TNI Logo The NELAC Institute

Assessor Technical Training: Microbiology


This course provides examples of the assessment process for microbiology, based on The NELAC Institute (TNI) Environmental Laboratory (2009 and 2016) standard. The principles for assessing specific technical disciplines within the laboratory operations are presented.

The rationale for assessing is based on proven quality principals that allow the determination of adherence to the defined system for the technical operations. The system standards used during this course are the 2009 and 2016 TNI Environmental Laboratory (EL) standard. Personnel with a basic science background in this technical area assess operations by conducting an assessment of a laboratory system and technical operations to assure conformance to the stated quality system and where applicable the mandated methods.

This technical training course provides, identifies and reviews the following:

  • Critical steps and processes of the analytical technology or technique that must be executed to ensure quality data, including critical quality control (QC) measures and QC criteria.
  • Major sources of error for the analytical technology or technique and how to evaluate them as part of the assessment.
  • Inappropriate procedures or practices for the analytical technology or technique.
  • Key information required for assessing the laboratory results and procedures.
  • Essential elements for assessing data generated.
  • Exercises in the assessment from raw data to reported results.
  • Writing findings or non-conformances to the standard requirements and recording observations.

The course presents the fundamentals of how to assess technical operations for the following microbiology techniques:

  • Chromofluorogenic
  • Multiple Tube Fermentation
  • Membrane Filtration
  • Heterotrophic Plate Count
  • Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act Methods
  • Cryptosporidium, Giardia (overview)

Course Background
Accreditation of laboratories is based on a single set of standards developed by The NELAC Institute (TNI). Members represent federal agencies, state programs and the private sector. This single standard is a uniform standard for all laboratories.

The standard developed by TNI incorporates current state program requirements and the International Standards Organization (ISO) standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005, “General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories.” The standard includes all quality assurance (QA) policies and quality control (QC) procedures that must be presented in either a QA Manual or laboratory procedures to help ensure and document the quality of the data produced.

Laboratories seeking accreditation under NELAP must assure implementation of all QA policies and the essential applicable QC procedures specified in Volume 1 of the TNI standard. The QA policies are applicable to environmental laboratories regardless of the size and complexity.

This course has been revised and materials updated to meet the requirements of the 2009 & 2016 TNI Environmental Laboratory Standard for technical assessor training.

The TNI standards may be purchased on the web at

Expected Learning Outcomes

Personnel successfully completing the course will acquire the following:

  • Knowledge sufficient to assess the implementation of the technology by the laboratory.
  • An understanding as to how the technology is used in the various methods.
  • An understanding of the key elements of data packages, and raw data to review and check effectively.
  • How to write non-conformances and track corrective actions, evaluate root cause analysis

Final Exam

  • Students must prepare for the final exam.  Students must read TNI EL Volumes 1 and 2 of both the 2009 and 2016 standard.  Students are expected to be thoroughly familiar with the technology and standard before the course  starts. You must obtain a 70% score to “successfully complete” the course. (NELAP assessors: You are required to have successfully completed technical assessor-training as stated in the 2009/2016 TNI EL Standard.) The exams will be based solely on the 2009 TNI EL Volumes 1 and 2 to avoid confusion.

Download Course Agenda (PDF)


$550 for TNI members
$650 for non-members

TNI Members: you must be logged-in to the website to receive the member rate.

Certificates of Completion are included with the course upon successful completion of the exercises and an overall exam score of at least 70%. A Certificate of Attendance will be provided if the two requirements for a Certificate of Completion are not met. Please contact Ilona Taunton at [email protected] for copies of any quizzes not already provided with the training material and/or any questions regarding your certificate.

  • This assessor course has both exercises and quizzes that must be submitted to complete the class. The recording reviews the instructions for the exercises. These exercises need to be submitted to Ilona Taunton ([email protected]) in one email after you have finished both the Day 1 and Day 2 exercises. 

    When you complete Day 1 of the class, please contact Ilona Taunton ([email protected]) for a copy of the Quiz. Let her know which day you want to take the Quiz because it must be returned the same day it is sent. Once you have completed the Quiz, you can start the Day 2 class. When you finish Day 2, send a request for the Quiz from Ilona (again let her know which day you want to receive the quiz) and start the Day 3 recording. 

    Once Ilona has all your exercises and both quizzes, she will provide you with a 1 hr and 15 minute recording that reviews the exercises and quizzes. Once you have completed this recording, contact Ilona Taunton for a copy of the Final Quiz. Please schedule a time to take this Final because you will only be given two hours to complete it. Once Ilona receives the quiz she will send you a final 45 minutes recording that will review the answers.

  • Format:

    About Webcasts: Upon receipt of your payment, you will receive a special link by e-mail to watch the webcast on your computer. The link is time-limited: you will have full access to the webcast and any associated handouts for 6 months after receipt of payment, at which time the link will expire. Webcasts cannot be downloaded; they are intended for viewing on your computer only during the 6-month window. If you have any questions, please contact Ilona Taunton at [email protected].

    3 days

    CEUs: 1.4

    Presented By:

    Marlene Moore

    About the Presenter:
    Marlene Moore founded Advanced Systems, Inc. in February 1992 as a consulting company specializing in quality systems for laboratory and sampling operations. She brings together the needs of quality system management, measurement operations and regulatory compliance.

    Marlene Moore has worked and managed sampling and testing laboratories for over twenty years before providing her expertise to others. Current work includes assessing for laboratory accreditation programs to ISO/IEC 17025 and assessing to ISO/IEC 17065 for conformity assessment certification programs. Assessments are performed for A2LA, ANAB and ANSI. Additional assessor and auditor training was completed under the EPA Safe Drinking Water Program for State certification laboratory auditors for inorganic, organic and microbiology and as an ISO auditor for ISO 9000. Formerly an RAB ASQ/ANSI registered auditor.