A Department of Transportation (DOT) specimen collector plays a critical role. Your job is to ensure and verify the integrity of the screening process. You are the only person who has direct contact with the employee, and you start the chain of custody for test specimens and results that are admissible in court.
Along with the employer, the testing facility, and the medical review officer (MRO), you are an essential part of a system that ensures substance-free workplaces in the interest of public safety. Therefore, a DOT urine specimen collector must be highly professional and accurate. Here are the steps to get certified:
1. Prepare and Enroll for Training
The DOT doesn’t certify or train specimen collectors, but they require that you are qualified to perform the collections. Before you take the course, you need to be an adult, be able to communicate and understand instructions in English, have no criminal convictions, and pass a background check.
Search for “DOT specimen collector training near me.” You can take in-person or online courses, and the instructor isn’t required to be DOT qualified collector to teach the class. Some courses require you pass an exit exam before your proficiency check, but the DOT doesn’t require the exam. They encourage it, though, to demonstrate compliance and successful learning of the required information. Some classes will also include proficiency checks, and some will have you book and pay for those separately. Be sure to cross-check the requirements and what they include before choosing your course.
Once enrolled, familiarize yourself with the regulatory language from the DOT 49 CFR Part 40. Review the DOT agency regulations and urine specimen collection guidelines, so you can easily follow them in training.
2. Complete a Certified Urine Specimen Collector Training Course
- Review Part 40 collection procedures.
- Learn to fill out federal collection forms correctly.
- Experience how to handle problem collections from shy bladders to tampering attempts.
- Identify correctable and fatal flaws in collections, their differences, and required paperwork.
- Learn about your responsibility for maintaining the credibility and integrity of the collection process, specimen security, and privacy.
- Memorize all necessary steps to conduct a correct collection:
- Have the employee fill out the required paperwork
- Complete the chain of custody on Custody and Control Form (CCF), ensuring they are all legible and complete, give a specified copy to the employee
- Place specimen bottles and first CCF copy in appropriate pouches of the sample bag and seal them.
Once done, the employee can leave the site. You need to prepare the sample for shipment and send copies of the paperwork to the MRO and Designated Employer Representative (DER) within 24 hours or by the next business day. You need to keep a copy of the paperwork for a minimum of 30 days unless the DOT regulations require more.
3. Demonstrate Your Proficiency in Collections
You will need to schedule five mock specimen collections with a live examiner. They can oversee remotely with a webcam or in person. The monitor needs to be a qualified collector who has passed a train-the-trainer course, performed DOT collections for a minimum of a year, or conducted Part 40 collector training for a year.
To receive your certification, you must complete five collections consecutively free of errors within 30 days of finishing your training. Two need to be routine or uneventful. Three will cover these issues: insufficient urine, sample out-of-range temperatures, and refusal to sign CCF paperwork and initial the bottle seal. The examiner will have to sign stating that your mock collections were error-free.
4. Sign an Agreement to Become a DOT Qualified and Professionally Certified Urine Collector
Once you complete your mock collections, you must agree to adhere to the training set standards. Your course will issue a certification that you can now perform federally regulated and non-regulated specimen collections. Speak to your training site if you have questions about receiving your certificate.
5. Stay Current on Changes to Test Training Material
Your qualifications are not location or collection site-specific. Your eligibility will follow you anywhere you work where DOT-regulated urine specimens are collected. You do not need to register on national lists to publicize your certification. Still, you must maintain documentation of your training and proficiency demonstration completions for a federal inspection.
You must also undergo refresher training every five years to maintain your DOT specimen collection certification. However, the DOT expects you to stay current with regulations and collection procedure changes between your courses instead of waiting for your refresher course.
Becoming a DOT-qualified specimen collector is one step in their overarching purpose: ensuring drivers and employees in safety-sensitive jobs don’t endanger their well-being or the health and safety of those around them. Your job is to ensure they are operating without any mind-altering substances. Take your certification course seriously, as it could save a life one day.
Together with the employer, the testing facility, and the medical review officer (MRO), you play a critical role in a system that ensures drug-free workplaces in the interest of public safety. As a result, a DOT urine specimen collector must be very skilled and exact. To obtain certification, take the following actions.