Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Becoming Certified

  • How do I submit forms?

    You may submit forms to the BLS by mail, email, or fax. It is recommended that you do not submit payment information via email, as it is not secure.

  • The LSO course I took offered a certificate of completion after I completed the quiz at the end of the training. Is this the same as being certified?

    No. The certificate of course completion that is offered after you successfully pass a course does not denote LSO certification. BLS LSO certification is only achieved by passing the relevant certification exam. The BLS certification exams are 100-questions, developed by subject matter experts (SMEs) and are only offered to eligible candidates who have applied to take the exam, have been approved, and have paid the exam and application fees.

  • I took the paper and pencil exam. When and how will I receive my results?

    Because the paper-and-pencil exam is scored by a third-party (to maintain the integrity of the exam), it can take up to four weeks to receive your results. Typically results are first sent by email, and then followed-up by mail using the mailing address provided on your initial exam application.

  • If I take the computer-based test, how long will it take to receive my results?

    Results for the computer-based test are immediate upon completion of the exam. The results will be provided by the testing center. Your score will be sent to BLS, and we will be in contact with you about next steps.

  • How long is the certification cycle if I pass the exam?

    The certification cycle for CLSOs and CMLSOs is three (3) calendar years and is maintained through Certification Maintenance (CM) activities related to laser safety and laser applications. The CM points and renewal dues ($150) are to be submitted to the BLS at the end of every three (3) year cycle.

  • What if I don’t pass the exam?

    If you do not pass the exam and wish to retake it, please notify the BLS in writing (email, mail, or fax). After paying the retake fee of $100, you may retake the exam one (1) time during your two-year window of approval to sit for the exam. At this time, BLS offers computer-based testing through Prov, Inc. A list of testing locations can be found here: Prov Testing Centers

    If you fail to achieve a passing score on your second attempt, you must wait until your two-year window of approval closes to reapply with a new application, application fee, and new references.

  • What materials should I study in order to prepare for the exam?

    At this time we do not offer an official study guide. For studying, we recommend reviewing all relevant standards (CDRH/FDA, Z136.1, IEC, etc). The CLSO exam primarily references the Z136.1 (2014), and the CMLSO exam primarily references the Z136.3 (2011), so it is important to be very familiar with the document relevant to the exam you are registered for.

    A list of areas of practice covered by each exam can be found in the CLSO Policies and Procedures, pages 8 — 10 and CMLSO Policies and Procedures, pages 7-9.

  • Where can I locate a computer-based testing center near me?

    The computer-based exam is currently available only in the United States and Canada. Testing locations can be searched here:

  • Can I cancel or reschedule my exam?

    Click here to view the cancellation and rescheduling policies. 

  • The testing center I want to choose doesn’t show any availability in Prov’s online scheduler. Can I still test there?

    When a testing site appears on Prov’s list and does not show dates, it may be by appointment only. To schedule at this center you will need to call Prov toll-free at 1.866.720.7768.

  • Are testing accommodations available?

    Yes, testing Accomodations (ADA and non-ADA) can be requested through our third-party testing partner, Prov. 

Certification Renewal

  • My company doesn't support my continuing education; how can I still earn enough CM points to renew?

    Finances do not have to be a barrier to earning the 10 CM points required for renewal over 3 years. Many CLSOs and CMLSOs earn 3 CM points simply by performing the responsibilities of an LSO (1 CM per year/ Cat. 1). Additionally, being a member of an approved organization can be another easy and inexpensive way to earn 3 CM points (1 CM per year/ Cat. 4). Training that occurs on on the job, such as in-service training on a new laser system that your company has acquired, can also count for continuing education if properly documented. The number of points is based on a time scale. If you maintain certifications relevant to laser safety, such as CNOR, CIH, or CSP, you can claim up to 0.5 CM points per certification, per cycle, in Category 9. Additionally, you can earn CM points by reading journal articles related to lasers or laser safety; simply log your reading using the Journal Article Review Worksheet and have your supervisor sign it (Category 9). Be aware that each category has a maximum number of points you are able to claim, so keep your CM activities diverse!

  • My certification has lapsed. How can I renew?

    If you could not achieve 10 CM points by your December 31 deadline and/or if you did not submit all required renewal documentation by December 31 deadline, then you must reapply for certification with a new application, new references, and new fees. If you pass the exam, you will be given a new certification number and a new starting date.

  • I'm not sure if I have enough points to renew; what should I do?

    You may contact BLS at any time to determine if an activity you've participated in is worth CM points. Someone from BLS will be happy to help you identify possible CM points. Keep in mind that all CM activities must be completed by the December 31 deadline, even if the paperwork is turned in at a later date. CM activities completed after the deadline will not count toward recertification. In the event that you still do not have 10 CM points after a comprehensive review of your activities, you may opt to retake the certification exam prior to the December 31 deadline. If you pass the exam, your cycle will renew for the next 3 year period. If you do not pass the exam, your cycle ends and you are not allowed to 'retake'; you must then reapply as a new applicant to achieve certification. The exam must be taken and passed no later than the December 31 deadline to count toward renewal.

