What is the MSL-BC®?
How to apply?
Preparing for Your Exam
MSL leaders involved in the development of the MSL-BC® share their thoughts
“My first thought when the concept of a certification exam for MSLs was initially being discussed, I didn’t think that it was really feasible. There are so many entry levels into the MSL career as well as major differences in company interpretations of the role. I have nearly 18 years of experience in the MSL space,I have familiarity with creating surveys, tests, questionnaires and a basic understanding of psychometrics. And with all of that experience I couldn’t really fathom how we could create a valuable exam. So as any curious naysayer would do, I got involved.
What I learned is, yes, it can be done. And it can be done well. It took countless hours of determined team work to create an exam we all could truly be proud of. I don’t regret a moment of the energy we have put into this process. We were all very pleased to see the final product we had worked on. I can confidently say that the certification exam does accurately measure the common basic competencies that MSLs need to be very familiar with to function in the role.”
Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD
“I got involved in the development of MSL board certification because I have hired and developed new MSLs and understand the broad range of skills and capabilities MSLs need to have to be effective in this demanding role.
MSL job opportunities are increasing with the recognition of the tremendous value MSLs deliver through educating clinicians and supporting medical needs just before and during commercialization of new medicines, devices and biologics. More MSLs are entering this career path without formal training or preparation due to higher demand for MSLs.
Hiring directors will benefit from a formal MSL certification which assures an MSL candidate has a standardized threshold competency across all stages of drug development and core MSL activities. When an MSL achieves this formal MSL board certification through the MSL Society, the MSL will be confident in their capabilities; colleagues and leadership can rely upon the MSL’s capacity and preparedness to deliver value within the appropriate scope of the MSL role. MSL leaders who achieve certification can attest to the comprehensive nature of the formal exam.
Leaders and MSLs with MSL board certification model excellence in the MSL profession within their organization and to MSL teams, who may also seek MSL board certification. Many professional careers such as medicine, engineering and IT have formal board certification exams. The MSL career is equally important and the MSL Society board certification exam will elevate MSLs who pass this rigorous competency board exam.”
Cherie Hyder, PharmD, MSL-BC® Medical Excellence & Operations Lead – Biohaven Pharmaceuticals
“As each company has its own competencies, on-boarding and requirements there exists no standardization across the industry. By working with a diverse group of Medical Affairs professionals to develop fair and balanced questions in collaboration with professional testing agencies, MSLS has created a certification exam that will establish standardized criteria for Medical Science Liaisons globally.
If Medical Affairs leaders take this exam it will establish at least two important goals; one, to set an example for their team and two, to help understand gaps in their educational training programs.”
Rita Zambelas, MSN, MSL-BC®
Associate Director, Clinical Science Liaison
“Every medical profession has its excellence degree and the MSL profession is playing a huge role in advancing medicines and bringing the therapies to the right patients at the right time. Having a certification for the MSLs around the world adds value to the impact the MSLs have in the medical community and also put everybody on a high level of knowledge, which is extremely needed in the scientific and medical domain.
As an MSL being part of the creation and development of the certification allowed me to get insights on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that the peer expert panel agrees than an MSL should have, and help me to develop new training programs to enhance the capabilities of the current MSL team and help them adapt to the changing MSL career.”
Tiama Chaar, PhD, MSL-BC®
Advanced Accelerator Applications
“Many of us in the MSL or Medical Affairs profession at some point have thought -“I should start a professional network or community group….” I know I have. Well, the MSL Society actually executed on it. I attended my first MSL Society conference in Boston 2014. I knew immediately this was the real deal, a community of my peers that are volunteering their time to advance the profession. As a nonprofit, the MSL Society is truly serving a community. Further they are investing in setting reliable standards for the MSL professional. As a member of the Advisory Board, I have participated in the development of the Board Certification program and I am proud to stand by the benchmark we have created for our industry. As a hiring manager, when I see the MSL-BC credentials going forward, I know what it took for that individual to achieve it and I would absolutely consider it an advantage over a similar peer without it.”
Linda Traylor, PhD, MSL-BC®
VP, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs
“I was happy to support the MSL Society in their efforts to create an MSL certification and their extensive efforts to validate the certification. The MSL certification allows for demonstration of the knowledge necessary to be a credible and professional MSL. A certified MSL can be confident in their skills and practical knowledge of the guidelines relevant to the profession. The certification handbook will be a valuable tool for MSL training and program evaluation.
I view the MSL certification as another service that strengthens the MSL community and profession.”
Deborah Profant, PhD
Associate Director, Managed Care MSL
“The MSL-BC provides a route for the MSL professional to display their competence in the role and commitment to the profession.
It can assist in career advancement and distinguish the MSL within their peer group. The well respected credentials will signal the MSL as a member of an elite group of professionals.”
Dan Anderson, PharmD, MSL-BC®
Former Team Lead, Nephrology RMLs
“A certification is often confused with a certificate, which is often promoted as certification. However, there are key differences between them. The primary purpose of a certificate program is to simply provide training. In contrast, the primary purpose of the MSL certification will be to assess and evaluate one’s acquired knowledge, skills, and competencies related to the Medical Science Liaison role. Another key difference is that unlike a certificate program after one passes the MSL certification, they will be awarded a professional designation that will be recognized and used to highlight their certified status. Furthermore, unlike a certificate program, which is typically a one-time training event, the MSL certification will have routine requirements over time which must be met to maintain the credential.”
Dr. Samuel Dyer
“Board certification in any field is useful to demonstrate the skills and knowledge that an expert in their area should have obtained through their professional training and experience. It establishes a higher standard than what is reflected by experience alone. Having been an MSL for more than 5 years in companies varying from small biotech with no commercial products to large pharma, I have seen various approaches to on-boarding and continuous training of MSLs. The MSL-BC Certification for MSLs allows individuals in the profession to demonstrate their competency as a professional to peers, others in their organization, and potential employers, regardless of the amount and quality of training they have received. In addition, this certification gives managers confidence that existing and potential employees are well qualified and up to date on current standards in our profession.”
Josh Yoder, PhD, MSL-BC®