BLS: Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions Questions

I would like to be contacted by an admissions advisor. How do I request information about the online program offerings?

Click here to request information for the online Biomedical Laboratory Sciences programs.

How do you evaluate applicants?

We utilize a holistic approach to our admissions process, meaning all application materials are considered when making an admissions decision. This includes grades, academic history and rigor of previous academic programs, letters of recommendation, and prior work experience, to name a few.   

Are applications for the undergraduate programs reviewed with the same criteria?

Yes, we review applications for all of the undergraduate programs (BSHS and Post-Baccalaureate Certificates) identically and follow the requirements that are indicated on our website.

How is my overall GPA calculated during the admissions process?

If you have attended multiple institutions, your final GPA and credits earned are factored together to determine your overall GPA.

How is my science GPA calculated during the admissions process?        

The science GPA is determined by factoring together the science prerequisite course requirements for the particular program.

Can I still apply if I am missing one of the required courses?

Please contact an admissions counselor to further discuss your options regarding missing prerequisites. 

Do I need to complete the background check and drug screen? 

Yes. It is a requirement of all students enrolled in clinical programs at GW to complete a background check and drug screen as part of the admissions process. You will be sent an email during the first few weeks of your first semester with instructions on how to complete these requirements. Students are responsible for the cost of these screens.

How long will it take before I get admitted?

First you must submit your application.  Once your application is submitted and all of the required materials have been received, it usually takes two weeks to review and finalize the admissions decision. While each semester has a stated admissions deadline, the admissions staff begins reviewing applications 4-6 weeks in advance of the stated deadline and will issue decisions as they become available. Please note, if you are a local student applying to one of our clinical programs, decisions will not be made until 1-2 weeks after the published deadline. 

How many students are accepted each semester?

Over the last several years and across all MLS programs, the acceptance rate has been approximately 80%. Please note that applicants are reviewed and admitted based on their individual strengths and not in pursuit of meeting a particular admissions number.

What is your board of certification pass rate for the MLS exam?

First Time Pass rate 2014: 100%

First Time Pass rate 2015: 88%

First Time Pass rate 2016: 81%

First Time Pass rate 2017: 90% 

First Time Pass rate 2018: 93% (partial data)

What is your graduation rate?

100% of students who enter Phase II of the MLS program graduate

What are your employment rates?

Greater than 95% of graduates are employed in the field within three months of program completion. 

I have a Bachelor’s degree but want to get MLS certified. Is there a way I can do this without getting another Bachelor’s degree?

Yes, we have a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in MLS that is specifically designed for students who have an earned Bachelor’s degree.  This certificate program will provide you with the MLS courses and eligibility to take national MLS certification examinations. We also have a Master's program in Laboratory Medicine that will provide eligibility to take the national MLS certification examination. 

I am applying for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate but do not see this option in the application. What do I choose?

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificates are Undergraduate Certificates; therefore, select Undergraduate Certificate from the Degree drop-down menu in the application.

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

How much is tuition?

Tuition information can be found on our Tuition and Financial Aid website. It is listed as per-credit hour. 

I’m planning to use financial aid, what is the process?

Applying for financial aid is a process separate from applying for admission into the program. You will need to work with the Office of Student Financial Assistance and complete the appropriate paperwork to receive an aid award. It is recommended that you apply for financial aid when you apply for admission to expedite award disbursement in the event you are offered admission.

What additional fees are there?

In addition to tuition, there is a $35 registration fee each semester and each online clinical MLS course includes a $30-$45 proctoring fee for use of the remote proctoring service RP NOW. Laboratory courses in the Blended BSHS in MLS program include a $75 lab fee.

Do I have to pay for the practicum courses?

Yes. The practicum courses are still part of the MLS curriculum (i.e., credit earning coursework).

Are these programs financial aid eligible?

Most of our programs are financial aid eligible. Please refer to our Tuition and Financial Aid website for details.

Are books included in the tuition and fees?

No, textbook costs are not included. Details on required texts are made available in the Schedule of Classes, on the GW Bookstore’s website, and in the course syllabi. Guidance for locating textbook information is available on the Student Resources page.

General Program Questions

Where can I learn more about the online program offerings?

Click here to request information for the online Biomedical Laboratory Sciences programs.

Are all of the courses in this program online?

All of the didactic courses in the BLS programs are taught online. These programs also include at least one practicum course (the number of practica vary depending on the program).  The practicum courses are completed in an approved hospital or diagnostic laboratory and will include some online components. Students in the Blended BSHS program will complete in-person lab courses each semester at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, VA.

How do I take exams if the courses are taught online? 

To maintain the academic integrity of the program, the GW BLS program requires that students use a web-based remote proctoring system called Remote Proctor NOW in every BLS-designated course throughout the program. Additional information on this system from PSI Services.  See below the IT requirements to use Remote Proctor Now.

Operating System OS Version Required Plug-ins Connection Speed Date and Time Other
Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 SP2, 32- or 64-bit* Latest version of Flash ( Must have at least 200kb/s (.2mb/s) upload speed ^ Must be accurate for your local time zone .Net Framework 4.0 or greater^^
MAC 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10.11 Any version (10.8 x)* Latest version of Flash ( Must have at least 200kb/s (.2mb/s) upload speed ^ Must be accurate for your local time zone Windows Operating Systems are not supported for use on MAC.
Mac 10.10 Any version (10.10 x) ^ Quicktime 7.6.3$ Must have at least 200kb/s (.2mb/s) upload speed ^  Must be accurate for your local time zone  


Can I work while I am taking the classes?

