Construction of several new Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories and expansion of existing operations have created an increased international demand for well-trained staff and facility leaders. Directors of most North American BSL-4 laboratories met and agreed upon a framework for leadership and training of biocontainment research and operations staff. They agreed on essential preparation and training that includes theoretical consideration of biocontainment principles, practical hands-on training, and mentored on-the-job experiences relevant to positional responsibilities as essential preparation before a person's independent access to a BSL-4 facility. They also agreed that the BSL-4 laboratory director is the key person most responsible for ensuring that staff members are appropriately prepared for BSL-4 operations. Although standardized certification of training does not formally exist, the directors agreed that facility-specific, time-limited documentation to recognize specific skills and experiences of trained persons is needed.