  • Why can't I count my attendance at the (AORN or HPS or AIHIA) conference for full CM points?

    If you attend a conference that is solely about lasers (ICALEO, ILSC, Photonics West LASE, etc.), then you can earn up to 1 CM point per full day (6+ hours) of attendance. If you attend a conference that is not about lasers, but has laser sessions, then only the laser-related sessions that are attended may count for points, based on the time scale. If you attend a 20 minute laser-related session during 6 hours of a conference, only those 20 minutes will be counted for points. Please include a detailed breakdown of sessions you attended with the session title, session summary/ abstract, and someone to sign-off on your attendance of that session; include the date and times attended.

Extension Year

  • What is an Extension Year?

    The extension year allows CLSO/CMLSOs one (1) additional year to earn CM points. The point maximums for each category will remain the same. Only new points in categories not fulfilled will be applied towards the 10 CM points needed. If a CLSO/CMLSO meets the requirements to maintain their certification, their new cycle will begin January 1st following the extension year.

    The following limitations apply: 

    • The request and payment for both the renewal fee and extension year fee must be submitted no later than December 31st of the original 3-year cycle, i.e., the original certification expiration date.
    • An extension year may only be requested once every other certification cycle.
    • A CLSO/CMLSO can only renew by CM points in their extension year.
    • There is no “grace period” allotted to the fourth year.

    The CM worksheet and any other supplemental documentation must be completed and submitted by December 31st of the extension year. If there are any questions concerning the CM form, the BLS will contact the CLSO/CMLSO for clarification. The CLSO/CMLSO will not have the usual sixty (60) days to resolve the situation. If the situation is not resolved by December 31st of the extension year, the CLSO/CMLSO will go to Inactive Status.

  • Who is eligible for an extension year?

    CLSOs and CMLSOs who have not met ten (10) certification maintenance points during their current cycle and have also not been approved for an extension year during their last cycle.

  • How often can I apply for an extension year?

    An extension year can only be granted every other certification cycle after first approval.

  • Why can't I count my attendance at the (AORN or HPS or AIHIA) conference for full CM points?

    Please fill out the CLSO extension year application/CMLSO extension year application and email it to BLS.

  • How much is the extension year fee?

    The Extension year fee is $50.00 and must be paid in addition to your renewal fee. As this fee is subject to change, please review our fee schedule for the latest information.

  • When do I need to have my application and fee payments submitted by?

    All application and fee payments must be submitted prior to December 31st of the third year of your cycle in order to be accepted prior to expiration.

  • How will I know my extension year application has been approved?

    BLS will notify you of approval when your application and fee payments have been received. We will not process the payment unless you are approved.

General Questions

  • Does the Board of Laser Safety certify lasers or laser products?

    No, the Board of Laser Safety certifies personnel only. If you require an expert to review your laser safety program, you may need a consultant who is a CLSO or CMLSO.

  • Does the Board of Laser Safety provide laser safety training?

    No, the Board of Laser Safety does not offer training directly. BLS partners with laser safety educators and organizations to promote laser safety education by pre-approving laser safety training programs for BLS certification maintenance (CM) points, by encouraging employers to support continuing education for their employees, and by encouraging CLSOs and CMLSOs to maintain their knowledge-base of lasers and laser safety.

  • Is our organization required to have an LSO/MLSO?

    In the U.S., regulations differ by state, so the full answer to this question depends on where you are located. We are happy to assist you in identifying which agency you should contact for information on your local regulations. Note that the American National Standard Z136.1 Safe Use of Lasers states that an LSO is required when there are laser systems classified as Class 3B or 4, and that the employer's laser safety program shall include provisions for the "[d]esignation of an individual as the LSO with the authority and responsibility to effect the knowledgeable evaluation and control of laser hazards and the implementation of appropriate control measures, as well as to monitor and enforce compliance with required standards and regulations." (Section 1.3.2).

  • I was recently made the new LSO/MLSO of our facility. Do I need to become certified?

    At this point in time, there is no state or federal requirement that an LSO to be certified.  However, things may change in your state so you may have to check your local regulations to see what is required in your state. Beyond regulations, some employers require their LSO or MLSO to become certified. Many LSOs and MLSOs choose to become certified to add to their professional credentials and enhance their credibility in the workplace. Once you have attained a year of experience performing the responsibilities of LSO or MLSO, you may submit your application to BLS. You may also begin your application early and we will hold your application until you have the required experience. You may not take the exam until you have met all eligibility requirements and paid all applicable fees. For more information, see our certification FAQs.

  • I'm a CLSO/M through NCLC, is it the same thing as being a BLS CMLSO?

    No.  We are not affiliated with NCLC and do not recognize their certification as being reciprocal to ours. If you are an NCLC CLSO/M and wish to become a BLS CMLSO, you must meet all of our eligibility requirements and pass the BLS CMLSO exam.

  • Is your certification program accredited?

    We take the integrity, validity, and reliability of our certification program seriously, and many employers trust our program. That is why we have recently begun the journey to becoming accredited through ANAB; we are currently taking steps to ensure compliance with the industry standard, ISO 17024 Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons