ASCP vs. AMT Certifications - Similarities & Differences

In a dynamic field such as healthcare, merely completing a degree program is not enough. One needs to constantly upgrade one’s skills and keep up with the various changes in the discipline. Professional organizations such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and American Medical Technologists (AMT) help promote these goals and ensure that their field grows and improves. Providing various different certifications and membership, these organizations aim to maintain a high standard of quality in their field and provide a host of other benefits to their members.

Both the ASCP and AMT provide membership and certification exams. While the ASCP works towards the improvement of clinical pathologists and laboratory professionals, AMT is an organization for the promotion of allied health professionals such as medical laboratory technicians, dental assistants, medical assistants, and allied health instructors.

The chart below compares the major objectives, credentials, and benefits of the ASCP and AMT.

Side-by-Side Comparison: ASCP vs AMT Certifications

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) American Medical Technologists (AMT)

The American Society of Clinical Pathologists (the original name of the group) was developed by Dr. Ward Burdick along with 39 other physicians in St. Louis in 1922. The main aim of this organization was to promote efficiency in clinical pathology, ensuring that the field was at par with other specializations.

Dr. Burdick’s group of physicians also drafted a constitution with bylaws. The second meeting of the society saw the attendance of more than 100 physicians and the participation of 145 charter members. At the ASCP Annual Business Meeting in Philadelphia, on October 19, 2001, its members voted to change its name to the “American Society for Clinical Pathology.” This change came into effect as the organization represents 130,000 members, and a large number of them are not pathologists, but laboratory professionals.

American Medical Technologists (AMT) was founded in 1939. The organization is a nationally and internationally recognized certification organization as well as a membership society. Its members include allied health professionals such as medical laboratory technicians, medical technologists, dental assistants, medical assistants, and allied health instructors.

Year Founded 1922 1939
Mission Statement

In its own words, the mission of the American Society for Clinical Pathology is “to provide excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists, and laboratory professionals.”

The mission of American Medical Technologists (AMT) is to promote, manage, expand upon, and constantly strive to improve its certification programs for allied health professionals in different settings. A big part of their mission also includes conducting certification exams, providing continuing education, advocacy services, and other benefits to the members of AMT.

Certifications Offered and Duration

The ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) offers 23 certifications to applicants who are trained and educated in the United States, and also have work experience in the country. Additionally, it offers certifications to international candidates whose education, experience, and training are from outside of the United States. For pathology assistants and laboratory professionals, the ASCP Board of Certification offers technician, technologist, specialist, diplomate, and international professional certifications.

Technician certifications include phlebotomy technician, histotechnician, medical laboratory technician, and donor phlebotomy technician.

Technologist certifications include molecular biologist, medical laboratory scientist, histotechnologist, blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, cytotechnologist, and cytogenetics.

Specialist certifications include pathologist’s assistant, laboratory safety, blood banking, chemistry, microbiology, hematology, and cytotechnology.

There is one diplomate certification: the diplomate in laboratory management.

International certifications offered by the ASCP include international designations as a phlebotomy technician, technologist in molecular biology, medical technologist, technologist in gynecologic cytology, and medical laboratory technician.

The certifications are valid for three years.

American Medical Technologists (AMT) offers laboratory, medical and dental office, and health education certifications for allied health professionals.

The laboratory category includes medical technologists, medical laboratory technicians, phlebotomy technicians, medical laboratory assistants, molecular diagnostic technologists, and certified laboratory consultants.

Medical and dental office credentials include those for medical assistants, medical administrative specialists, and dental assistants, while the health education category includes an allied health instructor certification.

The certifications are valid for three years.

Renewal Information

In order to maintain certification, candidates are required to complete the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) every three years. If they allow their certification to expire and then wish to reinstate, they must submit a completed declaration form documenting all continuing education earned in the previous three years. They must also pay the reinstatement fee, in addition to their current CMP application fee.

Individuals who allow their certification to expire for ten or more years will be required to retake and pass the certification examination in order to reinstate their certification.

To maintain certification from AMT, candidates have to pay an annual fee and every three years, they must demonstrate compliance with the Certification Continuation Program (CCP) or retake and pass the AMT exam, in order to be recertified or reactivated.

If it has been more than ten years since a certification has lapsed, candidates can only recertify via examination.

Benefits of Certification

An ASCP membership can help professionals advance their careers. For over 100 years, the organization has been a leading authority on education, certification, and advocacy for pathologists and laboratory professionals.

Members of the ASCP get a wide range of benefits such as physical and virtual ID cards, online continuing education credits, and an online subscription to the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Additionally, they enjoy perks such as discounts on annual meetings, a daily email digest of diagnosis news, free domestic shipping, and various other educational services and products.

Certification from AMT is highly coveted, as all of AMT’s competency-based credentials are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). AMT ensures that all its certified health professionals are capable and competent individuals. Apart from having rigorous standards, AMT exams are highly secure and cost-effective. What’s more, AMT members enjoy benefits such as continuing education credits, leadership opportunities, online career services, scholarships, and awards.

Who Seeks These Credentials ASCP certification is a professional credential that is sought out by pathologists, laboratory technicians, and technologists. Allied health professionals (e.g., medical laboratory assistants, dental assistants, medical assistants) who are looking to show their skills and competence, learn and grow in their field, and maintain quality in the workplace, generally seek these credentials.
The Bottom Line

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers over 20 professional certifications for pathologists assistants, laboratory technicians, and technologists. It promotes education and development of clinical pathology. Being a member of such a well-respected organization and earning a certification can provide a career boost to pathologists and laboratory professionals.

American Medical Technologists (AMT) is a certification and membership organization for the allied health professionals community. It offers various certifications for laboratory consultants, medical laboratory assistants, and molecular diagnostic technologists.

The exams offered by AMT have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and adhere to the highest standards of quality. Certification and membership in AMT can prove highly beneficial for allied health professionals who wish to upgrade their skills and advance their career.