: MLS(ASCP), MT(AMT), MT(AAB), MLT(ASCP). To suggest the MT/MLS level exams cannot be passed without completion of that level program is absurd. There is no appreciable difference between the content tested on the MLT(ASCP) exam and the MLS(ASCP) exam per the official outlines.

    ------------------------------
    Eric Johns
    B.S. Biological Sciences
    Medical Technologist
    MLS(ASCP)cm, MT(AMT), MT(AAB), MLT(ASCP)cm
    ericejohns@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-20-2017 14:43
    The original question in this discussion was "How can a person with a B.S. in biology work as an MLT or MT?

    For all of the exams that you have listed, with the exception of MT(AAB), there are experience requirements to sit for these exams.  For instance, to sit for the MLS(ASCP) exam with only a BS degree, in addition to 16 hours of biological science with one semester of micro, and 16 hours of chemistry with one semester of organic or biochem, you  must also have 5 years of acceptable full-time clinical laboratory experience as follows:
    *full time experience is defined as a minimum of thirty-five (35) hours per week. Individuals who have part-time experience may be permitted to utilize prorated part-time experience to meet the work experience requirements.

    For example, if you are employed 20 hours per week for one year, your experience would be computed as 20 divided by 35 multiplied by 52 weeks, or the equivalent of 29.7 weeks of full time employment.

    So while additional schooling might not be necessary to pass the listed exams, it can be very difficult to get the required experience with only a BS degree in one of the biological sciences.

    ------------------------------
    Angela Foley
    Associate Professor
    LSUHSC New Orleans, LA
    New Orleans LA
    (504) 283-5256
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-21-2017 05:21
    In reference to the following statement, "So while additional schooling might not be necessary to pass the listed exams, it can be very difficult to get the required experience with only a BS degree in one of the biological sciences," the following response has been compiled.

    Per AAB:
    To be eligible for MT(AAB) certification in individual disciplines or as a generalist, an individual must meet at least one (1) of the following requirements:

    Route 1. Earn a doctoral, master's, bachelor's (baccalaureate) degree, or the equivalent, from an accredited university or college with a major in a chemical, physical, biological, or clinical laboratory science or medical technology (A degree with a major in Physics or a physical science, must include a minimum of six (6) semester hours of chemistry, six (6) semester hours of biology, and twelve (12) semester hours of chemistry, biology or medical laboratory technology in any combination)

    AND

    Pass the MT(AAB) Basic Knowledge examination and the appropriate discipline examination(s).

    Route 3. Earn at least sixty (60) semester hours, or equivalent, from an accredited institution that, at a minimum, includes either:

    a) twenty-four (24) semester hours of medical laboratory technology courses

    OR

    b) twenty-four (24) semester hours of science courses that include:

    six (6) semester hours of chemistry;
    six (6) semester hours of biology;
    and twelve (12) semester hours of courses in chemistry, biology or medical laboratory technology in any combination

    AND

    Have laboratory training that includes either of the following:

    Completion of a clinical laboratory training program approved or accredited by ABHES, NAACLS (formerly CAHEA), or other accrediting agencies approved by HHS. (This training may be included in the 60 semester hours listed above.)

    OR

    Have at least three (3) months of documented laboratory training within the ten (10) years immediately prior to the application date in each specialty in which the individual performs high complexity testing

    AND

    Pass the MT(AAB) Basic Knowledge examination and the appropriate discipline examination(s).

    Provision: Individuals who have documented the required education but who lack the necessary training listed above may still challenge the MT(AAB) examinations. Upon passing the examinations, these individuals will be designated Medical Technologist-Provisional [MT-P(AAB)] until they complete the training in the applicable disciplines, at which time the provisional status will be removed.

    https://www.aab.org/aab/MT.asp

    Per AMT:
    Applicant shall possess a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a recognized regional or national accreditation agency, or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution as certified by a foreign transcript evaluation agency approved by AMT, AND shall have completed at least 35 semester hours of coursework across various subjects related to the clinical laboratory sciences, such as biological science, microbiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, etc., AND
    Completed a minimum of one year of approved clinical laboratory experience including rotation through Blood Banking, Microbiology, Chemistry and Hematology sections of the laboratory.

    https://www.americanmedtech.org/Get-Certified/MT-Eligibility#141982-route-3-alternate-education

    These are essentially no different than hiring people who have completed formal programs who wait 12-18 months prior to taking a certification exam.

