NRCM Contact Information
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
I forgot my username or password. Can I have them sent to me?
Yes. You can request this information to be sent to you through the website at http://www.webassessor.com/asm. Click on the link to “Click here to see if you already have a login ID and password.”
How can I update my email address or other contact information?
Log in to your Webassessor account, click on the “edit profile” link at the top of the page, edit the information as necessary, and click on the Save button.
I used my email address as my login and now my email address has changed. How can I change my login to my new email address?
If you used your email address as your login and your email address has now changed, you will need to log in to your account and update the email address field with your current email address. Once you have done this, you will need to submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org to change your login to match your new email address.
I forgot my username or password. Can I have them sent to me?
Yes. You can request this information to be sent to you through the website at http://estore.asm.org/. Click on the "Password Reminder" link at the top of the page.
How can I update my email address or other contact information?
Log in to your eStore account and click on the "My Account" link at the top of the page. If you have any issues accessing or revising information in the eStore, please email email@example.com.
I am unsure of which exam or Board I should apply to. Can you guide me?
The eligibility requirements and exam information for all three certification Boards can be found on the Certification main page (http://www.asm.org/index.php/certification). If you are uncertain as to which Board you should apply to, we suggest you review the eligibility requirements and the exam information (including content and topics tested) for each Board to see which certification is appropriate for your education and experience background.
I have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and want to become certified in clinical microbiology. Do you offer certification in clinical microbiology at that level?
The American College of Microbiology and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) conjointly develop and administer certification exams in clinical microbiology at the bench and supervisory levels. Individuals must meet ASCP eligibility requirements and submit an application to the ASCP to take the exam. Those who pass the exam are certified as a Technologist in Microbiology (M) or Specialist in Microbiology (SM) by the ASCP and are issued a certificate with both organizations' names on it. For more information, visit http://www.ascp.org/FunctionalNavigation/certification.aspx.
When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is February 1.
Can I submit my application at any time throughout the year?
Yes. Applications are accepted throughout the year. In order to sit for the April exam, though, all application materials, including the application fee, must be received by the February 1 application deadline.
Is the application fee refundable?
No. The application fee is non-refundable and covers review of the application. You are strongly encouraged to closely review the eligibility requirements for the exam you are applying to take prior to applying.
Am I eligible to take the exam?
The NRCM cannot determine your eligibility until you have submitted a complete application. As the application fee is non-refundable, applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully review the eligibility requirements posted on our website at http://www.asm.org/index.php/nrcm-cert/nrcm-eligibility prior to applying.
What are the steps I need to follow to apply?
Instructions for how to apply are posted on the NRCM's Apply page (at http://www.asm.org/index.php/nrcm-cert/nrcm-apply).
When will I receive the result of my application?
Once all application materials have been received, you will receive an email informing you of the date by which your application results will be sent to you. In general, application results are sent out within 4-6 weeks of an application becoming complete.
What if my application is not approved?
If your application is not approved, you will be informed of the reason and you will have 30 days to appeal the decision by having additional supporting materials (in the form of a transcript, educational evaluation, and/or an online reference form) submitted on your behalf. If your application is not approved on appeal, it will be withdrawn and you will need to submit a new application for your eligibility to be reevaluated.
I applied previously, but my application was withdrawn. Do I have to resubmit all of my application materials to reapply?
Application materials are kept on file for seven years. If you reapply within seven years of your application’s withdrawal, you will not need to resubmit your transcripts and/or educational evaluation.
Can the application fee be paid by check or money order?
No. Application fees can only be paid by credit card through the ASM's eStore.
I created a Webassessor profile and paid the application fee through the ASM's eStore. Is there an actual application that I need to fill out to document my education and work experience?
No. Your educational background will be evaluated based on the transcripts/educational evaluation you submit (and course descriptions, if applicable), and your work experience will be evaluated based on the online reference forms submitted on your behalf by your current or former immediate supervisor(s).
My name has changed since I obtained my degree. What do I need to do?
You must submit an original or notarized copy of your name change certificate or marriage license. Once verified, this document can be returned to you.
I was educated outside of the U.S. or Canada. What do I need to do?
You must obtain a course-by-course analysis and U.S. degree equivalency statement from one of the approved education evaluation agencies listed on our website at http://www.asm.org/index.php/nrcm-cert/nrcm-apply#NRCMAgencies.
What kind of educational evaluation do I need to obtain? Do I need to obtain a course-by-course evaluation?
Yes. The NRCM requires that all applicants obtain a course-by-course analysis and degree equivalency statement from one of the approved educational evaluation agencies listed on the Apply page.
I have an official, sealed copy of my transcript/educational evaluation. Can I send that in?
No. The NRCM requires that official copies of transcripts or educational evaluations be mailed directly to our office from the issuing institution.
What courses are acceptable for microbiological credit?
The list of approved course titles is posted on the NRCM Eligibility page at http://www.asm.org/index.php/nrcm-cert/nrcm-eligibility. If you are claiming credit for a course whose title is not listed in the approved titles list, you must submit a course description for the course which verifies the microbiological content of the course. Relevant courses must emphasize the study of microorganisms. In the past, courses like general biology, biochemistry, and animal and plant anatomy/physiology have not been found acceptable for microbiological course credit.
