Question about "Grandfathering" for the experienced NON-Certified PA's

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DT in Saint Louis, Missouri

66 months ago

I am a Non-Certified PA with almost 10 years of experience at a Hospital with 26000 cases and 2 full-time PA's. I am attempting to gather as much information as possible on any known "grandfather" clause or any information that states that an experienced PA who has been traianed under a Pathologist is qualified to work . A little background......I was unable to test for certification in 2005 because the previous Pathology Group President refused to sign. There were certain aspects that we did not cover at the hospital but we could have obtained the training from another Pathology Group in our area. Now,the hospital/Pathology Group is seeking to terminate myself and the other PA's (12 yrs experience) on the grounds we are not certified. If anyone has the above mentioned info OR know of someone who was able to successfully present/argue the benefits of having the skilled PA's, PLEASE reply with your email and I will do the same.

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Deb Evans in Evergreen, Colorado

63 months ago

Certification from the ASCP website that I found for you.

To be sure that laboratory workers are competent and able to
perform high quality laboratory tests, the Board of Registry of the
American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) gives a national
certification exam. Students take this exam after meeting their
academic and laboratory education requirements. To be eligible
for the pathologists’ assistant certification exam, applicants must
have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college
or university and successful completion of a pathologists’ assistant
program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical
Laboratory Sciences within the previous five years. Applicants may
also qualify for the exam with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally
accredited college or university with 20 semester hours (or 30 quarter
hours) of biology, and three years full-time acceptable experience
as a pathologists’ assistant within the past 10 years. This on-the-job
training route will be discontinued Jan. 1, 2008. Those who pass
the exam may use the initials PA(ASCP) after their names to show
they are proficient in their field. Certification is valid for three years.
To demonstrate competency throughout their careers after their
initial certification, pathologists’ assistants must complete a
Certification Maintenance Program every three years.

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Royce in Cincinnati, Ohio

63 months ago

Unfortunately, it will not now be possible to sit for the Certification exam. Therefore, getting "grandfathered" into an AAPA Fellowship status is not possible. The route (route 2) for that had an application deadline of December 2007. Even then it was tenuious. I had the work experience covered, but there was an educational component required as well. Having had a master's in chemistry, I assumed this would be no problem; it was! My saving grace was that I had completed the first two years of medical school and was able to pull in those educational hours to qualify.

And although the preference now is certainly for certified personnel; it is by no means a requisite for all PA jobs.
I do locums work and am currently on assignment in the Cincinnati area. There are two other "grossers" in the lab. One is a "grossing tech"(a phrase I'd never heard until this assignment) and the other is an uncertifed PA who, like you, has experience, but wasn't exam elibible. If your current employer decides to terminate, you may consider doing locums work and use that as a means to find a new job. I'd say about 50% of the places I've had assignments to, have not had certified PAs (or not all of them were).

Hope this helps

Royce

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Shonda in Tulsa, Oklahoma

42 months ago

Hey where would I search to find some jobs for non- certified PA jobs? I have 6 years on the job experience and can't seem to find too many places that hire without certification! Thanks for the help!

Royce in Cincinnati, Ohio said: Unfortunately, it will not now be possible to sit for the Certification exam. Therefore, getting "grandfathered" into an AAPA Fellowship status is not possible. The route (route 2) for that had an application deadline of December 2007. Even then it was tenuious. I had the work experience covered, but there was an educational component required as well. Having had a master's in chemistry, I assumed this would be no problem; it was! My saving grace was that I had completed the first two years of medical school and was able to pull in those educational hours to qualify.

And although the preference now is certainly for certified personnel; it is by no means a requisite for all PA jobs.
I do locums work and am currently on assignment in the Cincinnati area. There are two other "grossers" in the lab. One is a "grossing tech"(a phrase I'd never heard until this assignment) and the other is an uncertifed PA who, like you, has experience, but wasn't exam elibible. If your current employer decides to terminate, you may consider doing locums work and use that as a means to find a new job. I'd say about 50% of the places I've had assignments to, have not had certified PAs (or not all of them were).

Hope this helps

Royce

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Paul in West Babylon, New York

38 months ago

My advice is to go move to NY. Almost every job in NY I've seen only asks for a bachelor's degree and a New York State License as a Clinical Lab Technician/Technologist (so that you can work in the hospitals). That's really all you need. Why most jobs up here aren't asking for ASCP certification is a little strange...