    The difficulty therein lies with hiring managers; some may not be aware of or even accept equivalent exams that meet CLIA requirements. The laboratory shortage that has been predicted for at least the past decade could be partly addressed if the avenues for the certifications were more known. Inherently, formal laboratory programs serve to teach academics and provide a pathway to permit training in the clinical setting; the liability falls on the student and the academic institution more so than the partnering healthcare facility. For example, if a student fails clinicals, it is of little consequence to the healthcare facility but of major consequence to the student and the academic institution; conversely, if an employee undergoing OJT does not meet clinical competencies, that employee may be demoted or terminated, both ultimately presenting more liability and cost on the healthcare facility. The academic institution serves as a safety net.

    ------------------------------
    Eric Johns
    B.S. Biological Sciences
    Medical Technologist
    MLS(ASCP)cm, MT(AMT), MT(AAB), MLT(ASCP)cm
    ericejohns@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-21-2017 09:16
    Hello Everyone-

    With all due respect to the original poster and to all those who have replied, this thread and it's content brings about a greater question: why do we Not value our profession lIke other medical specialties do? Why is it we find work-arounds and ways to "get someone through" so they can get certified on such a regular basis?

    In my opinion, there is only one way someone should be allowed to enter the field: through graduation from a NAACLS accredited program (or one of similar clinical rigor from another country). While individuals with biology degrees are intelligent folks, they are not trained to be medial laboratory professionals. If we wish to be on par with nursing, pharmacists, etc etc etc, we must stop creating these OJT training routes for folks without OUR background, OUR clinical decision making skills, OUR collective ethics, OUR collective understanding of our role in healthcare. Passing a certification exam is not the sole criteria that dictates you are a professional in our field. I'm sure I could study for the NCLEX and pass. That does not make me a nurse. And a shortage in nursing did not lead to them taking less qualified professionals.

    If we want to elevate our status as a profession we need to elevate what we consider the entry routes into the profession.  I respect my friends wit bio, Chem, misc science degrees but they are not medical lab professionals. If folks can't see the relationship between educational rigor/appropriate curriculum design for those entering the profession and we just let others in, we are not going to thrive

    i am sure this may ruffle some feathers. However, I say this not as an insult to people but instead I am trying to stand up for what would be best for our profession.


    ------------------------------
    Kyle Riding, PhD, MLS(ASCP)
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-21-2017 12:07
    I wholeheartedly agree with Kyle Riding's remarks!  As to the issue of "equivalent" exams, I would like to add that all RNs take the same national certification exam.  So there is no question about exam equivalency.  This is not the case for our profession.  Both ASCP(BOR) and AMT are certifying agencies that are accredited by national accrediting agencies, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and NCCA (National Commission of Certifying Agencies) respectively.  If AAB is nationally certified, I have been unable to find it on their website.  While passing an exam does not insure competency, at least if all certified MLTs and MLSs took the same exam, we would have some baseline for comparison of basic entry level knowledge of the profession.

    ------------------------------
    Angela Foley
    Associate Professor
    LSUHSC New Orleans, LA
    New Orleans LA
    (504) 283-5256
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-22-2017 11:32
    I agree with Kyle. We continue to be our own worst enemy by allowing the things he has noted. Until we value ourselves enough to take a stance, we will continue to lack the recognition we want & deserve. 

    Education rigor & a recognized program & certification must be valued by us all like our other healthcare colleagues. If we do not value ourselves, others will not value us. 

    Sent from my iPhone





  • 13.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-23-2017 02:06
    I concur with Kyle and Cheryl.  I will go one step further and predict that if we do not find a way to stop giving our profession away to the lowest bidder when it comes to education credits and/or clinical experience, our profession will not be in existence as we know it in the not so distant future.  There are lots of professions looking for a way to expand their scope of practice to ensure their vitality as a profession going forward, and they are only too happy to climb in the clinical laboratory sandbox with us.  We have a history of putting the welcome mat out way too quickly.

    Not only are we putting our profession at risk by doing the above, we give away the leverage that could be used to force higher salaries.  Low salaries in so many parts of the country are a major contributor to the shortage of clinical laboratorians.  It is a vicious circle that we continue to contribute too.  Time to stop!

    ------------------------------
    Sally Pestana
    Professor
    Kapiolani Community College
    Honolulu HI
    (808) 722-3682
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-24-2017 09:54
    ​I would like to respond to one part of this very important professional discussion.  That part is that not all certification agencies are created equal.  As an employer, there are two component related to the foundational requirements for consideration for employment as a laboratory professional.  The person needs to have the specific educational level and certification.  These two must be considered together and not either/or.  For an MLS/MT level the individual MUST have a Bachelor's degree and be certified by ASCP-BOC or AMT.  For an MLT, the individual must have an associates degree AND be certified by ASCP-BOC or AMT.  We apply similar standards for our professionals in the anatomic pathology part of our laboratories - cytotechnologists, histology technicians and histotechnologists.  You will notice that for MLS/MT and ,MLT, that AAB certification is not accepted.  That is because AAB does not require, for example, the Bachelors degree for ab MLS/MT.

