RECOGNIZING the growing importance of molecular pathology, the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) established a new certification program in this diagnostic specialty.
Offered since June 2003, 18 people have passed the examination and can use the designation “MP (ASCP).” Pre-requisites for the MP designation are a baccalaureate degree and on-the-job training in molecular pathology.
This sets the MP designation apart from other MT certifications, such as blood bank or chemistry. These generally require a prescribed route of education, a post-baccalaureate degree coupled with three years of full-time acceptable clinical laboratory experience in the exam specialty (done under the supervision of a pathologist), and an examination.
ASCP’s MP certification was designed to reflect an essential fact. Molecular pathology skills are in high demand. Thus, medical technologists trained in this work are usually not cross-trained and rotated into other sections of the laboratory. Their duties tend to be exclusively focused on molecular testing responsibilities.
Among other things, a candidate for the MP certification must demonstrate that he/she is capable of performing a full range of molecular laboratory procedures, including interpretation of standard, complex, and specialized tests. The candidate must also demonstrate an understanding of all the associated quality controls, troubleshooting techniques, validation procedures, and preventative maintenance of instruments used in molecular procedures.
Included in the examination are questions on solving problems, analytical decision-making, effective methods for communicating test results and explaining the methodologies to other health professionals and consumers. Other requirements address teaching and training responsibilities, along with supervision and management issues.
Candidates can take the MP examination anytime during the year. The exam is offered in a computer-based format at NCS Pearson Professional Centers located throughout the United States.
The ASCP Molecular Pathology Examination Committee is chaired by Frederick Nolte, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. He is also the university’s Director of Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Diagnostic Labs.