The National Registry of Certified Chemists began a program for certification of Toxicological Chemists in 2012.
Education and Experience Standards for Toxicological Technologist Certification
- Earned bachelor’s, master’s, or doctor’s degree with 12 semester hours (18 quarter hours) of chemistry courses plus 4 semester hours (6 quarter hours) of additional natural science courses from an institution acceptable to the Board and a minimum of one year full time of toxicology experience including at least one year full-time of experience dealing with human specimens which may include interpretation of data.
Experience requirements must have been met within 6 years of the application date.
Acceptable institutions are institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada accredited by a regional accrediting association or whose pertinent program is accredited by a national accrediting agency. Transcripts must be sent by institutions directly to NRCC.
Applicants with education at higher education institutions outside the United States and Canada, must, at their expense, have credentials for equivalence by an acceptable evaluation agency for foreign transcript evaluations and such equivalence reports as to the degrees and courses will be used to determine whether an applicant meets the NRCC standards for degrees and courses. Please see our FAQ page for a current list of acceptable evaluation agencies. Reports must show course titles and equivalent hours and must be sent by agencies directly to NRCC. These can be submitted electronically as long as they are sent direct.
- Toxicological Technologist examinations consist of 150 multiple-choice questions covering both the theoretical, fundamental, and practical aspects of toxicological chemistry at the bench-chemist level.
- The taxonomy method of Knowledge is used with Levels: Recall or memory; interpretation or comprehension; problem solving or reasoning.
- Questions are concerned with Basic Science, Methodology, and Laboratory Practice applicable to toxicological chemistry. Questions may relate to poisons, drugs of abuse, and therapeutic drugs. Questions will emphasize (1) Analysis and Interpretation and (2) Evaluation. The examinations will also include questions concerned with (3) Patient Preparation, Specimen Collection and Handling, and, to a lesser extent, (4) Management and Administration.
- Categories of questions may include: general laboratory (regulations, administration, etc.); safety; quality assurance; trivia; personnel; specimens (general, collection, handling: urine, oral fluid, hair, blood/serum); methodology (spot tests, immunoassay, spectrophotometry, fluorometry, radiometers, thin layer chromatography, HPLC, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography tandem mass spec, osmolality, atomic absorption); specimen preparation; pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics; pharmacogenetics: specific drugs and toxins, (pharmacology, analysis, toxicity, treatment); acetaminophen; aminoglycosides; amphetamines; anticholinergics; benzodiazepines; carbamazepine; carbon monoxide; cocaine; cyanide; cyclosporine; digoxin; ethanol; ethylene glycol; GHB; heavy metals (As, Hg); lead; lidocaine; lithium; methanol; isopropanol; methemoglobin; nicotine/cotinine; opiates; PCP; penobarb/barbs; phenytoin; primidone; procainamide; protease inhibitors; salcylate; THC; theophylline/caffeine; tricyclic antidepressants; multiple drugs and toxins; calculations (stds, buffers, enzymes, etc.) and interpretation; and adulterations testing.
- Examinations are developed by a Toxicological Technologist Examination Committee, appointed by the President. The committee determines content areas and relative emphasis for each area. Questions may be solicited from practitioners from within and outside the Board. Questions are analyzed and edited periodically by the Examination Committee to ensure subject matter accuracy and relevancy. Questions are maintained in a database from which items are selected for each form of an examination.
- Three hours are allowed for completion of an exam.
- Exams may be scheduled on the applicant’s schedule with approved local proctors. We will be glad to help you locate one near you.
- Answer sheets are scored in-house at NRCC. Reports of scores, along with normative data, are reviewed by the Board of Directors which sets the passing score for examinations. Candidates are identified in the scoring process by number, not by name. Pass-fail results are reported to candidates.
Please see the Fees page for information on application and examination fees. Renewal fees are listed on the renewal application form.