Rules and Regulations of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry for Certification in Clinical Chemistry
Applicants who hold ABCC certification in one specialty may be admitted to ABCC examination in another specialty by providing documentation demonstrating appropriate experience in that specialty. That documentation should include at least 24 months full-time (or equivalent part-time) diverse professional experience in the intended specialty.
- General Qualifications
The applicant shall be of good moral character and high ethical and professional standing.
- Educational Requirements
- The applicant must hold an earned doctoral degree (PhD) in a chemical, physical, biological or clinical laboratory science or an MD, DO, DPM or DMD degree from an appropriately accredited university or college acceptable to the Board.
- The applicant must have satisfactorily completed a minimum of 30 semester hours (or equivalent) of undergraduate and/or graduate level courses taken at institutions acceptable to the Board that meet the combined criteria established by each of the ABCC certification disciplines as shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Required Distribution of Coursework by Certification Discipline
Minimum Required Number of Semester Hours per ABCC
Subject Area or Related Courses
Clinical Chemistry and Toxicological Chemistry
Undergraduate or graduate courses in analytic, organic, physical, or general chemistry, or biochemistry
At least 20 hours from Type A & B courses
The remaining 10 hours may include Type A, B or C courses
Undergraduate or graduate courses in toxicology, animal biology, molecular biology, medical genetics, genetics, microbiology, or immunology
Undergraduate or graduate courses in material or computer sciences, or bioinformatics
- Applicants with education obtained at institutions outside the United States or Canada must, at their own expense, have their credentials evaluated by the International Education Research Foundations, Inc., or similar credentialing agency.
- Professional Experience Requirements
- Prior to admission to examination, the applicant must demonstrate five years' full-time (or equivalent part-time) diverse professional experience in the relevant discipline area (clinical chemistry, toxicological chemistry or molecular diagnostics). The experience must be obtained subsequent to conferral of the doctoral degree and in laboratories or institutions maintaining standards in these disciplines that are acceptable to the Board. This experience may be gained as part of and/or outside of a formal training program. Diverse professional experience means working/training in a CLIA-certified clinical diagnosis laboratory for at least 5 years, 24 months of which must be within the intended discipline of examination, with recommended distribution of experience in the following manner: clinical consultancy (50-70%); technical oversight and laboratory work-flow and operations (20-30%), research, method development, and validation (20-30%), quality assurance and regulatory oversight (10-30%). A laboratory director who is qualified to serve as a director of a CLIA-certified laboratory must attest as to the candidate's experience.
- Exceptions to the above professional experience requirements may be made under the following conditions:
- At least one year participation in an accredited training program and appropriate professional experience.
An applicant may apply for early admission to an ABCC examination if by the examination date the applicant can satisfy both of the following conditions:
When an applicant has been admitted under this exception and has successfully passed the ABCC examination, prior to conferral of the ABCC certification, the applicant must have successfully completed the accredited post-doctoral training program acceptable to the Board and must demonstrate 24 months full-time (or equivalent part-time) diverse professional experience. This experience may be gained as part of and/or outside of a formal training program. If an applicant passes the ABCC examination but does not complete the post-doctoral training program, the Board has the right to void the ABCC examination result.
- The applicant will have completed a minimum of one year in a post-doctoral training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Clinical Chemistry (ComACC), the American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG), the American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM), or other entity acceptable to the Board, and relevant to the intended ABCC examination discipline. To be considered for this exception to professional experience requirements, the post-doctoral training program in which the applicant participates must be fully accredited on the deadline date indicated on the ABCC examination application.
- The applicant is able to demonstrate at least 12 months full-time (or equivalent part-time) diverse professional experience in the relevant discipline area (clinical chemistry, toxicological chemistry or molecular diagnostics). The experience must be obtained subsequent to conferral of the doctoral degree and in laboratories or institutions maintaining standards in clinical laboratory science that are acceptable to the Board. This experience may be gained as part of and/or outside of a formal training program. A laboratory director who is qualified to serve as a director of a CLIA-certified laboratory must attest as to the candidate’s experience.