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abid jawad in Paterson, New Jersey

33 months ago

DT in Saint Louis, Missouri said: I am a Non-Certified PA with almost 10 years of experience at a Hospital with 26000 cases and 2 full-time PA's. I am attempting to gather as much information as possible on any known "grandfather" clause or any information that states that an experienced PA who has been traianed under a Pathologist is qualified to work . A little background......I was unable to test for certification in 2005 because the previous Pathology Group President refused to sign. There were certain aspects that we did not cover at the hospital but we could have obtained the training from another Pathology Group in our area. Now,the hospital/Pathology Group is seeking to terminate myself and the other PA's (12 yrs experience) on the grounds we are not certified. If anyone has the above mentioned info OR know of someone who was able to successfully present/argue the benefits of having the skilled PA's, PLEASE reply with your email and I will do the same.

Hi,
I am going through the same now.Can anybody tell me whether there is a grandfathering or any other route available for appearing in certification exam. I have more than 7 years of experience working in a reputed hospital in NY.
Abid
abid_02@hotmail.com

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Shonda in Tulsa, Oklahoma

33 months ago

There is no "grandfathering" anymore, BUT if you have at least an associates degree I believe that you could be considered legal under CLIA '88. I have also been trained on the job by two pathologists and have worked for the past 6 years as a PA, but like you am kind of stuck as everyone is asking for certification. I'm not sure of the stipulations with the CLIA situation, just started checking it out myself, but something worth looking in to! PS - the pathologist that wouldn't sign off on you is a DUMB***!

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PathAsst in Malverne, New York

27 months ago

Hey guys,

I'd just like to follow up with you about the issue of ASCP certification. Royce's comment above is VERY helpful, and for those non-certified PA's out there, he hit the nail on the head.

I pursued a Master's degree in the field solely for the purpose of obtaining ASCP certification. In fact, I'm still in the program, but I have come to the conclusion that it's not worth my time and money just to get this piece of paper. The university is creating an exceptionally hostile environment for me, and they prefer to accept people who have no prior experience at all in the field. Apparently, those with too much knowledge in the field are at a disadvantage. The bureaucratic red tape involved in pursuing such a degree, when you already have prior experience and training, is not healthy for anyone.

Therefore, my suggestion is that if you're already in the PA field, stay at your current job and don't worry about ASCP certification. Royce is correct in that there are plenty of jobs out there that do not require such certification (whether as a PA or as a grossing technician/technologist). The field is in very high demand, and they need people who know how to get the job done and who have the stomach for it. There are so many national staffing agencies out there that will place you in contract or temp to perm positions, and a vast majority of these positions do not require ASCP certification. The complexity level of many of these jobs does not even require the level of expertise that an ASCP certification affords, so those who are already ASCP-certified are "overqualified" for these types of jobs. Since they're qualified to perform more complex work, why would they go for grossing technologist jobs?

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PathAsst in Malverne, New York

27 months ago

Bottom line is that if you're already working in the field, stay there if you so desire. It's not worth the aggravation going for ASCP certification through a Master's-level program when you already have the knowledge and experience. The NAACLS-AAPA did a great disservice to every non-certified PA (and to the profession itself) when they changed the certification requirements around. It's all well and good to be all "gung-ho" about instituting a new "gold standard" for the profession, but they're harming it more than helping it due to the small size and ever-increasing demand of the field.

Limiting the certification route to only graduation from a NAACLS-accredited PA program is the worst thing that organization did for the Pathologist's Assistant profession. In essence, by narrowing it down this much, they are in fact ASSISTING in contributing to the shortage of qualified PAs. And when the demand for this type of work is ever-increasing, this just compounds the problem.

Hope this helps!

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abid jawad in Paterson, New Jersey

27 months ago

I think contacting your area state representatives to make or suggest changes to state licensure requirements (like NY state and others)for pathologist assistant jobs is important. More so given the ACUTE shortage of laboratory personnel in general and Pathologist assistants in particular. Do write to them about shortage of PA,s and needs of community and area hospitals/labs for such trained personnel. Then ask for grand fathering clause introduction or something similar to allow experienced PA,s withput certification but with a BA in science..to be able to get certified or be to able to work with legal protection.

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PathAsst in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

abid jawad in Paterson, New Jersey said: I think contacting your area state representatives to make or suggest changes to state licensure requirements (like NY state and others)for pathologist assistant jobs is important. More so given the ACUTE shortage of laboratory personnel in general and Pathologist assistants in particular. Do write to them about shortage of PA,s and needs of community and area hospitals/labs for such trained personnel. Then ask for grand fathering clause introduction or something similar to allow experienced PA,s withput certification but with a BA in science..to be able to get certified or be to able to work with legal protection.

