FAQs about CMP

Please explain the difference between certification, registration and ASCP membership. There seems to be some confusion and perhaps a misunderstanding that the CMP will be used to ensure ASCP membership.

Certification by the ASCP Board of Certification requires completion of the eligibility requirements and successful completion of the appropriate certification examination. Previously, certification did not have an expiration date. Individuals who became ASCP certified in 2004 and beyond (dependent on the category) and all active NCA certificants are required to maintain their certification through the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) every three years.

Certification and maintenance of certification are not based upon membership in any organization.

I am interested in why the CMP was started when every place I have been employed requires us to have yearly continuing education and regulatory agencies require continuing proof of our competency.

This may be your experience, but many places do not require employees to participate in obtaining continuing education courses and the requirements are inconsistent among those that do. Additionally, not all states require that medical laboratory professionals obtain a state license to work in the laboratory. This program demonstrates on a national level that everyone who is awarded the ASCP CMP designation is assuring the public and their peers that they are maintaining their competence throughout their career. Nearly all of the continuing education courses required by employers and regulatory agencies are accepted for CMP.

If one becomes certified in 2004 and beyond but fails to complete or participate in the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) program, what happens? Will ASCP certification be revoked? How do I become reinstated?

ASCP Certifications issued effective 2004 and beyond (dependent on the category) and all active NCA certifications are valid for a three year period. If someone certified under the CMP fails to participate, their certification will no longer be valid after the certification validation date indicated on their certificate. If you allow your certification to expire and then seek reinstatement, you must submit a declaration form verifying completion of all CMP points required for your category within the last three years. You must also pay a reinstatement fee of $50 plus the $75 CMP application fee.

I was certified as an MLT(ASCP) in 1999 and have gone back to school to get my MLS degree. I am going to graduate this year and hope to take and pass the MLS exam this summer. Will I be required to participate in the CMP since I have already been ASCP certified prior to 2004?

You will be required to participate in the CMP program in order to maintain your MLS(ASCP) certification only. You are not required to participate in the CMP program for any ASCP certification(s) obtained prior to 2004.

I've been certified for years with the ASCP, will I be required to participate in the Credential Maintenance Program? The newsletter I received indicated that the CMP is required starting in January 2004.

The Credential Maintenance Program will be required only for those individuals newly ASCP certified in 2004 and beyond, however voluntary participation is encouraged for those ASCP certified prior to 2004.

Will individuals be allowed to start the program before the assigned date?

Points accumulated toward meeting the CMP must be obtained between the years of certification validation, e.g. if the certification validation period is January 2012 through January 2015 all points must be completed within this validation period. Any points obtained before or after your certification validation period will not be acceptable and cannot be carried over to a later period.

I'm not required to participate in the CMP program because I received my ASCP certification prior to January 2004; however, I plan to participate on a voluntary basis. For the past ten years, I have actively been involved in continuing education courses and teleconferences. What years of my activities will be accepted and what date shall I begin to apply for the CMP?

You may apply for the CMP program by submitting your completed declaration form. If you applied in January 2012, points would be awarded for any activities completed January 2009 through January 2012.

I recently became ASCP certified and am beginning to obtain points toward the CMP. Although my certification expires in 2014, should I send in my exam certificates as I accumulate them or do I wait until I have all of my points and send them in at that time?

Please do not send any documentation to the ASCP Board of Certification for the CMP program. To apply, you only need to submit the completed and signed declaration form and fee. Documentation of the required points will be requested only if your declaration is selected for audit.

Can the credits I earn toward my CMP count in more than one area?

Yes, some activities can be classified into more than one area; however, CMP points cannot do double duty. For example, a case study in Immunohematology qualifies as immunology, hematology, or blood banking. If this case study was assigned 2 CMLE (2 CMP points), you could apply 1 point to immunology and 1 point to hematology OR 2 points to blood banking OR 2 points to immunology, etc., but you could not apply 2 points to each of these three areas.

I am certified as an HTL(ASCP). I have just received the Qualification in Immunohistochemistry, QIHC certificate which is valid through 2015. Can I use the same continuing education activities for the QIHC for the CMP?

