NAACLS is pleased to announce the launch of two new accreditation avenues. The pathways are Medical Laboratory Microbiologist (MLM) and Public Health Microbiologist (PHM). NAACLS is ready to accept applications from MLM and PHM programs.
MLM professionals perform, develop, evaluate, correlate, and assure accuracy and validity of laboratory information; direct and supervise applied/clinical laboratory resources and operations; and collaborate in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, specifically in the area of medical laboratory microbiology. PHM professionals practice laboratory science as it relates to the investigation of microorganisms and diagnosis of infectious diseases that pose a threat to the public.
Unique Standards for each program type have been adopted and specify requisites for program administration (Standard VII) and curriculum requirements (Standard VIII). In addition, Standard I.A.5 (Sponsorship) has been modified to address sponsoring institutions for PHM programs. A PHM program may be sponsored by a public health laboratory or an organization/corporation of member public health laboratories recognized by the state where it is located. PHM Program do not have to be affiliated with a hospital, medical center or accredited secondary or post-secondary institution.
The accreditation process for these new programs is the same as for all programs currently accredited by NAACLS. A program seeking accreditation should first download (from the NAACLS website) or request an Initial Application Packet. All requests listed in the packet must be satisfied before the process continues. These include providing an intent letter signed by an appropriate administrator, completing the initial application form, paying an initial application fee, and submitting a preliminary report (as defined by the application packet).
Once all these preliminary requirements have been completed and submitted to NAACLS, volunteers will review the application packet and determine if the program has the potential to become a NAACLS accredited program. The program is encouraged to begin preparation of the Self-Study document while the initial application packet is being reviewed. However, the program cannot submit their Self- Study until the Initial Application Packet is approved. The Self – Study report is normally due within three months of the first graduating class to ensure the students who have successfully completed the program would be eligible for the Certification exam. Upon receipt of the Self – Study Report, the program reaches “Serious Applicant Status” and the appropriate fee is assessed. After submission of the Self-Study, NAACLS volunteers evaluate the Program’s self study document. The program must respond to this evaluation and the program is scheduled for a site visit. The program must also respond to the Site Visit Report. Additional steps by NAACLS are included in the accreditation process as all documents pertaining to the program are assessed by the appropriate Review Committee, the NAACLS Quality Assurance Committee evaluates the Review Committee’s recommendation, and finally, the NAACLS Board of Directors determines whether to award or withhold accreditation of the new program.
Through this rigorous process, NAACLS is dedicated to ensuring only high-quality programs are granted accreditation.
Additionally, NAACLS created an accreditation pathway called Biomedical Scientist (BMS). Although this pathway is not fully implemented, it is anticipated applications will be accepted sometime in 2024. Several different professionals are encompassed under the NAACLS-defined umbrella of BMS. The BMS professional is qualified by academic and applied science education to provide service and/or research in existing or emerging professions outside traditional clinical laboratory environments. Examples may include clinical embryologists or nanotechnologists. The specific scope of practice and entry-level competencies will vary depending on each unique profession, and these professionals may work in industry or specialty clinics and laboratories. We will involve professionals from these areas to develop the core documents.
For questions about MLM and PHM accreditation pathways or to request an application packet, contact Michele Giannosa at MGiannosa@naacls.org