Application Requirements

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.

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.

Table 1. Required Distribution of Coursework by Certification Discipline 

Minimum Required Number of Semester Hours per ABCC
Certification Discipline
Course Classification Subject Area or Related Courses Clinical Chemistry and Toxicological Chemistry Molecular Diagnostics
Type A Undergraduate or graduate courses in analytic, organic, physical, or general chemistry, or biochemistry 28 hours At least 20 hours from Type A & B courses

The remaining 10 hours may include Type A, B or C courses

Type B Undergraduate or graduate courses in toxicology, animal biology, molecular biology, medical genetics, genetics, microbiology, or immunology 2 hours
Type C Undergraduate or graduate courses in material or computer sciences, or bioinformatics

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.

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.

Exceptions to the above professional experience requirements may be made under the following conditions:

Exception 1: 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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.

Exception 2: 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:

  1. The applicant is able to document board certification or 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
  2. 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 Exception 2 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.

Examinations

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:

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.

Reapplication 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.

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.