What if the course titles on my transcript do not match those in the approved course titles list?
If the course titles on your transcript do not match the titles in the approved course titles list and you would like to claim any of them for microbiological credit, you must submit a course description from the year in which you took the course. A description from the course catalog or another official source is sufficient. Your school’s registrar is able to provide these descriptions.
How many reference forms do I need to have submitted on my behalf?
The NRCM only requires that you document the minimum experience for the plan under which you’re applying.
Does experience need to be gained within the U.S. in order to be considered for eligibility?
No, it does not matter where the experience is gained, as long as it meets the Board’s requirements delineated on the Eligibility tab.
Is experience mandatory prior to taking an exam?
If you are applying to take an NRCM Registered Microbiologist exam (in either Food Safety and Quality or Pharmaceutical and Medical Device), and you have a baccalaureate degree with 20 semester hours of microbiology coursework, you do not need to have any experience before sitting for the exam. Individuals who will have a baccalaureate degree with 20 semester hours of microbiology coursework by the time of the exam may apply as Conditional Registrant applicants. Once a Conditional Registrant applicant passes the exam, he/she is granted Conditional Registrant status and has two years in which to complete the necessary one year of applicable work experience.
If you are applying to take an NRCM Specialist Microbiologist exam (in either Biological Safety or in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device), you must have the required number of years of experience for the plan under which you’re applying.
How many times can I take the exam?
Applicants have three exam cycles from their approval date in which to pass the exam. This means that if you do not pass the exam the first time you take it, you can take the exam up to two more times within the next two years under the same application. You must pay the exam registration fee each time you register to take the exam. Subsequent reexamination requires a new application and fee.
Do I have to take the exam the first time it’s offered after I’m approved?
Yes. NRCM rules require that you sit for the exam within one year of your approval. This means you must sit for the exam the first time it is offered after you are approved. You are advised not to apply until you are ready to take the exam.
Do I have the ability to skip questions while examining and return to them later?
Yes. Candidates can move forward and backward while examining; the computer does not restrict access to the questions.
Is there a study guide or review course for the exam?
All of the information posted about the exam (including a list of the topics tested on the exam, suggested resources for preparing for the exam, and sample questions) is available on the NRCM Exam Information page. The NRCM does not post a separate study guide or endorse any review courses.
How many questions do I need to answer correctly in order to pass?
There is not a set number of questions you must answer correctly to pass from year to year. The certification exams of the American College of Microbiology use a criterion-referenced scoring system. This method sets a standard of performance in absolute, not relative, terms. Examinees are not graded on a curve and do not compete with each other for scores. Under the criterion-referenced system, each question is assigned a difficulty value. The number of questions you must answer correctly in order to pass the exam changes depending on the overall average difficulty level of the exam. On an exam whose average difficulty is greater (harder), you will have to answer fewer questions correctly in order to pass. On an exam whose average difficulty is lower (easier), you will have to answer more questions correctly in order to pass. The average difficulty levels of the exams are maintained within a specified range from year to year.
Is there a fee to take the exam?
Yes. The NRCM exam registration fee is $200 and must be paid each time you register to take the exam.
Can the exam registration fee be paid by check or money order?
No. Exam registration fees can only be paid by credit card through the Webassessor website.
When/where is the exam administered?
The NRCM exams are administered at approved testing centers worldwide throughout the month of April. Some testing centers are open Monday through Friday, others are open on Saturdays/Sundays, and still others are open on alternate schedules. You will be able to check the availability of testing centers once the exam registration window opens.
When can I register to take the exam?
The exam registration window opens on February 15 and closes on April 24 of each year. On that date, provided your application has been approved, you will be sent an email containing instructions for registering for the exam. As part of the registration process, you will select your testing center, your desired date and time, and pay the exam registration fee. If you are approved after the exam registration window has opened, you will be sent registration instructions at the time you are approved. Approved applicants are advised to register to take the exam as soon as possible after the registration window opens to ensure maximum flexibility in selecting their testing location and time.
I would like to retake the exam. I was able to log in to my Webassessor account, but I was not able to register. How do I register to retake the exam?
You can only register to take the exam during the exam registration window. See “When can I register to take the exam?” (above) for more information.
The testing center at which I would like to take my exam is listed as “In Implementation” in the testing centers list. What does that mean? Will the testing center be available in time for my exam?
Before a testing center can be opened, it must meet certain requirements and become certified. There are a number of variables in implementing a testing center and it can take up to several months for this process to be completed. We are not able to guarantee that a testing center that is listed as “In Implementation” will be available in time for a particular exam administration window.
I am trying to register to take the exam, but the dates on the calendar are grayed out and I do not have the option to select an exam time.
If all of the dates in a given month are grayed out, it means that testing center is not available for the exam. Check the availability of other testing centers in the area and, if none of them are available in the exam administration window, try expanding your testing center search to include testing centers that are further away. Additionally, you can submit a request to open the testing center in the exam administration window by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your desired testing center’s name and location and your first, second, and third choices for an exam date in your request). While a request to open a testing center is being processed, examinees are strongly encouraged to schedule their exams at one of the other testing centers to ensure they are able to sit for the exam in the current year.