    The above is a basic principle, and along with the fact that AAB is not accredited, eliminates them from consideration.  As an aside, AAB, as both a membership and certification organization, also does not support personnel licensure.

    One area where I differ with some of the commenters, is that I support the alternate routes that ASCP and AMT certify.  I don't believe we get to cherry pick.  If, for example, a candidate comes to me who has a degree in microbiology and has achieved the requirements of experience and specialty certification, then they will be considered for hire.  We need to support our certification agencies and a lot of thought and ongoing analysis has gone into their decisions.  (Final note:  some of the commenters are calling for national licensure.  We need to realize that this is not possible.  Licensure, for all professionals, is a state issue.  The fact that nurses and physicians are licensed in every state, is because each state has passed licensure legislation and written state regulations).

    Bottom line is I agree that we should only hire certified individuals WITH the appropriate level of education.  We need to support ASCP and AMT as the certification agencies that live by these standards.

    ------------------------------
    Rick Panning
    Senior Administrative Director
    HealthPartners
    Bloomington MN
    6512805909
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-25-2017 05:09
    This portion of the reply is debatable; "The above is a basic principle, and along with the fact that AAB is not accredited, eliminates them from consideration.  As an aside, AAB, as both a membership and certification organization, also does not support personnel licensure." None of the laboratory certifications offered by AAB, AMT, and ASCP are licenses; granting of licensure, as stated, is state dependent. The requirements are determined under the Joint Commission via CLIA; to use the Rick's expression, "I don't believe we get to cherry pick."  If an employer or a state wants to discriminate what qualifies as a MT/MLS per job description, they can and often do. An employer can specify that an individual have both a MT/MLS-level certification and a BS degree in an applicable science as was the case for me when I was job hunting regardless of having a BS degree in a related field, MT(AAB) certification, and MLT(ASCP) certification. On another note, a state can have academic requirements that are more stringent than any certifying body.
    Since many here want to use the NCLEX-RN for comparison, I will draw a parallel between nursing and laboratory science/technology. For a nursing graduate to be a Registered Nurse (RN), he/she must satisfy the educational requirements and pass the NCLEX-RN regardless of the program level. Yes, Associate Degree Registered Nurse program exist. The body of knowledge required to pass examination is equivalent regardless of the degree level; the hierarchy then begins with degree level (ADN, BSN, MSN, DNP). The commensurate pay is then based on level of degree and years of applicable experience.
    In a similar way, the body of knowledge required to pass the MT/MLS examinations is equivalent. Even comparing the MLT(ASCP) and MLS(ASCP) exams, the content covered on both exams is approximately the same. If one were to graduate from a MLT program, then challenged and passed the MT(AAB), that person is not guaranteed employment as a MT/MLS nor is guaranteed MT/MLS/CLS licensure because the requirements of states and employers vary.

    ------------------------------
    Eric Johns
    B.S. Biological Sciences
    Medical Technologist
    MLS(ASCP)cm, MT(AMT), MT(AAB), MLT(ASCP)cm
    ericejohns@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-26-2017 12:18

    ​At our hospital, Loyola University Medical Center, we accept students from Northern Illinois University and from Rush University. They come to Loyola for the rotations, many of them we hire. The microbiology lab also has an active M(ASCP) program. We accept, when we have an opening, a person with a degree and courses in the hard sciences into a one year graduate school format program. There is a shortage of MLSs, but there is no shortage of biology and chemistry majors in our colleges. However, the schools do not inform their students about the realities of life. Many thanks to ASCLS, who support the laboratory sciences. Thank you.

    Roman Golash
    Manager, Microbiology/Molecular Pathology/HLA
    Loyola University Medical Center
    Maywood, IL



    ------------------------------
    Roman Golash
    Loyola University Medical Center
    Maywood IL
    708-216-8486
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-22-2017 11:11
    I completely agree with Kyle. I don't believe we should allow those who major in biology, chemistry, physics, etc. to gain clinical experience and then sit for national certification examinations.

    We all want to be respected (and paid) at the same level as other healthcare professionals (e.g., nurses), but we allow people without the proper education, background, and practicum training to take our certification exams and work in our laboratories.

