What is Certification?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the action of certification is "to recognize as having met special qualifications (as of a professional board) within a field."
Training and certification often complement one another, but they are not interchangeable terms. Most training programs educate attendees and offer a certificate of completion (not to be confused with certification). Certification is the next step in proving proficiency. The Board of Laser Safety (BLS) certifies laser safety officers, medical and non-medical, who meet specific criteria and have passed an exam prepared by our subject matter experts (SMEs). BLS partners with organizations that offer training meeting specific criteria to approve those training courses as a pre-requisite for one of our exams. After someone has completed an approved training course from one of the approved organizations, they are one step closer to being eligible to sit for a BLS certification exam. The BLS offers two certifications:
The first type is called Certified Laser Safety Officer (CLSO) and is intended for professionals who are working with lasers in scientific, manufacturing, or industrial environments. CLSOs are often safety professionals such as industrial hygienists, health physicists, and safety engineers, but may also have other occupations while performing LSO responsibilities part-time. All CLSOs have a minimum of 1-year of experience performing the responsibilities of the LSO as outlined in ANSI Z136.1, have been recommended for certification by at least two professional references, have taken a BLS-approved LSO training course, and have passed the CLSO Exam that is offered by BLS.
The second type is called Certified Medical Laser Safety Officer (CMLSO) and is intended for professionals who are working with lasers in any medical environment where laser energy is applied to living tissue. Many CMLSOs work in hospital settings where lasers are used in surgery, but there are also CMLSOs who work in settings where the laser is used for therapeutic, cosmetic, or veterinary procedures. All CMLSOs have a minimum of one year performing the responsibilities of an MLSO as outlined in ANSI Z136.3, have been recommended for certification by at least two professional references, have taken a BLS-approved MLSO training course, and have passed the CMLSO Exam that is offered by BLS.
Why Become Certified?
Working in laser safety can be highly competitive, and becoming certified can help you stand out from other job candidates. At the same time, becoming certified adds a higher level of credibility to your “on-the-job” experience. The combination of laser safety experience and certification demonstrates to current and potential employers that you are accomplished and qualified in the field.
Detailed information about each of these programs such as exam requirements and information, fees, areas of practice, and certification maintenance can be found on this website. We are glad you are considering certification. Please contact our office with any questions.