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Laboratory Field Services

Clinical Laboratory Scientist (Generalist) and Limited Clinical Laboratory Scientist Licenses

Thank you for your interest in the California Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) Generalist license. Laboratory Field Services (LFS) requires applicants to submit documentation of academic coursework, clinical training, and work experience to qualify for licensure. For information about CLS Trainee and limited CLS Trainee licenses please visit the CLS Trainee page

*The information on this page applies to the Clinical Laboratory Scientist (Generalist) license.

For information about CLS licenses limited to a specialty or subspecialty select the limited license type from the list below:

Work experience in California as an unlicensed laboratory staff person will not be accepted as qualification toward any clinical laboratory license.  Please note that biotech/pharmaceutical, forensic, academic, veterinary, research, and student laboratory experience cannot count as work experience or training for any clinical license. 

  

Scope of practice

The CLS generalist license permits you to work in all specialty areas of the clinical laboratory.

  

Academic requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree (baccalaureate) with specific course requirements:

    • 16 semester or equivalent quarter units of chemistry, which must include clinical chemistry OR analytical and biochemistry.

    • 18 semester or equivalent quarter units of biology, which must include hematology, immunology, and medical microbiology.

    • 3 semester or equivalent quarter units of physics (light and electricity).

  • If you served in the U.S. Air Force, the college work will be posted on a Community College of the Air Force transcript.

  • If you served in other branches of the U.S. armed forces, the college work will be posted on a transcript from an approved military college.

  • For military applicants without a degree, exceptions may apply. Please contact the Department for more information.

Non-US transcripts

All non-U.S. transcripts must be evaluated by "Current Members" of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or "Endorsed Members" of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE). This allows LFS to determine if your education is equivalent to a U.S. college or university education. The evaluation service will send an evaluation of your educational institution and academic courses directly to LFS.


To obtain an application, instructions, and information, visit them on the web:


If you are an applicant whose education, training, or experience is from a non-U.S. school, college, university, or clinical laboratory, please make sure that your name is printed in English on all your transcripts and supporting documents and that it matches your name on the application.

 

Training or Experience

  • Minimum one year of post-baccalaureate clinical training as a CLS.
    OR
    Minimum one year of work experience as a CLS performing high complexity testing in hematology, chemistry, blood bank, and microbiology.

  • Training or work experience must be comprehensive to cover all areas of the clinical laboratory.

  • Training or work experience must be in a clinical laboratory.

  • Verification must be signed by the training coordinator or laboratory director.

  • If you lack applicable training or work experience you may want to consider applying for a CLS trainee license.

 

Military applicants with military medical laboratory technician training

  • For military applicants with a bachelor's degree the Department requires at least one year of clinical training or work experience in the military.

  • For military applicants without a degree, exceptions may apply. Please contact the Department for more information.

  • Written verification of work experience must be issued by the military training coordinator or laboratory director.

    • For Army and Navy, this will be the Joint Service Transcript from the Sailor/Marine American Council for Basic and Advanced Military MLT Training.

    • For Air Force this will be the Phase I and Phase II Military MLT Training from the Department of the Air Force,  Air Force Education and Training Command.

  • In addition to your training certificate and verification of experience, the Department requires a copy of your DD-214 military discharge document.

  

Examinations

The following certifying organizations are approved by the Department for the CLS generalist licensure examination:

  • ASCP certification for CLS generalist scientist is approved by the Department for CLS generalist licensure as of October 2002.

  • ASCPi (international) certification for CLS generalist scientist is approved by the Department for CLS generalist licensure as of June 2003.

  • AAB certification for CLS generalist scientist is approved by the Department for CLS generalist licensure as of January 2003.

  • AMT certification for CLS generalist scientist is approved by the Department for CLS generalist licensure as of January 2014. Only the 2014 and later versions of the examination are approved. Earlier versions are not accepted.

  • Applicants who are certified before the above dates must re-take the certifying examination.

Failure to pass the written certification examination two times requires a waiting period of one year before taking the exam again. A third failure requires a two year wait. Thereafter, the examination may not be taken more frequently than once in two years.

Applicants will also have to complete the online California quiz on state laboratory laws and regulations. You will receive a notification with instructions for taking the quiz once you are qualified.

 

Renewal

Once you receive your license you will need to renew it every two years. To renew, you must pay a fee and submit documentation of continuing education. For information about the renewal process please visit the LFS renewal web page.

  

Resources

Helpful links

CLS Training Programs (PDF) *

LFS Approved Certification Examinations

*If you are having difficulty accessing this document, please contact LFS at LFSCLSTrainingProgram@cdph.ca.gov to request this information in an alternate format.

Statutes and regulations

California Business and Professions Code, Clinical Laboratory Technology, Licensing

California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Section 1032, Clinical Laboratory Scientist (generalist)

 

The requirements listed may not be comprehensive.

 

How to Apply

Visit the LFS online application website to create an account and submit an application.

 
Apply Online  *You will need to pay your application fee online.
 

 

Additional Information:

  • Transcripts must be original documents bearing the school, college, or university registrar’s seal, and must be sent directly to LFS from the office of the college or university registrar. Request to have your transcripts mailed to:

    Laboratory Field Services - CLS Program

    850 Marina Bay Parkway, Bldg. P 1st Floor

    Richmond, CA 94804

  • Official verification of training or work experience must be on letterhead and signed by the training coordinator or laboratory director, and must show the beginning and ending dates of the training or experience. This information should cover all areas in which the rotation was completed with a description of the clinical laboratory tests or examinations performed.

  • Applicants must take the online California Quiz on state laboratory laws and regulations online.        

  • United States Armed Forces applicants are required to provide additional documents of certificates of completion of training and a copy of DD-214. Copies of the certificate of training and the DD-214 can be uploaded during the online application process.

 

**Incomplete application packages may be abandoned. All applicants whose applications have been abandoned who wish to re-apply must pay a new non-refundable application fee. 

  

Documents you may need for your application

  • Official transcript showing your baccalaureate degree.

  • NACES or AICE course-by-course evaluation.

  • Verification of one year of post-baccalaureate training.
    OR
    Verification of one year of on-the-job experience in a clinical laboratory (signed by the laboratory director).

  • Verification of certification examination.

  • Online California quiz on state laboratory laws and regulations.

Military applicants will also need:

  • Verification of one year of clinical training or work experience in the military issued by the military training coordinator or laboratory director.

  • DD-214 military discharge document.

 

For additional information you may contact LFSscientist@cdph.ca.gov.

 

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