    I'm sure most of these individuals that have a biology/chemistry/physics background do fine in the lab, but that's not the point. I could, like Kyle, take the NCLEX and pass. Anyone with enough study materials and resources can pass an exam. I'd be a wonderful home care nurse! That doesn't mean I should be able to work as one without the proper nursing background.

    Our certification bodies are an entirely different issue, which I have very strong opinions on. In short, I don't consider those with the AAB certification as part of my profession. At MINIMUM, medical laboratory professionals should have graduated from a NAACLS accredited program and be ASCP or AMT certified.

    Our profession is notorious for dropping (or keeping?) low standards due to shortages or low interest. Shortages come and go. Every profession has its ups and downs. There are ways to combat shortages/low interest other than allowing individuals to become medical laboratory professionals without a proper medical laboratory background.

    We really need to talk with hospitals, CAP, CLIA (and whoever else) to change qualification requirements for medical laboratory professionals working in clinical laboratories. We also need to talk with the BOC and AMT to change the required qualifications to sit for certification exams.

    I'd also like to mention that other healthcare professions were experiencing similar issues (e.g., occupational therapy), in that individuals were able to work in the field when they didn't have the necessary credentials or background. The solution? National licensure…

    ------------------------------
    Joshua J. Cannon, MS, MLS(ASCP)
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-23-2017 02:57
    I understand where most may feel this way, however, I can assure you my knowledge certainly exceeds the average medical technologist. I have a Biology degree and sat for the boards. Don't assume a Biology degree doesn't have a passionate learner behind it. I don't know how many of those who went to school that has read BB, Heme, Chem, Immuno, Molecular cover to cover as I have.

    I know that there is always more for me to learn, and I constantly seek knowledge. This bias that most have about going through an NAACLS program does not guarantee you will be a good MLS in the field as I am. Maybe there is a 95% CI. I tried to be humble, but the condescension I faced has forced me to place my confidence front and center. It's better to hear I am cocky than incompetent.

    Respect the Biology degree who passed the boards. As Mark Twain said, I have never let school interfere with my education.

    A diverse perspective that goes against the norm.


    ------------------------------
    Deshon "Wayne" Wilson, B.S., MT(AMT)
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-23-2017 08:05
    None here should assert he/she could pass NCLEX-RN outright solely by studying review books because none on this thread have RN behind his/her name. The clinical decision skills required as a nurse cannot be compared to the skills required by a laboratorian; to use a colloquialism, that is like comparing apples to oranges; sure, both are fruits, but one is a pome and one is a citrus.

    In response to "Passing a certification exam is not the sole criteria that dictates you are a professional in our field," what then makes one a professional in the laboratory field? Certainly completing a NAACLS-accredited program does not make anyone a competent laboratory professional; if one completes such a program, fails the "gold standard" MLS(ASCP) examination, then passes the MT(AMT) examination, why would that person be considered more a professional than someone who passed the MLS(ASCP) examination by a non-traditional route? Some here are quite pretentious to make or agree with the following assertion: "I don't believe we should allow those who major in biology, chemistry, physics, etc. to gain clinical experience and then sit for national certification examinations." The assertion is absurd because the profession is dependent on active scientists; medical/clinical laboratory science is simply application.

    California, one of the more stringent states regarding certification/licensure, only recently (2014) acknowledged MT(AMT) as equivalent to MT(ASCP)/MLS(ASCP) and MT(AAB); feel free to check their website <https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OSPHLD/LFS/Pages/CLS.aspx>.

    Regarding certification exams, I reiterate that I have actually taken and passed all three of the MT/MLS exams. Does having MT(AMT) or MLS(ASCP) make me a better laboratory professional than MT(AAB) and MLT(ASCP)? To think that is true is a mistake. The exams are academic; the job itself has no bearing on whether one will do well or poorly on the exam which is why competencies are done annually - if not more frequently - to measure one's ability to perform, and failure results in corrective action.

    For those who are unfamiliar, read the following from the American Board of Bioanalysis <https://www.aab.org/aab/About_ABB.asp>:

