MSL Board Certification (MSL- BC®)

Elevating the MSL profession through higher standards of professionalism, competence, and industry recognition.

The Medical Science Liaison Society is developing the first-ever professional certification for Medical Science Liaisons.

The MSL-BC® (Medical Science Liaison – Board Certified) is a voluntary process whereby an individual may earn a time-limited credential after validation of their ability to meet predetermined standardized criteria for the profession.

Why the Medical Science Liaison – Board Certification (MSL -BC®)?

The Medical Science Liaison – Board Certification (MSL-BC®) is an effort to set industry-recognized standards for the MSL profession by providing a test-based assessment of an individual’s industry knowledge, while affording them a credential that proves their industry knowledge and skill set to employers and peers, enabling career advancement and improving their overall contribution to the lives of patients whom their valued expertise ultimately impacts.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

  1. Health Sciences background
  2. Bachelor’s Degree or higher from a regionally or nationally accredited educational institution. A copy of the candidate’s highest degree or transcript must be provided at the time of registration.
  3. Have two years of collective experience working full-time as a Medical Science Liaison (or equivalent title).

Note – This certification is NOT intended for sales, marketing, or other non-MSL functions within a company. All candidates must legally attest that they meet all the above requirements, which is subject to verification.

“ 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-CEO-MSL Society

Certificate vs. Certification: What’s the Difference?

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), certificate programs and certification programs are designed to meet different needs. The following table from their website lists the main differences between the two programs. The MSL-BC® credential is a Certification Program as outlined in the right column in the table below.

Assessment-based Certificate Program Professional or Personnel Certification Program 
PURPOSE: Build capacity and recognition of a specialty area of practice or set of skills PURPOSE: Recognize professionals who meet established knowledge, skills, or competencies
Provides instruction and training (non-degree granting) Assesses knowledge, skills, and/or competencies previously acquired 
Goal is for participants to acquire specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies Goal is to validate the participant's competency through a conformity assessment system
Assessment is used to evaluate mastery of the intended learning outcomes; linked directly to the learning event Assessment is best used to assure baseline competencies and to differentiate professionals; independent of a specific learning event
Assessment content may be narrower in scope Assessment content is usually broad in scope
Awards a certificate to recognize mastery of the specific learning outcomes; it is NOT a certificate of attendance or participation, which is awarded to individuals who have attended or participated in a course or training program but did not have to demonstrate mastery of the intended learning outcomes Awards designations to recognize achievement                                                           
To earn accreditation, complies with the ICE 1100 Standard and follows the ACAP application procedures To earn accreditation, complies with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs and follows the NCCA application procedures

Those from the MSL community involved

in the development of the MSL-BC ®

Developing a professionally recognized certification program is an enormous undertaking which entails a great deal of planning and preparation to ensure program success. One of the most important steps in creating a credible and valid certification program is conducting a “Job Task Analysis” meeting, during which multiple global MSL leaders volunteered and met in person over multiple days to identify and agree upon the knowledge, skills, and abilities which will be required to pass in order to become MSL Board Certified.

Samuel Dyer, PhD

Samuel Dyer, PhD

Chief Executive Officer, Medical Science Liaison Society

Avery Ince, MD, PhD

Avery Ince, MD, PhD

VP, US Scientific and Medical Affairs Strategy Lead, Janssen

Linda Traylor, PhD

Linda Traylor, PhD

VP, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs, Biodesix

Arthur Chan, PhD, MBA

Arthur Chan, PhD, MBA

Executive Director, Head of MSL Capabilities and Training, Novartis

Donna Holder, PharmD

Donna Holder, PharmD

Director, Executive Director, GMA Field Medical Center of Excellence, Merck

Ralph Rewers, PharmD

Ralph Rewers, PharmD

US Medical Science Liaison Head, Abbvie

Belinda Gist, PhD

Belinda Gist, PhD

Director, Medical Affairs Learning & Development, Kite a Gilead Company

Ellen Shannon, PhD, RN

Ellen Shannon, PhD, RN

US Head of Medical Affairs, Valneva

Scott Thompson, MS

Scott Thompson, MS

Managing Partner, Acceleration Point

Mike Abbadessa, PharmD

Mike Abbadessa, PharmD

Former Sr. Director of Management & Operations, Takeda Pharmaceuticals / Currently CEO, OPX Insights, Inc.

