National Allergy Bureau (NAB) counters are certified separately as a pollen counter or as a mold counter in order to use a Burkard Spore Trap or the equivalent. Certification is offered to counting stations that agree to provide data on a timely bases to the NAB. Following the required training course(s), the candidate for certification will be required to take a web-based qualifying exam The exam covers the basics of pollen and fungal spore aerobiology, fundamentals of microscopy, sampler operation and conversion of counts into concentration as outlined on the “Knowledge Base for Counters” developed by the NAB. Reference materials for the exam are also provided. (The exact material for the exam will be determined by the NAB Certification Committee). Following successful completion of the qualifying exam, the candidate will be permitted to take the practical exams using slides.
To be certified for pollen, a counter must successfully count and identify grass, weed and tree pollen grains on one pollen slide, which would represent spring, summer and fall pollen types in most of the continental U.S. Once the slide is graded passing, the counter will be considered a certified NAB pollen counter and eligible to count and present data for the NAB aeroallergen network.
To be certified for molds, a counter must successfully count and identify molds on a single slide. Once this slide is graded successful, the counter will be considered a certified NAB mold counter and eligible to count and present data for the NAB aeroallergen network.
Before initiating the qualifying exam and slide testing process, counters should have completed at least one of the following “hands-on” pollen and spore identification programs:
AAAAI Basic Aeroallergen Course
ACAAI Basic Aeroallergen Course
Courses administered by Harriet Burge PhD.
Courses presented by Mike Muilenberg or Christine Rogers
To determine eligibility of other identification programs, please contact the NAB.
NAB certification allows the counter to participate in the NAB Aeroallergen Network. This network presents daily pollen and molds counts on the AAAAI website. NAB counters must be a member of the AAAAI or the ACAAI or participate in a station where the director is a member of one of these associations. NAB counters will have access to the NAB online database for posting their counts and storing their station data. NAB counters will have password protected access to the Counters Center of the NAB site. This center has a pollen and mold slide library, a counter listserv, a bibliography with pertinent web links, a counter and station operations manual. NAB counters meet once a year at the Counters Meeting held at the AAAAI Annual Meeting.
To start the certification process, please submit a completed counter questionnaire with appropriate supplemental materials to the NAB.