    ABOUT ABB
    About The American Board of Bioanalysis (ABB)
    The American Board of Bioanalysis (ABB) evaluates, through the certification process, individuals who wish to enter, continue or advance in the clinical laboratory profession. ABB identifies, on a non discriminatory basis, individuals who meet ABB's requirements for clinical laboratory directors, consultants, and supervisors. ABB certification is based on an individual's education, experience, and knowledge of the laboratory field in which certification is granted.
    ABB requirements do not discriminate against any individual or group of individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, or source of national origin.
    In 1968, the American Board of Bioanalysis was established by the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) in response to the passage of the Medicare regulations (1966) and the Clinical Laboratories Improvement Act of 1967 (CLIA '67), which defined the qualifications for a laboratory director. In 1972 ABB's certification program was expanded to include supervisors, in 1982 to include managers (subsequently discontinued in July 1, 2005), and in 1993 to include consultants.
    The 1974 Medicare regulations for independent laboratories recognized ABB as a certifying agency under section 405.1312 (b) (2) and (4). At that time, ABB revised its standards for director certification, creating three levels: Bioanalyst Clinical Laboratory Director (BCLD), Clinical Laboratory Director (CLD), and Bioanalyst Laboratory Director (BLD).
    With the advent of the CLIA '88 regulations, which also recognized ABB as a certifying agency for directors and clinical consultants (as do most state regulatory programs), ABB again revised its classifications for directors by replacing the CLD and BLD designations with HCLD (High-complexity Clinical Laboratory Director).
    In 2002, ABB added a certification category for Embryology Laboratory Directors (ELDs). Although embryology laboratories have yet to be covered by CLIA, ABB has decided to implement an ELD certification that resembles the director qualifications contained in the minimum standards for assisted reproductive technologies of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's (ASRM's) Practice Committee.
    Applicants for ELD certification should be aware that the ELD certification may or may not meet CLIA requirements should the Department of HHS decide at a future date that CLIA covers embryology laboratories. Applicants who are performing CLIA-covered tests and who wish to satisfy current CLIA requirements for high complexity testing should seek HCLD(ABB) or BCLD(ABB) certification.
    To address the chronic shortage of laboratory scientists certified to direct a high complexity public health laboratory, ABB and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) agreed to offer a board certification in public health microbiology beginning in the fall of 2009.  The certification will afford doctoral-level scientists and technical supervisors in public health laboratories a new means to qualify for certification under CLIA.  The certification will be the first to examine specifically for the training and experience required to direct a state or large municipal public health laboratory.
    In 2010 ABB created the certification designation Public Health Laboratory Director (PHLD) for directors certified in a public health discipline.
    In 2012, ABB added a certification category for Andrology Laboratory Directors (ALDs). The certification is offered to current HCLD(ABB)s who pass ABB's Andrology and General Knowledge examinations.

    ------------------------------
    Eric Johns
    B.S. Biological Sciences
    Medical Technologist
    MLS(ASCP)cm, MT(AMT), MT(AAB), MLT(ASCP)cm
    ericejohns@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-23-2017 16:43
    Many of you have missed my point. Before this gets too out of hand, I'd just like to make it clear that I'm not trying to insult the intelligence or abilities of those with biology/chemistry/physics backgrounds and work as medical laboratory professionals. I'm sure you are intelligent folks who are more than capable of working in a clinical laboratory.

    I never compared the "clinical decision skills" of a nurse to a laboratorian. I never even compared the two professions as far as responsibilities go. I simply used the NCLEX as an example when stating that it's not impossible for an intelligent healthcare professional to pass a certification exam with all the available study materials, even though he or she may not have the specific background that would prepare him or her for that exam. Individuals with four-year biology degrees passing the BOC is another perfect example.

    What makes a professional in the laboratory field is a completely different question than asking what makes a medical laboratory professional. What makes a medical laboratory professional, to me, is an individual who comes from a medical/clinical laboratory science/technology background, completes a medical/clinical laboratory practicum experience before graduation, and successfully passes a certification examination from an accredited certification body before entering the workforce (or within a short time period after graduation). To me, being MLS(ASCP) certified, for example, should prove that the individual has the basic knowledge or has met the basic competencies required to work as a generalist. Taking the exam after working in a clinical laboratory for five years doesn't even make sense. Even though certification and licensure are different, you can no longer work as a BSN, RN before passing the NCLEX and becoming licensed. Our profession is not dependent on active scientists; it is dependent on medical laboratory professionals, including phlebotomists, assistants, technicians and scientists. Where we disagree is the definition of a medical laboratory professional.

    I agree that it is a mistake to think an MT(AMT) or MLS(ASCP) is "better" than an MLT(ASCP). These are two completely different levels of medical laboratory professionals and shouldn't be compared in that way.

    Again, I will reiterate that I do not believe individuals with medical laboratory backgrounds are more intelligent than individuals graduating with biology degrees, or that they are more passionate learners. What I'm saying is that, to be on a par with similar healthcare professions, we need to control these "alternative routes" for people without the proper background to make it into the profession. I'm sorry, but if you haven't taken formal classes in hematology and hemostasis, clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, blood banking, urinalysis and body fluids, and immunology, you should not be able to sit for boards and work in a clinical laboratory as a medical laboratory professional, plain and simple. These courses are the foundation of our field and who we are. There are plenty of 4+1 programs available for those with biology or chemistry degrees wanting to enter the profession.

