ABMM Eligibility Information

ABMM Contact Information

Nicole Jackson
American College of Microbiology
American Society for Microbiology
1752 N Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

tel: (202) 942-9257
fax: (202) 942-9353
email: certification@asmusa.org

ABMM Resources

Eligibility Requirements
Exam Information
Reference Form
Testing Centers

ABMM candidates must demonstrate appropriate education, postdoctoral training, and/or work experience. Each candidate must apply under one of two "plans."

Plan I: Applicants must possess an earned doctorate and complete a minimum of three (3) years of experience, as defined below.

Plan II: Applicants must possess an earned doctorate and complete two (2) years of postgraduate training in a CPEP-approved program, as defined below. For those who complete a one-year fellowship in a CPEP program, two additional years of experience, as defined below, is required.



Applicants must possess an earned Doctorate of Philosophy or Doctorate of Science in microbiology or an equivalent degree in one of the related sciences acceptable to the Board. Other degrees (such as Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Public Health, Doctor of Dental Medicine, or Doctor of Dental Surgery) may be accepted if the additional special training and experience of the candidate is approved by ABMM Board members.

For applicants educated in the United States, all educational requirements must be met through institutions accredited by a regulatory agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
For applicants educated in Canada, all educational requirements must be met through institutions recognized by the Ministry of Education of the province in which each school is located.
All other applicants' degrees must be evaluated by an approved foreign credential evaluation agency and deemed equivalent to those earned at an accredited institution in the United States. See the list of approved foreign credential evaluation agencies under "Apply."



Experience is defined as postdoctoral training and/or director-level laboratory experience which is directly relevant to the practice of medical and public health microbiology and its subspecialties. Appropriate experience requires an ongoing relationship with a medical and public health microbiology, reference, or other microbiology laboratory that includes a diagnostic service component such that the candidate has devoted at least 75% of his/her time to management, medical, and administrative activities during the three years of experience. Specifically, the cumulative training and/or experience must include the following percentages of time devoted to each of the listed areas:

  • Responsibilities and skills in the medical and public health microbiology laboratory (50-65%)
    Examples include:
      • Assisting medical and public health microbiology technologists in interpreting the medical significance of laboratory findings
      • Oversight of quality assurance/quality control
      • Technical troubleshooting and problem solving
  • Interaction with healthcare providers (15-30%)
    Examples include:
      • Consultation with healthcare providers regarding the selection and interpretation of medical and public health microbiology tests/results
      • Consultation with local and state public health officials
      • Reference lab consultation with clients
      • Participation in hospital/institution committees (infection control, antibiotic subcommittee, etc.)
  • Management and administrative skills (10-20%)
    Examples include:
      • Interacting with institutional and laboratory administration and personnel
      • Performing financial analyses on new test methods or laboratory programs
      • Assuring/overseeing accreditation, competency, proficiency testing, etc.
  • Research (0-25%)
    Examples include:
      • Development/evaluation of new test methods/techniques/instrumentation
      • Collaboration with medical and public health microbiology/basic research colleagues
  • Teaching (0-25%)
    Examples include:
      • Didactic lectures and rounds
      • Resident/fellow/student training


    The minimum percentages in each area must be met. Research and teaching experience are not required, but applicants may have up to 25% of their time devoted to either, or a combination, of those areas provided the combination does not exceed 25%. Experience in which more than 25% of time is spent on research, teaching, grant writing, or test development does not satisfy the experience requirement.

    An infectious disease (ID) fellowship may count towards the requisite experience if it meets the eligibility outlined above. Despite the length of fellowship, no more than one year's experience will count towards meeting the three years of required experience. Experience must involve an active role in the laboratory (e.g., attended rounds and completed a microbiology rotation) and must be documented by a reference form submitted by the director of microbiology.

    A pathology residency, devoted to microbiology and molecular pathology, may count towards the requisite experience if it meets the eligibility outlined above. No more than six month's experience will count towards meeting the three years of required experience. The number of months devoted to microbiology and molecular pathology during the residency must be specifically documented on the reference form.



    Applicants applying under Plan II above must complete a two-year postdoctoral training program approved by the American College of Microbiology's Committee on Postgraduate Educational Programs (CPEP).


    All training and experience requirements must be met after the doctoral degree has been awarded.

    Applicants who will complete the requisite training and experience within 60 days following the examination date are eligible to apply.

    Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis by ABMM Board members. Candidates found eligible must be examined within one year of their approval or a new application will be required.