National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel
P.O. Box 15945-289
Lenexa, KS 66285
Web site: www.nca-info.org
Major Laboratory Certification Agencies Reach Agreement to Unite >
The American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Registry (ASCP-BOR) and The National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) have reached an agreement on the formation of a unified credentialing agency. The respective agencies have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) that has also been ratified by the sponsoring organizations, namely, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) and the Association of Genetic Technologists (AGT). Execution of the LOI indicates that the organizations have reached a mutual agreement in principle on the formation of a unified certification organization that embodies a shared vision for peer credentialing.
Unification will simplify processes for educational program directors, student applicants from accredited institutions (NAACLS and CAAHEP) as well as all other eligible individuals who receive on-the-job laboratory training. In addition, this union is intended to increase credibility and respect from other health care professionals and employers and focus on critical issues for the future of the profession. Construction of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is currently underway between these organizations detailing the governance, the impact of the single certification agency on the credentials of currently certified individuals, as well as the impact on policies related to re-certification and new applicants. In the interim, both agencies (ASCP-BOR and the NCA) will continue business as usual as the transition unfolds.
Certification in the Laboratory Profession
What is Certification and Why Is it Valuable to You? >
The certification of a specialized skill set affirms the knowledge and experience base for practitioners in a particular field, their employers, and the public at large. Certification represents a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence. In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice. Physicians, mechanics, accountants, professional secretaries, surveyors, hairstylists and many others are all required to go through a certification process of some kind. For laboratory professionals, there are eleven states that require licensure of laboratory personnel. Ten out of eleven states recognize national certification as a qualification for licensure and the eleventh state is working toward recognizing national certification versus a state administered examination. In all instances, certification enhances the employability and career advancement of the individual practitioner or employee.
Many organizations in today’s competitive and challenging economy have recognized their workforce as their most valuable asset. Likewise, individuals, whether employed or self-employed, know that now more than ever before they must acquire and maintain more comprehensive skill-sets to ensure their employability in the workplace.
The benefits of certification include:
Higher wages for employees in the form of bonuses, education assistance or higher salary.
A more productive and highly trained workforce for employers.
Prestige for the individual and a competitive advantage over non-certified individuals in the same field.
Enhanced employment opportunities.
Assistance to employers in making more informed hiring decisions.
Assistance to consumers in making informed decisions about qualified providers.
Protection of the general public from incompetent and unfit practitioners.
Establishment of a professional standard for individuals in a particular field.
Why NCA over other Laboratory Credentialing Agencies?
NCA is the premier peer-established agency providing practice-driven credentials for laboratory professionals.
NCA is the only organization that meets all of these criteria:
Provides accredited examination programs and
Requires continuing competence for active credential and
Supports baccalaureate/associate degree benchmarks and
Is peer-established and
Relies on job analyses to set exam content
A History of NCA & ASCLS
ASCLS founded the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) in 1978 because of deeply held beliefs about how a true profession should conduct its affairs. In order to earn respect from the public and from other professionals, laboratory professionals should conduct themselves like other respected professionals. Including the following:
Entry into the profession (by certification) should be under the control of members of that profession (clinical laboratory scientists and other laboratory professionals), rather than controlled by another professional group, such as physicians. Other health care groups, such as nurses, made this move many years before
Duty to the client or patient means ensuring competence throughout one’s professional life. This means taking the responsibility not only for competence in the body of knowledge needed for entry into the profession, but also periodic demonstration of continued competence in a rapidly changing practice field. The mechanisms for such recertification are typically documentation of continuing education or re-examination.
ASCLS was soon joined by the Association of Genetic Technologists as another sponsoring organization of NCA that shared these professional tenets. The initial examinations were for clinical laboratory scientists (CLS) at the baccalaureate degree level and clinical laboratory technicians (CLT) at the associate degree level. Other examinations have been developed throughout the years, and NCA now offers 9 examination programs and 2 additional non-examination qualification programs, including the only national examination for Clinical Laboratory Specialist in Cytogenetics.
Professional respect must be earned. It is a strong belief of the ASCLS and AGT leadership and many others in the profession that NCA credentials make an important statement about your professional commitment. It’s your choice!