    It all comes down to setting standards that are equal to other healthcare professions--not the intelligence or passion of different STEM/healthcare majors. To sit for the NCLEX-RN, you need to have a nursing degree. You can't major in biology or health sciences and challenge the NCLEX after working as a nursing assistant for five years. You can't do anything remotely similar in OT, PT, or PA.

    ------------------------------
    Joshua J. Cannon, MS, MLS(ASCP)

    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-24-2017 00:44

    To say "Our profession is not dependent on active scientists" is erroneous; new test development occurs because of the work performed by active scientists who do not necessarily have a Medical/Clinical Laboratory Science/Technology background. When these tests are implemented in the clinical laboratory, they are often very much automated, and the profession becomes akin to factory work; that comparison is not to denigrate the laboratory profession, but instead serves to provide perspective. The assertion that "formal classes in hematology and hemostasis, clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, blood banking, urinalysis and body fluids, and immunology" is again absurd; these are all clinical application courses of the basic sciences, including but not limited to Physics, Chemistry (Inorganic, Organic, Biochemistry), and Biology. The standards are currently set for laboratory testing personnel per CLIA; if the three existing agencies were a single agency with the alternate routes available, the single agency's examinations would permit comparison of academic competency regardless of certification route.

    Even with Radiologic Technology, "The degree does not need to be in radiologic sciences, and it can be earned before entering the educational program or after graduation from the program" <https://www.arrt.org/docs/default-source/handbooks/primary-discipline-handbook-2017.pdf?sfvrsn=18>; ARRT does have specific didactic and clinical requirements that are met via approved programs.

    The difference between those health professions and the clinical laboratory is quite simple; those require direct patient contact whereas the laboratory professions often do not include direct patient contact, but instead require the ability to test patient samples. This is true for those with AAB, AMT, ASCP, and ABHI certifications.

    Per the American Board of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics < https://www.ashi-hla.org/resource/resmgr/docs/abhi/examinations/7-27-2017_ABHI_handbook_2017.pdf>, the requirements are as follows:

    ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

    Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements and provide all supporting documentation for the requested examination as stated in the ABHI application form to gain admission to an examination.

    • Eligibility Requirements for Certified Histocompatibility Associate (CHA)
      1. Completion of 24 hours of college level coursework from an accredited college or university in chemical, physical, biological or clinical laboratory science courses (qualifying courses can include general biology, immunology, zoology, genetics, biochemistry, physiology and clinical laboratory science). A minimum of 6 semester hours of chemistry and 6 semester hours of biology will be required within the 24 hours. Official transcripts will be required to document completed coursework.
      2. In addition to the education requirements, the applicant must have a least two years of documented* relevant full-time work experience in an approved ** laboratory performing histocompatibility testing. The two years of experience must be completed within five years prior to the application date and by the last day of the month in which the examination is given.

    * Documentation of histocompatibility work experience must be in the form of a statement of competency or a letter from the laboratory director verifying length of time in histocompatibility testing and detailing actual work performed with a brief description of the procedures used. This letter must be signed by the lab director. Special consideration may be given to applicants in instances where a sponsor's involvement in the field of histocompatibility testing is not in an ASHI/UNOS- or EFI-accredited lab (i.e., origin of the laboratory is in a country/region where other governing bodies and organizations associated with the national ministry/department of health oversee and govern these activities) or hold a current ABHI certification. In these instances, more weight may be placed on the applicant's qualifications and letters of support. Please allow additional time for processing in the event further documents are requested.

    ** An approved histocompatibility laboratory must be an ASHI/UNOS-or EFI-accredited laboratory. An applicant with insufficient work experience in an ASHI/UNOS or EFI-accredited laboratory can petition to sit for the examination through the SPONSORSHIP route. However, a minimum of two years of relevant work experience is still required.

    • Eligibility Requirements for Certified Histocompatibility Technologist (CHT)
      1. A baccalaureate degree in chemical, physical, biological or clinical laboratory science from an accredited college or university or possess a baccalaureate degree with at least 24 semester hours of science courses that include– (i) Six semester hours of chemistry; (ii) Six semester hours of biology; and (iii) Twelve semester hours of chemistry, biology, or medical laboratory technology in any combination. Please submit official transcripts documenting completed coursework.
      2. In addition to the education requirements, the applicant must have at least one year's documented* relevant full-time work experience in an approved** laboratory performing histocompatibility testing. This year of experience must be completed within five years prior to the application date and by the last day of the month in which the examination is given.