What if my first choice of a testing center is not available?
You can submit a request to take the exam at your first choice of a testing center and we will do our best to accommodate your request. In case your request cannot be accommodated, however, you are advised to schedule your exam at an alternate testing center to ensure you are able to sit for the exam in the current year.
What if there aren’t any testing centers in my area?
New testing centers are added throughout the year and the list of testing centers posted on our website is updated each month. If there isn’t a testing center close to you when it’s time to register to take the exam, you will need to travel to the nearest testing center to take the exam. Our exams can only be administered at Kryterion testing centers.
Can I reschedule my exam?
Yes. As long as it is 72 hours before your scheduled exam time, you can reschedule your exam by logging into your Webassessor account, clicking on the Details link next to your scheduled exam and clicking on the “Reschedule” button. To reschedule an exam within 72 hours prior to your scheduled exam time, you must contact the NRCM office (at email@example.com or 202-942-9257). No refunds will be issued for exams rescheduled within 72 hours of the scheduled exam sitting, and rescheduling an exam within this time frame will result in your having to pay another exam registration fee.
What if I need to cancel my exam registration once it has been scheduled?
To cancel your exam, you must send an email notification of your intent to cancel to firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to be issued a partial refund for a cancellation, your request must be received by the NRCM at least 96 hours prior to your scheduled exam time. No refunds will be issued for cancellations within this time frame.
How early should I arrive at the testing center?
Please plan to arrive at the testing center no more than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time. The check-in process should only take 5 minutes.
What do I need to bring with me to the testing center?
In order to sit for the exam, you must bring the following with you to the testing center:
- Your Test Taker Authorization Code. The proctor cannot launch the test without this code. This code will be included in the confirmation email you are sent when you register for the exam.
- Two forms of identification, the first of which must be a current, government-issued, photo ID. NOTE: Both forms of ID must show your name exactly as it appears in your Webassessor profile.
The following forms of current, photo identification will satisfy the government-issued ID requirement: State-issued driver’s license or identification card Passport Military identification National identification card The following forms of non-photo identification are acceptable as your second form of ID (alternatively, you may use a second, government-issued photo ID): Credit card Check cashing card Bank debit card Student ID from an accredited school In the U.S., a Social Security card is NOT an acceptable form of identification.
You will not be allowed to bring anything into the exam room with you except for your identification. Any other personal items including, but not limited to, bags, purses, wallets, coats, jackets, hats, briefcases, books, mobile devices such as beepers, cellphones, and smart phones, calculators, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and watches must be stored outside of the exam room. The testing centers have locked cabinets available to store personal items, should you decide to bring any of these items with you. Please be advised that the NRCM, Kryterion, Inc., and the testing center are not responsible for lost or stolen personal items that you bring with you to the testing center. Additionally, tobacco products, food, drinks, and chewing gum are not allowed in the exam room.
You are not allowed to leave the testing facility during breaks.
In order to launch the exam, you must agree to abide by the ASM honor code, which is as follows: “I understand that my participation in any irregularity during this examination, including but not limited to giving or obtaining unauthorized aid, as evidenced by observation during the exam or by subsequent analysis, may result in the invalidation of the results of my examination, termination of my candidate status, revocation of my certification, civil liability, criminal prosecution, or other appropriate sanctions. I understand that I will be video-taped while examining. I will not leave the facility during the examination period, and I pledge that I will not discuss the content of this exam with any person at any time during or after the examination.”
What if there is a power outage or other technical difficulties at my testing center?
In the event of an unforeseen circumstance preventing or interrupting the exam (for example, a power outage or loss of internet connectivity), the testing center and Kryterion will work diligently to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. If necessary, your examination can be rescheduled for another date in the exam administration window, or at another testing center, and you will still have the time remaining to you (out of a total of 3 1/2 hours) to complete the exam. Please note, however, that if this happens toward the end of an exam administration window, it may not be possible to reschedule your exam in the current exam window. If this happens, your exam will need to be rescheduled for the next year’s exam window and a new exam will be administered to you at that time. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam as early as possible in the exam administration window.
Kryterion, Inc. (the company that runs Webassessor) has security and back-up measures in place to ensure that examinees' answers are recorded accurately and that examinees are given the full time allowed to complete the exam. Answers are transmitted and recorded individually by Kryterion each time you hit the Next button on your exam. As such, if something happens in the middle of the exam to prevent your completion of the exam on that day, your answers will not be lost. Additionally, Kryterion will keep track of how much time is remaining in your exam session. When your exam is re-launched, the last question you were answering when your exam was interrupted will appear, as will the exam timer showing the time remaining in your session.
When are exam results sent?
Exam results for the April exams are sent out by July 1.
How are exam results sent?
Exam results are sent out via email to the email address provided in your Webassessor profile. Please be sure to keep your contact information in your Webassessor profile updated to ensure you receive correspondence from our office in a timely manner.