Activities related to your area of certification and obtained within the required time frame will be acceptable for both the QIHC revalidation and the CMP.

I'm a Lab Director and would like to know if inspecting a lab fulfills the 2 points minimum requirement in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology and microbiology?

On-site inspections for laboratory accreditations are only granted 2 points per year. As a CAP or JACHO Inspector, this point will be accepted to fulfill one of the required areas in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology and microbiology. An Inspector for AABB can receive 2 points in blood banking only. As an Inspector, you will need to identify on your declaration form the organization you represent and what one area of the laboratory you wish to apply the point toward.

In our laboratory, we participate in CAP inter-laboratory comparison program and submit our answers as a single laboratory answer. Although each tech takes the test, we send in one group answer for 24 of us and we do not receive individual certificates, how may this activity be documented and how many points is this CAP test worth?

This activity is accepted provided documentation of participation can be established for all individual participants. The employer should maintain a record of each individual's participation and document the contact hours. One contact hour equals 50-60 minutes which is equivalent to one (1) CMP point.

About employer-offered courses, is there a required assessment that they should also give along with the lectures? How many hours should be counted and if there is no other requirement other than attendance, what makes one not want to get all 36 credits this way?

Employer-offered courses must be specifically documented by the use of an attendance sheet, letter or a report provided by the employer documenting your participation. The number of hours attended are counted as contact hours and may be counted as: 50 - 60 minutes equals one (1) contact hour, one (1) contact hour equals one (1) CMP point. If you are able to obtain all 36 points through employer-offered courses and can provide the required documentation, this activity would be acceptable.

I am an ASCP member living in a foreign country and I would like to participate in the CMP, what facilities are available for me to gain my points online?

Many membership organizations offer a number of online continuing education courses. If you belong to a membership or other professional organizations, we would suggest you contact them directly regarding online courses which they may offer.

Please give me some examples of what would count for “in-service” or employer-offered courses.

Instructor training, video or audio conferences covering such topics as laboratory infection control, autoimmune disease or instrument and equipment training to name a few. Contact hours must be assigned, certificates distributed, or participation recorded by your employer.

I am in a licensure state. Can the credits I earn to maintain licensure also be submitted for CMP credit?

Yes, activities required by state licensure boards will be considered acceptable activities for the CMP, provided they are formally documented.

Are courses in Canada accepted for the CMP program?

We will accept courses approved by the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS).

As a Laboratory Supervisor, I verify the certification of my staff. Currently I am provided with their certification category and year of certification. What can I expect in terms of certification verification status for those who do not comply with the CMP who were ASCP certified after 2004?

Verification of Certification is available online through the ASCP website. You will be provided with the individual’s certification category, number and valid dates. If a person is ASCP certified in 2004 and beyond does not comply with the CMP, their certification will appear as expired and will no longer be valid.

Cytotechnologists in California must document 24 hours of approved CE every two years in order to maintain their California CT license. Will all California CT's also be required to document and submit the same hours to ASCP in order to maintain their CT(ASCP) certification?

Cytotechnologists who are ASCP certified in January 2004 and beyond will be required to complete 36 points of continued competency activities every three years. Activities accepted by the California State Licensure Board will be considered acceptable activities for the CMP.

Will ASCP provide a list of professional education agencies where individuals may acquire continuing education?

The Board of Certification currently has a partial list of agencies and will continue to update this list. Each individual will be responsible for locating the agencies that will meet the activity requirements. Due to the large volume of continuing education programs, we will not be able to accommodate any requests for individual program approval.

What do I need to do if my certification expires?

If you allow your certification to expire and then seek reinstatement, you must submit a Declaration Form and documentation of all points earned within the previous three years as required by your certification category. You must also pay a reinstatement fee of $50 plus the $75 CMP application fee.

If your certificate has lapsed for ten (10) or more years, you will be required to retake and pass the certification examination for reinstatement for your certification.

When exactly does my certification expire?

Your certification is valid through the last day of the month as printed on your certificate.