    * Documentation of histocompatibility work experience must be in the form of a statement of competency or a letter from the laboratory director verifying length of time in histocompatibility testing and detailing actual work performed with a brief description of the procedures used. This statement or letter must be signed by the lab director. Special consideration may be given to applicants in instances where a sponsor's involvement in the field of histocompatibility testing is not in an ASHI/UNOS- or EFI-accredited lab (i.e., origin of the laboratory is in a country/region where other governing bodies and organizations associated with the national ministry/department of health oversee and govern these activities) or hold a current ABHI certification. In these instances, more weight may be placed on the applicant's qualifications and letters of support. Please allow additional time for processing in the event further documents are requested.

    ** An approved histocompatibility laboratory must be an ASHI/UNOS- or EFI-accredited laboratory. An applicant within sufficient work experience in an ASHI/UNOS- or EFI-accredited laboratory can petition to sit for the examination through the SPONSORSHIP route. However, a minimum of one year of relevant work experience is still required.

    • Eligibility Requirements for Certified Histocompatibility Specialist (CHS)
      1. A baccalaureate degree in chemical, physical, biological or clinical laboratory science from an accredited college or university or possess a baccalaureate degree with at least 24 semester hours of science courses that include– (i) Six semester hours of chemistry; (ii) Six semester hours of biology; and (iii) Twelve semester hours of chemistry, biology, or medical laboratory technology in any combination. Please submit official transcripts documenting completed coursework.
      2. At least five years of documented,* relevant full-time work experience in an approved** laboratory performing histocompatibility testing. This experience must be completed within 10 years prior to the application date and prior to the date of examination.

    * Documentation of histocompatibility work experience must be in the form of a statement of competency or a letter from the laboratory director verifying length of time in histocompatibility testing and detailing actual work performed with a brief description of the procedures used. This letter must be signed by the lab director. Special consideration may be given to applicants in instances where a sponsor's involvement in the field of histocompatibility testing is not in an ASHI/UNOS- or EFI-accredited lab (i.e., origin of the laboratory is in a country/region where other governing bodies and organizations associated with the national ministry/department of health oversee and govern these activities) or hold a current ABHI certification. In these instances, more weight may be placed on the applicant's qualifications and letters of support. Please allow additional time for processing in the event further documents are requested.

    ** An approved histocompatibility laboratory must be an ASHI/UNOS- or EFI-accredited laboratory. An applicant within sufficient work experience in an ASHI/UNOS- or EFI-accredited laboratory can petition to sit for the examination through the SPONSORSHIP route. However, a minimum of five years of relevant work experience is still required.



    ------------------------------
    Eric Johns
    B.S. Biological Sciences
    Medical Technologist
    MLS(ASCP)cm, MT(AMT), MT(AAB), MLT(ASCP)cm
    ericejohns@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-25-2017 10:37
    Thank you Kyle for initiating this important discussion.  I would like to take this discussion in a slightly different, yet important direction.  Before I introduce this slightly different direction I would like to offer my position.

    In principle I agree with Kyle, and those supporting his views, that a graduate of a NAACLS accredited MLS or MLT program has the "ideal" preparation to become a competent laboratory professional.  It seems obvious that if someone is required to learn the body of knowledge in order to graduate from an MLS or MLT program(that is required to follow the body of knowledge and the many other accreditation standards of pedagogy) AND the body of knowledge is taught by educated and trained laboratory professionals, that the graduate is in a good position to demonstrate their mastery of the body of knowledge on an exam and their clinical skills in a clinical setting. However, I am in agreement with our biology educated colleagues that this is not the only way one can master the body of knowledge and be a competent professional.  Although I do not have access the the decades of ASCP data regarding the pass rates of NAACLS program graduate aplicants vs those sitting for the exam through experiential routes, I do have 30 years of observations as an MLS professor.  I perceive that most, but not all, graduates of a NAACLS accredited program pass the ASCP or AMT exam (AAB does not count) and that most who did not graduate from a NAACLS accredited program do not pass the exam.  HOWEVER, the question is: Are those who pass the exam using the experiential route less competent?  Probably not.  Please realize the following: 1. ALL healthcare professions started as an OJT education and advanced to formal education as the standard. 2. Those who graduate with a science based BS or AS degree have already proven their intellectual ability (which is why a BS or AS degree should remain a requirement to sit for the MLS/MLT exams respectively). 3. Anyone with a strong science educational foundation, the intellectual ability to self teach the MLS/MLT body of knowledge, and the drive to earn certification, is likely to be an equally competent professional.  In an era where in the next 15 years the laboratory community will experience a mass exodus, where all MLT and MLS programs together graduate about 50% of the demand (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), and other health professions are absorbing parts of our scope of practice, we need as many certified professionals as possible to carry the torch for us; which leads me to the slightly different direction for the conversation.

