It’s quite easy to become a qualified specimen collector, meaning one that can perform DOT collections. There are specific steps that you need to follow, and the Department of Transportation has specific training requirements for someone to obtain a specimen collector certification. You should note that the Department of Transportation doesn’t require a specimen collector to have any specific education or background before being trained as a specimen collector.
But while they don’t require any medical background, you can have an added advantage if you have extra certification in the healthcare field, especially when seeking to become a professional specimen collector. This is because the employer, which can be a healthcare facility or clinic, can use your other healthcare skills when you are not doing specimen collection. Alternatively, after finishing the required training, you can decide to open your drug testing business or even sell your services to companies. This article is a guide to help you to become a DOT specimen collector.
Specimen collector training requirements
The DOT rules that apply for drug testing are in the Code of Federal Regulations. The DOT has also published many documents to help the specimen collector so that they can be properly trained. It’s worth mentioning that the DOT rules don’t necessarily need the specimen collectors to be certified, but most companies usually offer certification when you complete a training program. Instead, the DOT refers to the training program as qualification training, and not certification training.
You should note that the DOT qualification training needs to teach the specimen collectors the Part 40 Rules associated with collection procedures. This includes the specific steps a collector needs to follow to properly complete the specimen collection process. They can also learn how to complete the Federal Custody and Control Form, specific training on the right way to handle problem specimen collection, the responsibilities of the specimen collector, how to handle errors, and many more.
Once the specimen collector completes the qualification training, they need to do a proficiency demonstration under a qualified monitor or trainer. The proficiency demonstration includes five specific error-free mock collections which should be documented. Remember that the cock collections have to be acted out, so you need to complete the paperwork and process the specimen. You need to do this as if you are doing a real specimen collection on a real worker. The certification or qualification is usually valid for five years.
As mentioned earlier, there are no specific requirements that apply to becoming a specimen collector, especially for DOT drug testing. But some personality traits may assist the specimen collector to succeed in their work. A specimen collector needs to be a person of integrity. Conducting specimen collections for DOT safety-sensitive employees can be tricky. The safety of many employees can be at risk if the specimen collector fails to do a DOT collection properly. As a result, allowing drug users to beat the drug test.
The DOT drug testing process should not allow cutting corners. The specimen collector must take their job of making sure that the integrity of the specimen collection process as well as the specimen seriously. The specimen collector should also make good judgment calls like avoiding taking a bribe from a worker to help them to beat the drug test.
The specimen collector also needs to be detail-oriented. Take note that there are several steps involved in the DOT collection process, so you need to follow them in a specific sequence. If you fail to finish a single step, it can lead to serious issues in the specimen collection process.
A specimen collector should also be passionate when it comes to safety and follow the rules and regulations. A specimen collector needs to be bound to a strict process and order of collecting and handling specimens. This means you have to enjoy consistency and follow the right process every time.
A specimen collector should also enjoy working with people, and exert authority when required. A specimen collector usually meets many people every day, so you have to enjoy personal contact, especially because the collector can be the only individual the donor meets face-to-face during the whole drug testing process. Many specimen collection processes often go smoothly, but others don’t, so you need to have the skills of handling those that don’t. This can involve handling abusive and hostile donors, uncooperative employees, and employees trying to beat a drug test.
Why you should seek certification
Specimen collector certification shows your commitment to the profession. When you receive your certification, it can demonstrate to your supervisors, co-workers, and even the general public that you are committed to your career. Also, it shows that you can perform the drug test to the required standards. No doubt, certification can set you apart as a professional in your field.
Certification can also enhance the image of your profession. Association certification programs try to promote, grow, and develop certified professionals. They do this so that they can be examples of excellence in the field or industry. You should remember that certification reflects achievement. Therefore, a certified specimen collector displays excellence in their industry or field and fulfills set requirements and standards.
Certification can also help you to enhance your self-esteem. Association certification programs usually create a standard for a specific profession, ethics, career paths, and many more. You can consider yourself to be a certified professional who controls your professional destiny and has a sense of personal satisfaction.
Above all, a specimen collector certification can also establish professional credentials. It usually recognizes your accomplishments, so certification can stand above your resume and serve as a third-party and impartial endorsement of your experience and knowledge. Besides, when the public or companies look for someone qualified to perform drug testing services, they often seek people who have certification. Also, certification can prepare you for more on-the-job responsibilities. Certification tends to be a voluntary professional commitment to your field or industry knowledge, so it demonstrates that you are ready to invest in your professional development.