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Professional Certification, Credentialing and Licensure: The Basics


Professional Certification

  • May be required by your employer.
  • Carries no legal rights or restrictions in using it in professional practice.
  • Administered by an outside body.

Professional certification is a non-mandatory process offered by an organization that upholds prescribed standards for a particular profession, whereby a person proves that he or she has the knowledge, experience and skills to perform a specific job. Employers may choose to require certification as a means to ensure that defined standards are met by their employees. The American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification offers such a program for pathologists’ assistants.Additional contact for information regarding certification. More information about ASCP certification may be obtained by visiting https://www.ascp.org/content/board-of-certification.

ASCP Board of Certification
33 W. Monroe St., Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 1.800.267.2727, option 2, 2
Fax: 312.541.4845


  • May be required by your employer.
  • Administered by your employer (if applicable).
Credentialing is a healthcare institution’s internal process of establishing the qualifications of professionals and assessing their background and legitimacy through an objective evaluation of their current licensure, training or experience and competence.


  • May be required to work in your state.
  • Administered by the individual states (where applicable).

Licensure is the granting of legal permission by a competent authority (usually a state licensing board for healthcare professionals) to an individual to perform medical acts and procedures that would otherwise be illegal. Licensure is usually granted on the basis of education and examination rather than performance, and a fee may be required. The criteria do not necessarily match professional certification criteria. 

Federal Legislative Initiatives
At the federal and states levels, the AAPA supports bills designed to protect Pathologists’ Assistants, ensure optimal patient care, and enhance patient safety.  In addition, if any federal or state bills are introduced and include licensure or scope of practice parameters for Pathologists’ Assistants, we carefully review the language to determine if it is in the best interests of Pathologists’ Assistants and patient care.  The AAPA also serves as a resource for governmental agencies seeking information regarding the Pathologists’ Assistant and we speak on behalf of the Pathologists’ Assistant on task forces, town hall meetings, and committees.

State and Federal laws and regulations governing pathologists’ assistants

States requiring licensing of other clinical laboratory personnel, and how their regulations may affect pathologists’ assistants

11-27-2017: New York Legislative Alert: View the law: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/patha/article168.htm Although specific details on obtaining licensure are yet to be devised, a state committee has been established that includes three of our own AAPA members: Kathleen Bykowicz, PA(ASCP)CM, Charles Fernandez-Perez, PA(ASCP)CM, and Lysette Seegobin, PA(ASCP)CMRead the full news story here.

12-1-2016: Important New York Licensure Update: The New York Governor has signed off on a bill creating a new licensure category for Pathologists' Assistants! This move will ensure only qualified individuals undertake Pathologists' Assistant responsibilities. The law also provides Pathologists' Assistants a secure future in New York, thereby supporting the patients and institutions they serve. Read the full news story here.

Sustaining Members

2345 Rice St, Suite 220 | St. Paul, MN 55113 | Phone 800.532.AAPA | Fax 651.317.8048 | Email info@pathassist.org