    I interpreted some of the language in this string as implying the if "WE" don't change our routes of certification, the trend of others usurping our scope of practice will escalate and threaten the future of our profession.  I agree that our profession is entering a workforce crisis and that this crisis will force change, but limiting routes of certification, in my opinion, is NOT the solution.  I would much rather have a person who earned a BS degree (who completed high level science courses) and successfully certified through ASCP or AMT to practice my profession rather than a Nurse, Medical Assistant, or Respiratory Therapist, who did not take high level sciences and who did not certify through ASCP or AMT.  The questions I have are: Who is the "WE" and what is the solution?  Since this is an ASCLS forum, I am interpreting the "WE" as active ASCLS members.  We cannot change the past of how a Pathology led organization (ASCP) created the certification process.  I am PROUD of how "WE" have been a force for change in the current BOC certification process.  "WE" also cannot change the way other organizations (ASCP or AMT) choose to invest their resources to effect change in our professional future.  So what solution can "WE" develop? The reason other groups are usurping our scope of practice is because they are larger and therefore better funded in the federal and state arenas.  Without a voice in DC, other health professions groups will gradually erode our scope of practice and their platform will be the following: 1. The laboratory workforce shortage is in crisis and adversely affecting healthcare quality;  2. Other heathcare professionals are capable of filling the void (waived testing); 3. A license is not required to practice lab medicine in most states.  If "WE" fail to grow we will lose these battles because the arguments are not based in logic but in politics and a solution to a crisis.  "WE" cannot rely on others to do the right thing.  The only solution that will work is for "US" to take matters in our own hands. ASCLS ("WE') must drastically change the way we have always done business and take some significant risks if we hope to reverse this situation.  "WE" must redirect our financial and personnel resources to invade laboratories across the country with this message to gain members.  More members will strengthen our voice in DC and in our state legislatures.  A competitive voice in our states will win licensure battles and close the door on some of the intruders that threaten our scope of practice. A competitive voice in DC will quell efforts from groups to erode our scope of practice from a "Save Medicare" perspective.  If "WE" don't act fast and aggressively, it will be too late.

    ------------------------------
    Tim Randolph
    Associate Professor
    Saint Louis University
    Fenton MO
    (314) 920-0354
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Biology degree to MLT or MT

    Posted 11-25-2017 11:52
    I am the program director for the medical laboratory science programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage. We have an articulated AAS-MLT and BS-MLS program and it is the only one in the state. Although Alaska does not require a license to practice most of our clinical laboratories require ASCP or AMT certification. Numerous biology and chemistry graduates come for advice when they learn the hospitals will not hire them without certification. The hospitals refer them to me. I provide them with several options 1) apply to a hospital based program 2) apply to a program that offers an MLS with their master's degree or 3) complete either our AAS-MLT or BS-MLS degree. If they decide to apply to our program I work with them to write petitions/waivers to accept as many as credits as possible. Because there is no loss of credit with our articulation, they often start in the AAS-MLT and transfer into the BS-MLS. Many have stated that they wished they knew about our degree, they would not have pursued a biology or chemistry degree if they had been better informed.
    The faculty in our program have worked with Clinical Laboratory Scientists of Alaska and the university advisers to get the word out about our program and our profession. We have students applying from all over the state and many return to their community to work. We have found that word of mouth is often the best advertising. Our students encourage their brothers and sisters and friends to enroll in our program. Rather than lower our standards we need to do the following:
    • Promote our profession and our academic programs at career fairs
    • Be more flexible in accepting transfer credits including courses from MLT programs and the military
    • Do more simulations in student laboratories on campus in order to reduce time in clinical practicums and increase enrollment
    • Expand enrollment in our programs
    • Require licensure in all states with reciprocity or strengthen CLIA personnel standards
    • Laboratory professionals need one organization-ASCLS and AMT need to merge and we need one certification exam
    • Provide more scholarships and grants to support students and programs
    • Provide more interprofessional learning experience to increase understanding and respect among the professions


    ------------------------------
    Dr. Heidi Mannion, MLS (ASCP)
    --
    Anchorage AK
    (907) 786-6924
    ------------------------------