How are collection personnel certified?

By Elly McGuinness | Last updated: December 3, 2020

There isn't a specific certification that is required for collection personnel in drug testing. However, a training qualification should be completed to ensure the integrity of the specimen and adherence to required drug testing procedures. The training requirements will depend on whether the drug testing comes under Department of Transportation (DOT) or non-DOT procedures and the type of specimen tested (e.g. urine, oral fluid or hair).

Firstly, an employer needs to understand whether they fall under DOT or non-DOT drug testing and understand the differences between the two. [Find out more in "DOT vs non-DOT testing: what's the difference?" and "Crucial differences between DOT and non-DOT drug test requirements"]

Qualifications for DOT collection personnel

The majority of DOT drug testing involves testing urine specimens. DOT doesn't require urine specimen collectors to be "certified" before they can collect urine specimens as part of the DOT drug testing process. However, specimen collectors do require training to show they are proficient in the specimen collection process.

DOT rule 49 CFR part 40 section 40.33 outlines the training requirements for urine specimen collectors as part of the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing procedures. These include basic knowledge requirements, qualification training, an initial proficiency demonstration (five consecutive error-free mock collections), refresher training, error correction training if required, and documentation.

DOT does not provide the qualification training but it is offered by a number of drug testing companies. It may be conducted in person, via video, an internet course or by other equivalent means. There is no set curriculum but DOT expects training providers to base their curriculum on DOT regulations and current urine specimen collection guidelines. Qualification training for collection personnel should cover knowledge of collection procedures, collection steps, how to fill in a CCF, handling problems, and other collector responsibilities.

Employers in DOT regulated industries can opt for an online course in urine specimen collection such as the ones offered by LabCE, Media Lab, DATIA or Certified Training Solutions. The courses all include reading material to cover the knowledge of DOT's procedures and and a related exam, plus a checklist to cover the five required mock collections (conducted separately, but recorded as part of the qualification training).

DATIA and Certified Training Solutions also offer DOT specimen collector instructor training. These programs enable the trainer to develop a program to effectively train their own collection personnel.

Training for non-DOT industries and other types of drug testing

Non DOT urine specimen collection training should be conducted via a program that adheres to Federal or State laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Specimen collection training for other types of drug testing can be arranged through the drug testing laboratory that processes the specimen samples.

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Drug Testing Urine Testing Employment Legal

Written by Elly McGuinness

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Elly has been inspiring people to make sustainable changes to their health, fitness and lifestyle for the past 15 years. She offers online solutions for people who are looking to get started on, or improve their health and fitness. She blogs regularly, writes for a number of health and well-being publications and is the published author of a holistic weight loss book.

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