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Current State Licensing Requirements
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A number of states have laws requiring the licensing of other clinical laboratory personnel such as medical laboratory scientists (medical technologists/clinical laboratory scientists), medical laboratory technicians (medical technicians/clinical laboratory technicians), histotechnologists, cytotechnologists, etc. Most of these laws were written and passed years, even decades ago, when pathologists’ assistants were not widely recognized as separate practitioners in the laboratory. Many of these state laws contain a generic clause stating that their personnel standards and licensing requirements apply to anyone performing any examination, measurement, evaluation or testing of any material derived from the human body for the purposes of the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention or treatment of disease. This broad catch-all definition technically would include the activities of a pathologists’ assistant. However, since pathologists’ assistants have recently become widely recognized, many of these older state laws do not provide a licensing category for pathologists’ assistants, nor do these laws recognize the existence of pathologists’ assistants as laboratory practitioners. Occasionally, this draws the attention of a local inspector or other persons and questions arise regarding the legality of pathologists’ assistants practicing in these states without a state license. Such questions have come up most recently in West Virginia, and Florida. In every state in which this question has been raised, the question was referred to the state agency responsible for administering the particular law (usually the state Department of Public Health or the equivalent; sometimes the state Department of Education is also involved). In all cases which have come to our attention, senior administrators in the responsible agencies have concluded that their regulations were not intended to apply to pathologists’ assistants and therefore pathologists’ assistants practicing in their states do not need a license. This may continue to be an issue for some time in the future in various states.  Please feel free to contact us for assistance with these kinds of questions. States which currently license clinical laboratory practitioners are:

California (see state license information)
Nevada (see state license information)
New York (see state license information)
North Dakota
Rhode Island
West Virginia
Puerto Rico

States which are currently considering licensing of clinical laboratory personnel (pending legislation and regulatory activity):

Alaska - HB28/SB67, introduced Jan 2009, referred to committee.  Last official action listed: Feb 2009.  The bill has no category for and no exemption for pathologists’ assistants.
Massachusetts - HB 2142, introduced Jan 2009, referred to committee.  Last official action dated Jan 2009.  This bill has no category for and no exemption for pathologists’ assistants.
Minnesota - HF1249/SF0999, introduced Mar 2009, referred to committee.  Last official action dated Apr 2009.  This bill exempts pathologists’ assistants from licensing requirements.
Vermont - No legislation currently pending.  A request was submitted to the state Office of Professional Regulation asking the state to consider licensing laboratory personnel.  The state held a public hearing on the matter in November 2009.  On December 9, 2009 the Office of Professional Regulation issued a report concluding that existing regulations that govern the operation of laboratories and the qualifications of personnel performing testing in laboratories are sufficient to protect the interests of the public, and recommending against the licensing of laboratory personnel in Vermont.
Virginia - HB601, introduced Jan 2010, referred to committee.  Last official notice says it was "continued to 2011.”  This bill does not license personnel and is very narrowly worded to say just that medical laboratory scientists and medical laboratory technicians must register with the state in order to practice.  Should have no effect on pathologists’ assistants.

Legislative and Regulatory Information

State and Federal laws and regulations governing pathologists’ assistants 

Sustaining Members

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