Whether you’re a professional looking to start a new career, or an employer seeking to have in-house staff credentialed for drug screening, understanding the types of drug testing certification programs is important. There are several options, and they differ in significant ways, including the type of specimens collected, duration of training, and specialization.
Before we touch on the various types of certification programs out there, understand that there are many important differences between credentialing programs designed for individuals working within the DOT sector and those working outside of the United States Department of Transportation’s regulatory umbrella. However, all-in-one courses can provide students with the knowledge and training to work in either area.
Blood testing is conducted by a credentialed phlebotomist. These are generally medical professionals working for clinics, medical offices, hospitals, and directly for drug screening companies. Unless you work in a large company or are involved in the medical industry, chances are good that you will not have blood testing professionals on staff.
Urine testing is one of the most common substance tests and is conducted by a certified laboratory, but urine specimen collectors can work with laboratories, within your company, or in other capacities, including operating their specimen collection businesses. These types of drug testing certification programs usually last between four and six hours and teach collectors best practices, regulatory considerations, and record-keeping and labeling techniques.
Breath testing is used typically in instances when there is a reasonable suspicion to believe the employee is intoxicated, post-accident, or when returning to duty. With mobile breath testing technicians, working either within your business or with a partner company, this type of testing can provide invaluable, immediate results as to the subject’s sobriety. Training is typically longer than for urine collection when calibration training is included in the course.
Which is Right for me?
Each of these types of drug testing certification programs has its pros and cons. Your needs will also factor into the decision. If you’re an employer, you will need to ensure that regulatory requirements are met by a training program before sponsoring employees through training. Individuals interested in a career in drug screening will also need to ensure they complete a qualifying course delivered by an education provider in line with government and industry regulations.