ABT Certification Examination 2021

The date, location and fees have not yet been determined.  Please do not apply for the 2021 examination until the Board has announced details.  This will be posted before the end of 2020.

ABT Certification Examination 2020

COVID-19 Update
June 30, 2020

In response to the public health threat and the ongoing uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Board of Toxicology Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel the 2020 ABT Certification Examination.

This was an extremely difficult decision and was only made after careful consideration of numerous alternatives. Ultimately, the delivery of a high-stakes examination such as the ABT exam is an intricate process and not easily modified over a short time window without negatively impacting the candidate experience or the fundamental validity and security of the examination.

While considering cancellation of the 2020 exam, the ABT Board considered all options and the sole basis of our final decision was the health and safety of our candidates as well as our Board members and liaisons who serve as proctors. Our decision was predicated on our commitment to deliver a valid, fair examination that meets the standards of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

The purpose of this communication is to provide insight into our decision-making process.

Why is the examination cancelled? 

Unfortunately, with the uncertainties created by the current COVID-19 pandemic, there was no scenario that would guarantee the examination could be administered safely for all involved. It is impossible to predict if it will be safe to travel in October in all of the locations where the examination is scheduled. In addition, social distancing could not be guaranteed in the exam rooms.

Why can’t the Board delay the cancellation decision until closer to the October testing date?

Candidates spend countless hours preparing for the ABT Certification Examination.  Applicants who have applied this year will be receiving letters regarding their eligibility in early July. The Board felt it would be unfair for candidates to spend months preparing with the uncertainty of the status of the pandemic and face subsequent cancellation at a later date. Likewise, the time and preparation involved in travel plans and site logistics for both candidates and proctors is considerable.  Again, the uncertainty of both the status of the pandemic in October and the number of candidates who would appear at each location made changes at a later date unfeasible.

Why can’t you give the examination in fewer locations or one central location? 

This option was eliminated for several reasons. It would be unfair to other candidates if the exam was only offered in select locations or countries. It would also be difficult to secure a new testing location at this late date. While a survey was sent to candidates to attempt to determine the potential number of actual test-takers, the responses did not provide enough information to determine what size room would be needed with allowance for social distancing.

Why can’t you offer the examination at commercial testing locations?

The Board has been looking into moving to an electronic examination for some time.  Facilities are prioritizing customers who have pre-existing commitments that were delayed by earlier COVID-19 disruptions. Sites are also limiting the number of candidates to assure social distancing and are already extending their hours to accommodate their current clients.

Why can’t you offer the examination online via remote proctoring? 

Just as commercial testing locations are prioritizing existing customers at this time, remote proctoring vendors are in high demand.  In addition, remote proctoring for high-stakes certification examinations is an evolving practice. Security issues and logistics are still of concern.  This practice has not yet been endorsed by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

What happens now? 

All eligible candidates will be automatically granted an additional year of eligibility.  The next examination is planned for October 2021.  The Board is committed to exploring the possibility of moving to an electronic format for 2021 to allow for greater flexibility and to minimize the potential for exams having to be canceled again in future years.

Please know the ABT Board of Directors spent much time deliberating about the 2020 examination and possible alternatives to cancellation. The Board is extremely disappointed about the outcome. We realize the implications of this decision to all of our stakeholders, particularly the candidates who have already begun preparations for the examination. We hope the COVID-19 pandemic is under control quickly.


The American Board of Toxicology Board of Directors