Technologist in Chemistry C (ASCP) Certification - Eligibility & Testing
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Complicated and precise lab tests are often necessary to make quick and accurate medical diagnoses. Physicians rely on educated and trained laboratory personnel to perform a variety of tests on cells, tissues, and bodily fluids. One key player in labs is a clinical chemistry technologist who uses chemical processes to examine DNA, determine the chemical composition of samples, and analyze cells.
Professionals can enter this field either through education or on-the-job training. Most clinical chemistry technologists have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field. Students should ensure the program they attend is at least regionally accredited as this is required for certification or to pursue further education.
Certification in this field is voluntary, but it is highly recommended. Not only does certification demonstrate competency in the field, but it may also be required for employment or advancement. The most common certification is the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Technologist in Chemistry (C) certification.
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians, including clinical chemistry technologists, are currently in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2019 and 2029, there will be a 7 percent increase in jobs in this field nationally, which is almost twice the expected growth average for all jobs in the same decade (4 percent). Professionals in this field earn a median salary of $53,120 per year.
Details on how to earn a Technologist in Chemistry C (ASCP) certification can be found below, including eligibility requirements, how to prepare for the exam, and renewal requirements.
Early Preparation in High School to Become a Technologist in Chemistry
Education for aspiring clinical chemistry technologists starts in high school. The first step is obtaining a high school diploma or GED. Earning a diploma or GED demonstrates a commitment to completing a course of education and a minimum level of education.
Students interested in this field should focus on science courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Advanced placement classes can help prepare students for the rigors of college-level coursework as well as help them earn college credit while in high school.
Clinical chemistry technologists are allied health professionals who work in medical labs, hospitals, or research labs. They can determine the chemical and hormonal contents of cells, analyze DNA, and examine tissues.
With their analysis, physicians can make quick and accurate diagnoses. While certification in this field is optional, it is highly recommended as many employers require it. The primary certification clinical chemistry technologists earn is the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Technologist in Chemistry (C) certification.
American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Technologist in Chemistry (C) Certification Eligibility
To be eligible to sit for the technologist in chemistry C(ASCP) certification exam, candidates must meet one of the following six pathways:
- Hold a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) certification and have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in biology or chemistry or another degree and have 30 semester-hours (45 quarter-hours) in biology and chemistry, and have one year of full-time clinical work experience in chemistry in an accredited laboratory within the last five years.
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in biology or chemistry or another degree and have 30 semester-hours (45 quarter-hours) in biology and chemistry, and complete a National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) accredited chemistry program within the last five years.
- Hold a master’s degree in chemistry or a related field and have six months of full-time clinical work experience in chemistry in an accredited laboratory within the last five years.
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in biology or chemistry or another degree and have 30 semester-hours (45 quarter-hours) in biology and chemistry, and complete a National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) accredited medical laboratory scientist program within the last five years.
- Have clinical laboratory experience in the past five years in eight of the following 15 procedures: blood gases, carbohydrates, electrolytes, electrophoresis, enzymes, heme compounds, hormones/vitamins, immunochemistry, lipids/lipoproteins, non-protein nitrogen compounds, point-of-care, proteins, quality management, therapeutic drug monitoring, toxicology
C(ASCP) Exam Preparation
To sit for the Technologist in Chemistry (C) certification, candidates must submit an online application and pay a $240 application fee. For the ASCP to determine if a candidate is eligible for the exam, applicants must submit supporting documentation, including transcripts, diplomas, and work experience documentation. Once payment, documentation, and the application are received, an evaluator reviews them. Once approved, a candidate will receive an admission to test email.
Once a letter of admission to test has been received, candidates can schedule their exam. This exam consists of 100 questions, and candidates have two and a half hours to complete it. Topics covered in this exam include:
- General chemistry
- Proteins and enzymes
- Acid‐base, blood gases, and electrolytes
- Special chemistry
- Laboratory operations
The ASCP publishes a comprehensive guide of journals, texts, and online materials candidates should review when preparing for this exam. Candidates should carefully review the list to ensure they are familiar with all the study materials. Some of the suggested reading includes:
- “Contemporary Practice in Clinical Chemistry. 3rd Edition” by W. Clarke
- “Clinical Chemistry: Principles, Techniques, and Correlations. 8th Edition” by M.L. Bishop
- “Clinical Laboratory Management. 2nd Edition” by L.S Garcia
- American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
- AACC Professional Practice in Clinical Chemistry
- AACC Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council (CCTC)
C(ASCP) Certification Renewal
Technologist in Chemistry (C) certification is valid for three years. To renew, certificate holders must complete the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) continuing education requirements. The requirements are:
- Submit an online renewal application
- Pay $95 renewal fee
- Earn 36 CMP points with at least one in laboratory or patient safety, two in chemistry, and the remainder in lab specialty, management, education, or other related laboratory areas of interest