- Relevant alternative Board certification or acceptance as a candidate for board examination and appropriate professional experience.
Applicants may apply for early admission to the ABCC examination if, by the examination date, the applicant can satisfy both of the following conditions:
- The applicant is able to document either 1) board certification or 2) acceptance as a candidate for examination to an examination board acceptable by the ABCC and relevant to the intended discipline. Boards that may be acceptable include but are not be limited to:
- American Board of Bioanalysis - Molecular Diagnostics (ABB)
- American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC)
- American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG)
- American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM)
- American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI)
- American Board of Pathology (ABP)
- American Board of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ABHI)
- American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT)
- American Board of Applied Toxicology (ABAT)
- American Board of Medical Toxicology (ABMT)
- American Board of Preventive Medicine or ABP Medical Toxicology Subspecialty Exam
- The applicant is able to document at least 24 months full-time (or equivalent part-time) diverse professional experience. The experience must be obtained subsequent to conferral of the doctoral degree and in laboratories or institutions maintaining standards in clinical molecular diagnostics or clinical toxicology that are acceptable to the Board. This experience may be gained as part of and/or outside of a formal training program. A laboratory director who is qualified to serve as a director of a CLIA-certified laboratory must attest as to the candidate’s experience.
When an applicant has been admitted under this exception and has successfully passed the ABCC examination, prior to conferral of the ABCC certification, the applicant must have successfully completed requirements for diplomate status from one of the boards acceptable to the ABCC.
When the Board or its committees are satisfied that the requirements for admission as a Candidate for examination have been met, the applicant is designated as a Candidate for examination and will be notified at least 45 days prior to an assigned examination date that:
Application Procedures and Fees
- Upon receipt of confirmation to take the exam on an assigned examination date and, effective January 1, 2004, payment of the current examination fee per exam part, the Candidate will be admitted to a comprehensive written examination.
- Candidates must achieve a passing grade in each part of the examination.
- All parts of the examination must be passed within three years after the date of the first examination for which the applicant is eligible. Failure to take or pass the examination within this time will result in termination of the application and forfeiture of all fees.
- If necessary, all or part of the examination may be repeated one time (only) without reapplication during the three-year eligibility period by notifying the ABCC office of such intent at least 45 days prior to any scheduled examination.
- If unable to successfully complete the examination under the conditions above, the applicant may reapply one additional time, according to the then-current rules for reapplication. The applicant will be required to sit for all parts of the examination regardless of past performance on any one portion.
- Applicants may not have more than one ABCC examination application open concurrently. Before being allowed to apply for ABCC examination in Clinical Chemistry, Toxicological Chemistry, or Molecular Diagnostics, an applicant must bring any current application process to a close by obtaining a certificate, failing two iterations of the examination, or by allowing the 3-year limit to expire before opening another ABCC examination application in the same or different specialty.
- Applications must be submitted using the online form available on the ABCC website in full compliance with the instructions furnished and must be accompanied by the current application fee. Half of the application fee is refunded if the applicant is found ineligible for examination. No refund is made to candidates declared eligible for examination, whether or not they take an examination.
- Applicants must arrange to have official documentation of all degrees awarded, transcripts of academic records, or equivalent documentation of all courses taken and marks earned, submitted directly to the ABCC office by the registrar of every university or other institution of higher education attended. When education was obtained at an institution outside the U.S. or Canada, a course-by-course evaluation must be submitted from the credentials evaluation agency directly to the ABCC office. If a post-doctoral training program was taken, the Program Director must submit a letter describing the nature of the training and attesting to its satisfactory completion by the applicant.
- Applicants must arrange for three letters of reference to be submitted by the originators directly to the ABCC office. These must be current at the time the application is submitted and should attest to familiarity with the applicant’s professional expertise, the length of acquaintance, and the good character of the applicant insofar as pertinent to the Board. Current ABCC Credentials Committee members may not serve as references.
