The American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC) is a not-for-profit organization, incorporated in 1950, devoted to certification of individuals with doctoral level degrees in the practice of clinical chemistry, toxicological chemistry, and other clinical laboratory medicine disciplines.
Applicants with education obtained at an institution outside the U.S. or Canada must, at their expense, have their credentials evaluated by an acceptable agency. Official documentation by the agency must be submitted directly to the ABCC Administrative Office.
The agency must provide the following information:
Confirmation of degree status
Breakdown of credits for all undergraduate and graduate chemistry and biochemistry courses with grade equivalents
Some agencies that provide this service are:
International Education Research Foundation
PO Box 3665
Culver City, CA 90231-3665
Phone: (310) 258-9451 www.ierf.org
Educational Credential Evaluators
PO Box 514070
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470
Phone: (414) 289-3400 www.ece.org
Academic and Professional International Evaluations
PO Box 5787
Los Alamitos, CA 90721-5787
Phone (562) 594-6498 www.apie.org
Josef Silny & Associates Inc. International Education Consultants
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
Ph: 305-273-1616 www.jsilny.com
The applicant shall be of good moral character and high ethical and professional standing.
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
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
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:
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
As of January 1, 2004 Diplomates of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry must document 50 contact hours of continuing education (CE) credit every two years in order to maintain listing in the directory of active Diplomates. The following describes in more detail the requirements for continuing education. Documentation of CE may be done online. Complete Form
Continuing education requirements will consist of 2 categories:
Category 1: Documented CE – 30 hours minimum (Traditional CE from an accredited provider). Category 1 CE will consist of those activities that are accepted by approved providers of continuing education as described in section B.
Category 2: Self reported CE – 20 hours maximum (CE obtained from professional activities). Category 2 CE will consist of the following:
Publications (papers, books, abstracts)
Category 1 Details
For category 1 CE the Board accepts education activities that are Category 1 approved by any of the providers listed below as well as education activities provided by state laboratory agencies in the U.S. Routine professional activities do not satisfy category 1, but may satisfy category 2 CE requirements.
Satisfactory category 1 CE credits must be from a recognized provider of CE. Examples of CE providers and accreditation acceptable to the Board but are not limited to Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), American Academy of Forensic Science, American Board of Bioanalysts (ABB), American Chemical Society (ACS), American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, American Medical Association (AMA), the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP), American Society of Microbiology (ASM), Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), California Association for Medical Laboratory Technology (CAMLT), California Association of Toxicologists, Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists (CSCC) , College of American Pathologists (CAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA), Clinical Ligand Assay Society (CLAS), the Colorado Association for Continuing Medical Laboratory Education, Inc. (CACMLE), the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Royal College of Pathologists, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, , and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists.
Continuing education accredited by the States of California and Florida’s Clinical Laboratory Personnel Continuing Education Program is also acceptable as Category 1 credits.
Other CE Providers
The Board reserves the right to accept other educational activities in satisfaction of the Category 1 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. Therefore, if in doubt whether a CE activity applies for Category 1 credit, check with the Board prior to attending for acceptability. Please send information to ABCC Coordinator at the following address: ABCC, 900 7th Street, N.W. Suite 400, Washington, DC 20001
All inquiries will be forwarded to the Board’s Continuing Education Committee and a decision on the acceptability of the program will be communicated to the interested party. Every attempt will be made to return a decision within two weeks after receipt of the information.
Content of CE
All continuing education must reflect the scope of practice of clinical laboratory medicine regardless of specialty. Therefore, all Diplomates may achieve CE credit in any area of Laboratory Medicine. For example CE credit may be obtained through clinical chemistry related CE topics for those boarded in toxicology. Alternatively, those who are boarded in chemistry may achieve CE credit through hematology or laboratory management related topics exclusively.
Category 2 Details
Non-accredited seminars: Formal scientific career-related continuing education programs that are not category 1. One hour of CE is allocated per hour of non-accredited seminar.
Teaching: Teaching of laboratory medicine or career-related subjects. Presentations in workshops and seminars. One hour of CE is allocated per hour of presentation.
Papers: A paper, which has been published during the year in a recognized (indexed) journal or presented before a professional audience. Five hours of CE are allocated for first author; 4 hours of CE for corresponding author if not first author; 2 hours of CE for middle authors.
Books: Each chapter of a medically related book. Eight hours of CE are allocated for each book chapter.
Exhibits: Development of a technical scientific exhibit displayed at a national scientific meeting. Two hours of CE are allocated only for the presenter of a poster/oral presentation at a national scientific meeting.
Documenting Continuing Education Activities
Diplomates will be notified every two years of the CE requirement. CE activities must be obtained during the two-year period, January 1—December 31, immediately prior to submitting documentation and must total at least 50 hours for the preceding 2 years. In addition to attesting they have completed the required CE, 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.
Initial Year of Certification
The requirement for CE is waived for the calendar year during which Diplomate status is achieved. New Diplomates are required to begin earning CE the year following receipt of their Diplomate status.
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 (transcripts or attendance certificates) of their category 1 CE for three years past attendance in order to comply with the audit if selected.
Reinstating Active Status
Diplomates who have allowed active status to lapse may reinstate active status by submitting documentation of CE and annual fees for the preceding one-year period. The current CE fees are $125 per year, to be paid at the time of renewal.
Directory of Active Diplomates
A directory of active Diplomates is published with the names of Diplomates who have demonstrated continued competency by completing continuing education in laboratory science during the previous two years. To ensure they are included in the directory, Diplomates must submit documentation of CE by February 1 of the appropriate year.
ABCC Initiates Use of Non-Disclosure Agreement for Exam Candidates
In a move to further safeguard its exam content, ABCC will ask exam candidates to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to sitting for examination beginning with its 2015 exams. The non-disclosure form will ask candidates to agree not to disclose, use, or discuss any of the contents of exam materials. ABCC’s agreement has been modeled after forms used by other certifying bodies for this purpose. Questions or comments may be directed to ABCC office staff Joyce Arregui at ABCCadministrator@aacc.org.