Train-the-Trainer: How to Train Qualified Drug Testing Collectors

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Those who provide professional training to qualified drug test collectors play a critical role in maintaining drug-free workplaces and protecting the safety of the workforce and public. The workplace drug and alcohol screening process involves many professionals, including the employer and supervisor, the Medical Review Officer (MRO), the Designated Employer Representative, the Third Party Administrator/Consortium, the testing facility and the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

The specimen collector is the only person in the drug-testing process who has direct, face-to-face contact with the employee. They ensure the integrity of the urine specimen and collection process and begin the chain of custody that may eventually end up in a court of law. The collector should have a specific set of skills and knowledge that includes a full understanding of federal drug screening regulations, singular attention to detail and the ability to work well with people in potentially heated or emotional situations. It is the trainer’s responsibility to teach these skills and enhance these qualities in the collector.

The Course

The Train-the-Trainer course is a professional-level training that qualifies participants to train individuals in performing urine specimen collections for federally regulated and non-regulated drug and alcohol screening. It meets the regulatory standards of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rule 49 CFR Part 40 and provides a solid foundation for training collectors for a wide range of testing programs. Upon successful completion of this course, the participant will receive a five-year professional certification that qualifies them to train collectors in-house, for their company.

Additionally, course participants have the opportunity to become a National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association (NDASA) Approved trainer. Being NDASA approved means you can train outside of your company, using NDASA training materials. Approved trainers can offer their trainees NDASA Registered Collector Certification. For more information about becoming an NDASA Approved Trainer, contact NDASA Executive Director Jo McGuire.

Regulatory StandardExaminationDeliverablesIndustry Applicability
FederalOnlineUniversal skills setMulti-industry
40 CFR Part 40 – Subparts C, D, E, I and RSignatureProfessional CertificationPublic sector 
EligibilityRegulated by federal, state or local mandates
Potential NDASA Approved Trainer qualificationPrivate sector

Course Prerequisites

To take this course and receive trainer certification upon completion, a participant must:

  1. Be certified as a collector (by an industry association or a network of collection sites).

2. OR, have been designated as a trainer for at least one year.

3. Have been performing collections for at least one year, including federally mandated collections.

4. Submit a letter of recommendation from a client or supervisor.

5. As a Trainer, you must read and be familiar with the following: 49 CFR Part 40: Subparts C, D, E, I, and R,
Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy Compliance interpretations and Q&A and DOT Urine Specimen Collection Guidelines (These also are available in the Resource Library for download.)

6. Must be able to articulate the steps of both a federal and non-federal test to the examiner


Trainer Resource Library

The Resource Library includes links to resources both the trainer and student should have access to prior to collector training.

Training 101

This lesson covers some of the basics for leading an engaging, informative and impactful training course.

Clearing Up Common Confusion

This lesson discusses some common terminology that both the trainer and the prospective collector must have a clear understanding of.

Teaching the CCF

The Federal Custody and Control Form is the heart of the collection process. Learning and understanding the form is essential for any prospective collector.

Supervision of Mock Collections

This lesson provides an overview of the trainer’s responsibilities in observing mock collections, according to the regulatory language.

Monitored vs. Observed Collections

The trainer must review the difference between monitored and observed collections. When the collector is unclear, they can easily violate someone’s constitutional rights without intending to.

Handling Refusals

This lesson provides the trainer with guidance on how to help prospective collectors work with uncooperative donors to get a collection back on track and avoid a Test Refusal.

Conflict and De-Escalation

This lesson provides the trainer with additional conflict mitigation strategies to share with students. By closely following a consistent process the collector can de-escalate a heated situation and continue with the collection.

Correctable vs. Fatal Flaws

Errors in a drug test can lead to wasted time and money for employers, bad feelings for employees, distrust, and ultimately, a less safe workplace because of incomplete testing. This lesson covers fatal and correctable flaws and how to avoid them.


To conclude the Train-the-Trainer course, we offer some best-practice tips from our veteran trainers.