- All official documents, letters of reference, and any other information required must be received in the ABCC office within nine months after submission of the application forms and fees. Failure to meet this requirement will terminate the application without prejudice. The application fee, minus a $50 service fee, will be returned to the applicant.
- Applicants should apply a minimum of four months prior to an anticipated examination date. The Board takes no action on incomplete applications (lacking, for example, a transcript or letter of recommendation). Only applicants admitted to Candidacy at least 45 days prior to an examination date may take the examination on that date.
- Examinations are administered in July at the AACC Annual Meeting and in February at several locations in the U.S.
Continuing Education Requirements
- An individual may reapply for certification only once per specialty.
- A new application for certification and the current application fee must be submitted to the ABCC office.
- The applicant’s reapplication must allow at least one exam sitting to elapse between eligibility periods.
- The applicant must arrange for three letters of reference to be submitted by the originators directly to the ABCC office. These must be current at the time the application is submitted and should attest to familiarity with the applicant’s professional expertise, the length of acquaintance, and the good character of the applicant insofar as pertinent to the Board.
- In the absence of information to the contrary, all prior documentation of education and experience will be deemed by the ABCC to meet the requirements in effect at the time of original application and will be accepted for reapplication.
- When the above conditions are met, the applicant will be allowed to take the examination in accordance with prevailing rules and regulations governing the taking of the examination.
- Effective January 1, 2004, Diplomates of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry must document 50 contact hours of participation every two years in an organized continuing education (CE) experience acceptable to the Board in order to maintain listing in the directory of Active Diplomates.
- The Board accepts education activities that are Category 1 CME-or ACCENT-approved as well as education activities provided by state laboratory agencies in the U.S. Routine professional activities do not satisfy continuing education requirements. Satisfactory CE credits must be from a recognized provider of CE. Examples of CE providers acceptable to the Board include ASCP, CAP, ACS, American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, Society of Forensic Toxicologists, American Academy of Forensic Science, and the Royal College of Pathologists in the UK. The Board reserves the right to accept other educational activities in satisfaction of the CE credit requirement upon prior application to the Board by the person, organization, or entity sponsoring or providing the educational activity.
- All continuing education must reflect the scope of practice of clinical laboratory medicine and must be obtained during the two-year period, January 1—December 31, immediately prior to submitting documentation.
- Diplomates will be notified every two years of the CE requirement. In addition to attesting they have completed the required 50 hours of CE for the previous two years, Diplomates must submit the current CE renewal fee by February 1 of the appropriate year in order to remain in the directory of Active Diplomates. The requirement for CE is waived for the calendar year during which Diplomate status is achieved. A percentage of Diplomates will be audited each year to determine compliance with the CE requirements. Diplomates who are audited must provide copies of their transcripts or attendance certificates for category 1 CE as reported for the CE renewal period. All Diplomates are responsible for maintaining documentation of their category 1 CE for three years past attendance in order to comply with the audit if selected.
- Diplomates may re-establish active status by submitting documentation of CE and annual fees for the preceding one-year period. An additional service fee of $100 must accompany the request.
- Records will be maintained in the ABCC office for active members and the ABCC directory will include names of active members only at the time of printing.
General Provisions Concerning Certification
- ABCC reserves the right to deny Certification for cause.
- Certificates issued by the Board are not transferable. They may be revoked for misrepresentation, or other valid causes.
- Successful candidates are issued a Certificate of Qualification by the Board to attest to their status as Diplomates of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. Persons holding a valid Certificate of Qualification issued by the Board are entitled to use the designation “Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry” and the initials “DABCC” whenever professionally appropriate.
- Standards, requirements, and application procedures for Certification are subject to revision by the Board. The latest official version is available from the ABCC office.
- Diplomates of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry who complete the required continuing education requirements are referred to as Active members.
This brochure is a summary of the by-laws and not a substitute for the by-laws.