I am Keeping My ASCP License
I am keeping my ASCP license.
ASCP does not offer licensure, of course. I know that. But neither do any of the national agencies offering personnel certification in clinical laboratory science. Certification is a voluntary credential; you go to school, you graduate with a degree, you sit for an examination and when you pass you are entitled to use some initials behind your name. One cannot be arrested for not having that credential or for falsely holding himself out to the public/patients/administrators as a laboratory professional.
The lack of licensure in many states, plus the loose use of the term "license" has added to the confusion of employers in general and human resources personnel in particular. Most laboratories worth their salt will not hire a laboratorian that is not at least "registry-eligible." But unless your state has personnel licensure, the laboratory could in fact legally ignore this common practice, and hire anyone.
Last year, CMS sent out a clarification memo to its inspectors directing that inspectors need to verify the educational credentials of testing personnel. It's not sufficient to have a card showing MT(ASCP) , CLS (NCA), MLT (AMT) etc in the personnel file. There must be documentation that the academic degree was verified as being authentic. This can be proven through the actual degree, official transcript or similar instrument. It can be done by the organization itself or by a credible third party that does credential verification.
CMS then indicated to "deemed" agencies like CAP and the Joint Commission that they must also check for such primary verification of education credentials in order to continue to be "deemed" by CMS. So CAP inspectors will be more aggressive in checking for verification of educational qualifications as well.
Human resource departments will become very confused when they try to verify credentials and see a certificate with an expiration date that has passed. Checking with the certification agency they might be told the laboratorian is "inactive." Well, thanks to our help in adding to the confusion, HR will almost certainly say "your license has expired, you cannot work."
Until recently, only NCA required its certificants to receive CEUs in order to maintain their certification. Others like ASCP granted "certification-for-life." Technically, your certification (active or otherwise) proves you are a "real" clinical laboratorian and validation cannot be revoked for nonpayment of dues even after expiration.
I choose to keep most of my certifications and many professional memberships up to date, despite the expense; partially because of the work I do, but also because I want to maintain competency and relevance. It is in my DNA to be current and to put my money where my mouth is. For example, I was always current with NCA and CSMLS (the Canadian CLS agency). Since NCA folded, I have transferred my US certification to ASCP. So as a proud professional I for one will maintain my ASCP license, er, I mean "certification."
What about you?