I agree, Abid. There are about 8 or 9 states with their own licensure requirements. Sometimes, they actually waive the licensing requirements for PAs. I spoke to one hospital in Florida, and they said that a PA doesn't need a FL license to practice in that hospital. All the rules are different. Fortunately, I have a NY clinical lab tech license, and I believe that can qualify for interstate reciprocity.

The issue is with the AAPA-ASCP certification. That's the organization where you have to focus your appeals on. I would love to know if there's a higher governing body than them that you can appeal to as well.

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PathAsst in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

And looking at Deb's comment above, that is what the requirements still should be. It says "Applicants may
also qualify for the exam with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally
accredited college or university with 20 semester hours (or 30 quarter
hours) of biology , and three years full-time acceptable experience
as a pathologists’ assistant within the past 10 years. This on-the-job
training route will be discontinued Jan. 1, 2008."

Now if that on-the-job training route was discontinued Jan. 1, 2008, what if you graduated before then? You should have 10 years beyond the year of your graduation in order to do those 3 years of full-time acceptable experience. I actually just might qualify for certification somehow. I'm currently in talks with a former colleague of mine who graduated from my program, and I believe she's ASCP-certified as a PathA. How she did it, I'd love to know because I'm in the same exact boat as her. What worked for her will work for me, and if that's the case, then my thoughts on how to obtain a PathA ASCP certification were all wrong.

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PathAsst in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

Here's the website explaining eligibility requirements for every field certified by the ASCP:

www.ascp.org/certification/

If you take a look at the requirements for every single career listed, you will find that only Cytotechnologist and Pathologist's Assistant have 1 route to certification. To me, that's nonsensical compared to everything else. What is the reason for the extreme limitations on both of those careers? Notice how Histotechnologist (the field that works alongside to PAs) has TWO routes. Likewise, a PA should also have more than 1 route to certification. It's really very illogical.

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NS in Santa Clara, California

18 months ago

Hello, DT: what are your roles as a physician assistant? How do you get a DEA license without a certification?

Thanks,

DT in Saint Louis, Missouri said: I am a Non-Certified PA with almost 10 years of experience at a Hospital with 26000 cases and 2 full-time PA's. I am attempting to gather as much information as possible on any known "grandfather" clause or any information that states that an experienced PA who has been traianed under a Pathologist is qualified to work . A little background......I was unable to test for certification in 2005 because the previous Pathology Group President refused to sign. There were certain aspects that we did not cover at the hospital but we could have obtained the training from another Pathology Group in our area. Now,the hospital/Pathology Group is seeking to terminate myself and the other PA's (12 yrs experience) on the grounds we are not certified. If anyone has the above mentioned info OR know of someone who was able to successfully present/argue the benefits of having the skilled PA's, PLEASE reply with your email and I will do the same.

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md in Montgomery, Alabama

15 months ago

I was trained as part of my military enlistment. I was initially trained as a histologist and progressed through the PA training. The training covered slightly more than 2 years. I have over 25 years of experience. I find in my experience that many graduates of more formal programs are ill prepared for the reality of pathology grossing. It is a shame that AAPA and ASCP completely negate PA's with many years of experience, sometimes in all aspects of a pathology lab setting. The CLIA88 grandfather clauses allow us to work legally but the apparent efforts to "certify" us out of employment does no one any service. We will eventually all retire and this issue will be moot but until that time we should be welcome and our experience valued.

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esq in San Francisco, California

15 months ago

I hear you, md. When the ASCP-BOR and AAPA merged to change the rules in 2005-06, things just went downhill. I can't believe that I would have to attend a Master's program and pay all that exorbitant tuition just to get certified. It's heinous. Because of this, I moved across the country to pursue an entirely new career: law. Certification issues with my previous career have partially motivated me to pursue this new career path, and I couldn't be happier!

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laarnijoyuy in New Orleans, Louisiana

5 months ago

I have the same dilemma as most of you have. I will be attending ASCP convention this Oct-6-8, 2014. Would you think someone from BOC will listen to me when I bring this subject up? Has anyone attempted to reach ASCP to voice their concerns about this matter? Like you, taking the route to certification is a waste of time and money when one already has the vast experience that even outdoes the others. Just badly need your guidance.

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