bradfordLarry had finished high school, but he did not like to study very well and usually followed his inclination not to.

Archived Story

Bill Bradford: Do Larry and I both need a license?

Published 7:03pm Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I had known Larry since his childhood. When I visited him in central Ohio, he was married.

He and his wife had two vigorous sons, both less than four years of age. Larry’s wife was a registered nurse, but Larry worked in a cabinet shop and hated his job. What Larry really enjoyed was working on cars.

He could tune up an engine or replace brake pads and rotors or service an automatic transmission. But he had not been to technical school and regarded cars as a hobby.
It was my belief that Larry had a good trade but did not realize his own worth and potential for employment as an automotive mechanic.

At that time my home was in a Chicago suburb and I knew that in my locale automotive mechanics were in demand.

I encouraged Larry to visit our home in Hinsdale and take the Illinois auto mechanic examination . He did and passed the examination.

We encouraged Larry and his family to live with us in our home temporarily while he was getting settled into his new employment and then looking for a house rental.

The ability to pass a licensing examination or demonstrate proficiency is the gateway to employment in many occupations. In the trades, serving as an apprentice for a period of time may be required before eligibility to advance to journeyman privileges in employment.

In my own area of expertise, a baccalaureate degree was required. It was mandatory that the degree be attained at an institution accredited to educate students in the medical sciences. But the degree was not a ticket to employment in California. Passage of a required written examination was also essential prior to employment in a hospital’s clinical laboratory.

And there was a separate examination administered at a different time and place for those who would attain national certification in clinical sciences. In the present, clinical laboratories are licensed and regulated by the federal government. Testing may only be done by personnel who have attained the specified professional qualifications.
A licensed clinical laboratory must maintain high standards of quality control and instrument maintenance and keep the written records to prove it.

Each day, specimens of known content are analyzed along with the patient specimens to assure accuracy and consistency. Several times each year specimens are sent to the laboratory by a central agency and the results of analysis sent back to that agency to monitor continued accuracy of that laboratory’s testing.

It is time for me to renew one of my State licenses in clinical science. Not only was a fee required, but I also was required to mail in copies of certificates showing twenty hours of continuing education. Satisfaction of the CE requirement could be done either with on-line courses or by attendance at seminars sponsored by my clinical laboratory professional organizations. I could choose subjects in blood banking, clinical chemistry, immunology, hematology, microbiology or laboratory management.

Larry has done well in automotive mechanical employment. He is presently called a “technician”. Attaining a license to work in a specialized area is often a ticket to good employment.

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