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30 Years of CTBS

The First Examination and Administration

In 1976, a group of tissue banking professionals established the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) in Bethesda, Maryland to represent and drive advancement in the tissue banking industry. In 1984, the first edition of the AATB Standards for Tissue Banking was published to establish uniform best practices and begin to set expectations for the emerging industry.

Four years later in 1988, the development of the first ever tissue-specific examination and certification program began, resulting in the first version of the Certified Tissue Bank Specialist (CTBS) Examination. The following year, 141 individuals took the first ever CTBS examination, resulting in 122 individuals being awarded the CTBS designation. The first examination included 100 multiple choice questions which were predominantly written by the examinees themselves.

Exam Development

The role that AATB committee members play in the development of the CTBS examination is critical and has evolved with the program. Formally established in 2001, the Certification Taskforce set the foundation for critical advancements in the CTBS program, with Dr. Richard Kagan serving as the Chairperson until 2006.

AATB Certification Committee Chairs Past and Present

The Certification Taskforce became the American Board of Tissue Banking, a standing committee, in 2006. Dr. Duke Kasprisin served as the committee Chairperson until 2011, and was succeeded by Allyson McGinnis. Allyson remained in this role until 2015, passing leadership to the current committee Chairperson, Jeff Cox. In October 2018, the committee name was updated to the Certification Committee.

Examination Changes

Timeline of how the CTBS Exam evolved

The examination has now been administered 30 times and the certification program has grown to include over 3,000 CTBS throughout 14 countries.

This year, 363 people sat for the examination on Saturday, October 13th.

Looking to the Future

World map showing new locations for the CTBS exam

Countries where CTBS testing sites will be located in 2019.


This year, AATB and the Certification Committee have begun laying the foundation for the next chapter. The 2019 CTBS Examination will be administered electronically in proctored testing centers at nearly 1,100 locations across the globe in over 140 nations, including roughly 600 sites in the United States.

Examinees will have the benefit of scheduling their test time over a one week period at the location of their choosing, and organizations will not need to register their site as an alternate testing location. Grading will be instantaneous, providing examinees with not only their outcome, but also with their printed certificate.

Would you like to find the CTBS testing centers in your area? Click here to search for a location near you!