Kumaran Krishnan, MBA

Kumaran Krishnan, MBA

Associate Director MSL and Digital Transformation, Teva

Judi Vensak, MBA

Judi Vensak, MBA

Field Team Medical Director, CSL Behring

Dan Anderson, PharmD

Dan Anderson, PharmD

Former Team Lead, Nephrology RMLs, Amgen / Currently Retired

Cherie Hyder, PharmD

Cherie Hyder, PharmD

Head of Medical Affairs, Alimera Sciences

Melody Davis, PhD

Melody Davis, PhD

Former Associate Director, MSL Training, Teva / Currently Managing Partner, Versant Learning Solutions

Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD

Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD

Regional Director, MSLs - Novartis

Leona Hamrick, DHSC, PA-C

Leona Hamrick, DHSC, PA-C

Former Medical Science Liaison, Lumicell

Deborah Profant, PhD

Deborah Profant, PhD

Associate Director, Managed Care MSL, Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Rita Zambelas, MSN

Rita Zambelas, MSN

Associate Director, Medical Affairs, Amicus Therapeutics

Tiama Chaar, PhD

Tiama Chaar, PhD

Medical Science Liaison, Sanofi Genzyme

Bernadett Mamone, PhD

Bernadett Mamone, PhD

Senior Medical Science Liaison, Eisai

Josh Yoder, PhD

Josh Yoder, PhD

Medical Science Liaison, uniQure

Daniela Divlianska, PhD

Daniela Divlianska, PhD

Medical Science Liaison, Novocure

Value of Certification

The MSL-BC® is the golden seal of excellence within Medical Affairs and the MSL community.

The MSL-BC® establishes an industry standard of professionalism, sets the standard for quality for MSLs globally.

Professional Development

By committing to becoming an MSL-BC® professional, you are promoting a higher level of professionalism, validating your competence by successfully meeting eligibility requirements and successfully passing a psychometrical validated certification exam, you’ve dedicated yourself to quality standards and have elevated yourself above your peers.

When Can I Apply?

The MSL Society is working to finalize development and anticipates the official launch of the MSL certification program soon.

MSL Certification Development Timeline

2017

February 2017

The MSL Society conducted the first phase of a Job Task Analysis (JTA) initiative to identify specific job duties and requirements for MSL professionals. Utilizing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the field, as well as expert guidance from a Psychometrician employed by a professional testing organization, we met in person to create a content outline for the certification examinations by means of thorough consideration and identification of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that an individual in the field of medical science should demonstrate regardless of employer type, therapeutic area of concentration, or geographic location. The JTA is a process which contributes to test validity by ensuring that the critical aspects of the job become the domain of content which the test measures. During this first phase of the JTA, a list of job-related tasks was generated and refined.

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2017

December 2017

Phase two of the JTA involved validation of the list of job-related tasks defined in phase one, by a broader group of SMEs representative of the overall occupation through a validation survey process. Individuals who participated in the survey indicated whether or not they agreed that each job task listed is actually used in the field, as well as whether the listed activities are important to the job, and how frequently they are conducted as part of the job. After survey responses are received and the survey was closed, the data was carefully analyzed by a group of SMEs to determine what the examination should specifically measure with regard to on-the-job competency areas, which were then built into the examination program’s test specifications.

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2018

February 2018

The MSL Society hosted two back-to-back in person meetings where in the first session SMEs wrote the actual questions that will be used for the official MSL certification examination, based on the feedback of the validation survey, and the second session was to review the newly written questions. Both meetings resulted in the creation of what is referred to as an Examination Blueprint. 

2018

March 2018

Exam Question Webinar Review:
Following the Item Review meeting, a 3-hour webinar was held with those in attendance of the Exam Question Writing and Review Meetings to review and approve the final MSL-BC® exam questions.

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2018 - 2019

May 2018 - July 2019

Learning Management System:
The last step has been a lengthy process to identify and develop the technology to administer the exam. We began working with Crowd Wisdom, an LMS developer to develop the software to support the MSL-BC® for online live proctored exam. This was completed in July 2019 and we are now launching the pilot program.

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Launch Date Coming Soon!