Training and Workforce Development

DLS provides leadership and support to enhance the clinical and public health laboratory workforce through initiatives that strengthen recruitment, retention, management, and training. DLS’ laboratory trainings help scientists combat emerging threats, learn evolving practices, and stay current with the newest standards and technologies. DLS also develops frameworks, models, and resources that support laboratory-related competencies for fellowships and health science education.

Our Services
  • Apply instructional design support and knowledge of adult learning best practices to help more than 60 CDC laboratories and external partners to collaboratively develop and assess effective training products to maintain a competent, prepared, and sustainable national and global laboratory workforce.
  • Provide competency-building content across nearly 100 laboratory topics to keep CDC, public health, and clinical laboratory scientists proficient in areas such as essential laboratory methodologies, new test procedures, informatics, and quality and safety.
  • Design innovative, comprehensive, and convenient training programs, featuring state-of-the-art video and graphics production in a variety of formats, including workbooks, hands-on workshops, as well as multimedia-based e-learning, webinars, virtual classrooms, and smartphone apps.
  • Support the development, promotion, and adoption of competencies relevant to the laboratory workforce through a national workforce strategic plan and the implementation of public health laboratory competency guidelines.
  • Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of public health laboratory education and training, including measuring the outcomes on the transfer of knowledge and skills to improved laboratory practice.
Virtual Reality Training

Learn about how DLS is adding virtual reality (VR) to its laboratory training toolbox.


LabTrainingVR: Biosafety Cabinet Edition
Biosafety Cabinet Edition

Available on both CDC TRAIN and STEAM platforms, this 60-minute VR laboratory course trains learners on how to Identify the major parts of a Class II Biosafety Cabinet, apply safe-work practices, prepare for work, maintain positive airflow, decontaminate and shut down a cabinet, conduct emergency shutdown procedures in a BSL-2 environment.


Our Impact
  • DLS’ products and programs address competency gaps for laboratory professionals and healthcare providers to improve on laboratory and point-of-care testing practices. The Ready? Set? Test! booklets, posters, postcards, and online training course help laboratories and other testing facilities meet CLIA regulations and follow recommended guidelines.
  • Training programs help laboratories improve their safety and quality of practice. Over half of DLS’ training participants have reported implementing new or improved laboratory procedures as a result of the training. More than 75% of the biosafety and biosecurity training attendees implemented changes in their facilities’ programs.
  • DLS informs national laboratory capacity for emergency preparedness and response. In 2015, the division successfully conducted the first Virtual Knowledge Assessment for Sentinel Laboratories—a group of several thousand local clinical laboratories that serve as the frontline response to biological threats in support of the Laboratory Response Network. DLS’ assessments, offered at no cost to the local laboratories, cover rule-out-or-refer procedures to identify potential bioterrorism agents.
  • DLS publishes work to impact the broad laboratory community. In May 2015, together with the Association of Public Health Laboratories, DLS published Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory
    as a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Supplement issue. The guidelines inform training and curriculum development, fellowship programs, and numerous management processes across public health and clinical laboratory systems.
Educational Tools Help Laboratories Continually Improve

DLS develop and disseminate a growing inventory of educational resources, including online courses, e-learning tools, web-based resources, and print materials. Here are some

  • More than 4,400 people have completed the Ready? Set? Test! online training course on preparing and performing waived testing. DLS’ booklets, posters, and postcards have reached laboratories in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • DLS’ workbook to help laboratories implement individualized quality control plans received more than 3,000 web page views in the first three months after launch.
  • People in the United States and 11 other countries have registered for DLS’ online continuing education course on good laboratory practices for molecular genetic testing.
Page last reviewed: February 2, 2021