Laboratory Field Services Personnel Licensing and Certification

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State of California-Health and Human Services Agency

California Department of Public Health
California Department of Health and Human Services Licensing Examinations
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FAQ - Clinical Laboratory Scientist or Limited Scientist License

Q: How can I get information regarding eligibility for the examination?
A: Go to web site at: or Contact Laboratory Field Services at (510) 620-3800, or email LFS at:
Q: How can I apply for CLS, director, MLT, Cytotechnologist, or trainee license?
A: Go online at If you have problem with online application, Contact CPS HR Consulting at 916-471-3506, or
Q: How much is the application fee for a CLS License?
A: $230. The application fee is non refundable.
Q: How much is the application fee for a CLS Trainee License?
A: $41. The application fee is non refundable.
Q: I've submitted my application and fee online. How long will it take to process my application?
A: The average processing time is 90 days, but can take up to 150 days based upon the receipt of a complete application and all official documents. Incomplete applications and documents will be abandoned after 150 days of registration date.
Q: Which certifying organization examination is approved by CA?
A: ASCP as of October 2002, ASCPi as of June, 2003, and AAB as of January 2003 are approved by LFS.
For Specialty (limited) licenses Scientists categories of Chemistry and Microbiology, ASCP as of March 2004.
For Toxicology, NRCC as of March 2004.
Q: Is California Still offering the State-administered (November exam)?
A: No. Qualified applicants must pass state approved certification exam in lieu of state administered exam.
Q: Did state approve certifying organization examinations for Specialty license such as chemistry, microbiology, and toxicology?
A: Yes, for specialties of chemistry, microbiology, ASCP is approved and for specialty of toxicology NRCC is approved.
Q: I am a non-United States (foreign) graduate, what is the process?
A: You must send a copy of your official transcript to AACRAO for evaluation.
Q: Do I have to be in California to take the Certifying Organization Examination?
A: No, contact the AAB or ASCP certifying organizations for information regarding the examination for California licensure. The AAB and ASCP contact information can be located on the internet.
Q: I have a copy of my transcripts. Can I include that with my application?
A: No. Official transcripts must be sent directly to LFS from the college or university registrar's office.
Q: When can I take the certifying organization exam?
A: After receiving your qualification letter from LFS along with the unique identification number, you can contact the certifying organization (ASCP or AAB) to take their exam.
Q: I am certified by ASCP or AAB, can I have my California license?
A: No, you must apply online, pay the application fee, and be qualified by LFS as meeting California education and training/experience requirements. If your certification is after 2002 for ASCP and 2003 for AAB, you can request a verification to be sent to LFS. In addition you need to take the online CA quiz.
Q: How long LFS keeps documents?
A: LFS keeps all documents for 3 years.
Q: When do I have to take CA quiz?
A: After you receive the qualification letter. Your user name and password will be on the qualification letter. The link is on the LFS website.
Q: Can I use my old unique identification number if my application was abandoned?
A: Yes. You have to re-apply and pay the application fee.
Q: Are application fees refundable?
A: No. Application fees are non-refundable. An application submitted without a fee will not be processed.
Q: Due to circumstances beyond my control; I was unable to meet the 150 days deadline, can I use the previous application fee towards a new application?
A: No. You have to reapply and pay the fee for any new application after 150 days of registration.
Q: If I fail the state administered examination can I take it again?
A: There is no state administered examination. The applicant must take the state approved certification. Refer to Section 1262.5 of California Businesses and Professions Code.
Q: I failed the examination over five years ago; do I have to submit a new transcript and verification of training/experience?
A: Yes. LFS keeps the transcripts and supporting documents only for 3 years. All documents must be sent directly from the institution to LFS.
Q: How long does it take to process a CLS, Director, MLT, Cytotechnologist, or Trainee license or Phlebotomy certificate renewal?
A: The process is dependent on many factors and can take a median time of up to 90 days. License and certificate renewals are mailed out about 90 days in advance of the date for renewal. It is recommended that renewal documentation and fees be returned as soon received to avoid any process delays and prevent a license from becoming inactive as an examination may be required prior to relicensing.
Q: What are the subjects areas covered in the certifying organizations exam?
A: Contact the certifying organizations of your choice.
Q: What are the requirements for CLS and specialty licensure?
A: Clinical Laboratory Specialist
Cytogeneticist Scientist
Genetic Molecular Biologist Scientist
Histocompatibility Scientist
Please click here for the California Business Code for CLS.