Meeting of the Board of Regents | April 2008
Conceptual Discussion on Clinical Laboratory Technology Educational Requirements
March 27, 2008
Issue for Discussion
The purpose of this item is to update the Professional Practice Committee on the education requirements for the professions of clinical laboratory technology, cytotechnology and certified clinical laboratory technician.
Reason(s) for Consideration
Required by statute.
This item will be discussed at the April 2008 Regents meeting. It will then be prepared as a formal regulatory submission for future consideration by the Professional Practice Committee and the full board.
The Clinical Laboratory Technology Practice Act was enacted by Chapter 755 of the Laws of 2004 and became effective September 1, 2006. The new law created three new professions: clinical laboratory technologist, certified clinical laboratory technician, and cytotechnologist. Regulations implementing the law relating to the licensing examination, the issuance of limited permits, and the grandparenting of practitioners were approved by the Board of Regents at its July 2006 meeting. The Board of Regents also adopted interim regulations for the professional study required for entry into the three new professions. Since that time, there have been extensive discussions by the State Board for Clinical Laboratory Technology and the Department with educational programs, professional associations, members of the industry, legislators and legislative staff and others concerning the development of the professional study entry requirements.
The Education Department is responsible under the law for establishing the educational requirements for the three new professions. After questions were raised by some programs concerning the originally proposed regulations, the Department engaged in a series of meetings with education program directors, professional associations, the industry, legislators and legislative staff to gather additional information and recommendations about the entry-level educational components. On four occasions from July 2006 through November 2007, program directors from over sixty programs that are currently registered for general purposes in these professional areas were sent information describing the revised education recommendations that had been made in response to comments. On each occasion, the program directors were asked how their programs conformed to the recommended curricula, the economic impact of implementing changes, if needed, and for additional comments. The State Board for Clinical Laboratory Technology has continuously considered these comments and made adjustments to hone the entry requirements to those considered essential by the education community, the industry and consumers.
As a result of those surveys, meetings, and discussions, it has been clarified that the prescribed areas of study do not require full courses in each area, but rather require curricular content as coursework; under this approach coursework in a number of areas may be included in a single course or in the clinical portion of the program, and programs have been helped to understand this concept. Additionally, changes have been made in the areas in which coursework and/or laboratory clinical experience is required. In March 2008, the Board recommended that the coursework in anatomy and physiology with laboratory be reworded to more clearly define its intent to “physiology, with anatomy content, and laboratory.” At this time, they also recommended removing histological techniques as a requirement for purposes of registration as a licensure-qualifying program, but recommended reminding programs that the graduates who intend to enter this area of practice must gain the competence to do so.
The State Board and Department have viewed the purpose of establishing education requirements as providing a core education that will enable practitioners to have the fundamental knowledge needed to provide competent and safe professional services and to be able to obtain ongoing education, as needed through formal education, training, or supervised experience to gain new competencies. Since there are no statutorily based education requirements for licensees to meet in order to learn new competencies and since disciplinary rules limit licensees to practice in those areas in which they have reason to know that they are competent to practice, it is considered essential that the entry requirements for the profession be sufficient to provide a basis for entry level practice and for growth in the profession.
At this time, all outstanding concerns have been addressed in the proposed education recommendations, and, from the information gathered from at least 40 of the currently registered programs, the curricular content appears to be already contained within their programs.
In summary, the proposed education requirements contain some content that is common to the three professions, and some content that is specific to each profession. In all three professions, the program shall be a program leading to an appropriate degree or advanced certificate which contains didactic and clinical education that integrates pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical components of laboratory services, including the principles and practices of quality assurance/quality improvement; and which is designed to prepare graduates to practice each of the three professions using independent judgment and responsibility. Each profession shall include curricular content in statistics, infection control and universal precautions, and ethics. In addition, each profession shall require a supervised clinical experience of various durations, and specific content appropriate to the profession. Clinical laboratory technologists and cytotechnologist will be required to study organic chemistry and the maintenance of equipment and records.
To avoid confusion, the other requirements for each area are separately listed below, although in some instances, they are the same or similar. Some coursework areas require laboratories, which are appropriate for a program in clinical laboratory science (another name commonly used in the professions).
Cytotechnology: inorganic chemistry, anatomy and physiology, cell biology, cytopathology, cytopreparatory techniques, microscopic evaluation and interpretation, human genetics, immunology, and clinical microbiology.
Clinical laboratory technology: inorganic chemistry, analytic chemistry and/or biochemistry, clinical chemistry, physiology (with anatomy content), immunology/serology, immunohematology (Blood Bank), hematology/hemostasis, and body fluids, molecular biology and diagnostics, and microbiology and clinical microbiology, including bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, and virology.
Clinical laboratory technician: inorganic chemistry, clinical chemistry, physiology (with anatomy content), microbiology, including clinical microbiology, immunology and serology, hematology/hemostasis, clinical microscopy, including body fluids, and immunohematology.