One National Certification, Finally?
As laboratorians, we often bewail the disunity in the profession. Not only do competing membership organizations tout their relative superiority at the expense of others, but there are also competing certifications. Many Human Resource departments think (incorrectly) that only ASCP certifies laboratorians. They sometimes require, totally without any foundation, that a candidate "must be ASCP certified."
I am still mystified when even some in the profession get confused. I hear people say "I am ASCP." Really? You are an organization? I see credentials listed as CLS/ASCP, BS(ASCP) or CLS(AMT). There are no such credentials. I have also heard " I have my ASCP license." Passing a one-time examination which is not required by law is not a license. Paying dues to remain on a roster is not a license and does not prove current competence.
Only states with personnel licensure are mandated by law to hire laboratorians with a particular documented set of skills. Everything else is voluntary and based on preference or personal prejudice. ASCP has prided itself on being the premier organization simply because of age and its pathologist connection.
One drawback has been one-time certification, with no need (until recently) for continuing education. Also it's essentially certification of one profession by another. NCA was born of this weird anomaly and represents itself as "certification of the profession by the profession." Also, until recently, it was the only laboratory certification agency requiring continuing education to maintain certification.
Suffice it to say that multiple certification organizations in clinical lab science have resulted in much confusion inside and outside the profession. It has caused fractious competition and dilution of efforts to advance the profession. I was thrilled to hear of talks between the two biggest certification agencies: NCA and ASCP.
It seems this effort is already losing steam. It is in all our interest to continue down the road of unification, in my estimation. I urge you to write to your certification agency and let them know your thoughts regarding the creation of one certification agency as all other professions have. We can only benefit individually and professionally from such a move.