The Scientific Working Group for Toxicology (SWGTOX) has released their proposed guidelines for the requirements for training, education, continuing education, and certification. These SWGTOX personnel guidelines are for all laboratory personnel and will be the standard by which persons in the toxicology field are measured.
Western Slope Laboratory has read and responded to these proposed guidelines. Feeling that they are very important and can greatly affect our field, we felt it was necessary to share. Specifically:
The proposal requires all laboratory staff to obtain at least an associate’s degree. To be considered a toxicologist, a graduate degree is required.
Proven competency is required for all levels in the laboratory. The training has several components and must be documented and demonstrated at least annually. Training is necessary for all aspects of the laboratory including administrative functions.
Promotions will be considered based on experience level as each job classification will have a minimum number of years of hands-on experience associated with it.
Continuing Education and Professional Development:
Each person in the toxicology laboratory is required to fulfill a minimum number of hours of toxicology continuing education. The required number of hours will be based on level of expertise. For example, a technician will be required to fulfill 4 hours while a technical director will be required to fulfill 24 hours of continuing education per year.
Finally, the proposed standard requires that all laboratory personnel be certified.
Western Slope Laboratory is an ISO-accredited forensic drug testing organization. This accreditation requires the laboratory personnel of Western Slope Laboratory to obtain a certain level of education, demonstrate competency, and continue to educate and develop their scientific knowledge. While a guidance document is highly encouraged by Western Slope Laboratory, the SWGTOX personnel guidelines for toxicology laboratories places a large financial burden on laboratories and their personnel by requiring certification in addition to professional development, continuing education, and other training.