Yes, most of our students work while they are in our program.  

How much time will I need to complete my classes each week?

We recommend that students in our undergraduate programs budget 4 hours per credit per week for studying. A part-time pace, for undergraduate financial aid purposes, is designated as 6-11 credits per term; therefore students can expect to spend 24-44 hours per week on coursework. A full-time pace, for undergraduate financial aid purposes, is 12 credits, resulting in about 48 hours of studying per week.

Students in graduate programs are encouraged to budget 12-15 hours per week for each course.

How do I register for classes?

The BLS programs utilize a managed registration system, meaning each semester you will work with your advisor to create a schedule for the upcoming semester and then your advisor, along with other staff members, will process your registration on your behalf.

How do I move through the program?

For the BSHS and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in BLS, students must successfully complete Phase I (didactic courses) before becoming eligible to enter Phase II (clinical rotations). In order to successfully complete Phase I, students must complete all BLS courses with grades of C or higher and have a 2.5 BLS GPA. Students must also complete the Clinical Rotation Request form and submit any other required documents as indicated in the CRR.

For the Categorical Certificates and the clinical MSHS programs, students must complete the core clinical BLS courses to become eligible to enter their program’s rotation. Certificate students must also complete courses with grades of C or higher and maintain a 2.5 BLS GPA; MSHS students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Students who fail to meet the minimum GPA requirements may be placed on academic probation, suspension, or face possible dismissal. The Regulations section of the GW Bulletin includes detailed information on academic standing. Details on the academic grievance and appeals process are included in this section as well.

BSHS Questions

How many credits can I transfer into the program to obtain a BSHS in BLS?

Due to academic residency requirements, we are only able to accept 60 credits for transfer into the BSHS in BLS program.

Can I transfer in credit for the BLS courses?

Due to certification examination and accreditation requirements, we are unable to allow students to transfer in coursework as substitutes for BLS core courses.

How long will it take me to complete the BSHS program?           

The BSHS program operates in a lock-step format. The program includes 6 semesters of online didactic coursework and a seventh semester of clinical rotations. 

What is the difference between the fully online BSHS and the blended BSHS?

The fully online BSHS program is open to students who are currently MLT certified through ASCP or AMT and completed an accredited MLT program. The blended program is designed for students who reside in the DC area and have completed an associate’s degree or equivalent credits (60+) and do not have previous MLT experience.

I already have a Bachelor’s degree and want to become an BLS, can I enroll in one of the BSHS in BLS programs?

Students who have an earned Bachelor’s degree are eligible for the following programs, all of which provide eligibility to sit for the national BLS examination: Secondary BSHS in BLS, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in BLS, and the MSHS in Laboratory Medicine.  All of these programs will provide you with the BLS courses and eligibility to take national BLS certification examinations.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Questions

Can I transfer credits from my Bachelor’s degree in place of some of the courses included in the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program?

Due to certification examination and accreditation requirements, we are unable to allow students to transfer in coursework as substitutes for BLS core courses.

How long will it take me to complete the full Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program?

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate programs operate in a lock-step format. The full BLS certificate includes 4 semesters of didactic coursework and a fifth semester of clinical rotations. The categorical certificates include 2 semesters of didactic coursework and a third semester of clinical rotations. 

What is the difference between the full Post-Baccalaureate Certificate and the Categorical Certificates?

The full BLS Post-Baccalaureate Certificate will provide you with all BLS courses and practica and upon successful completion you will be eligible for the BLS national certification examinations. The categorical certificates will provide you with the BLS courses and practica in one area (i.e., Blood Banking, Chemistry, Hematology, or Microbiology). Upon successful completion, you will be eligible to take the Technologist subject national exam and you will only be eligible to work in that one area of the lab.        

If I enroll in a Post-Baccalaureate Categorical Certificate now, can I enroll in one of the other categorical subjects later?

If you are interested in multiple categorical certificates, or there is any possibility that you would want to become BLS certified, then you should apply for and enroll in the BLS certificate. Students who wish to complete an additional categorical certificate must complete all required coursework - even those courses which appear in both programs, therefore it is more economical to pursue the full BLS certificate. In addition, students can only complete up to two categorical certificates due to the fact that courses can only be repeated once. 

I am pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Categorical Certificate (Blood Banking, Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology), but am thinking about doing the full BLS Certificate; can I change my degree later?

You will need to submit a new application if you want to switch to the full BLS certificate. We recommend that you do this early on in your program to ensure that you have taken courses in the proper sequence.

Clinical Practica Questions

Will I be assigned to a clinical site by GW?

Local students who live in the Washington DC Metro Area can be placed in one of our affiliate hospital labs in the area. Students who live outside of the Washington DC Metro Area are required to secure a satisfactory clinical site at the time of admission.

I have identified a clinical site. What is the next step?  

Once a clinical site is identified, the GW clinical coordinator will determine if the site performs all of the mandatory testing required.  If the facility is missing tests in any area, the student may need to find an additional site to complete the requirements for the rotations.  Once a site or sites are identified and approved; an affiliation agreement with each site is initiated.  The student cannot begin the clinical rotations until there is an affiliation agreement in place. 

Which clinical sites is the GW BLS program affiliated with?

The GW BLS Program has been affiliated with many outstanding and diverse clinical sites throughout the nation. These include medical centers, diagnostic laboratories, and military hospitals. GW has a long-term relationship with the following local affiliates:

1.The George Washington University Hospital, DC
2. Children's Medical Center, DC
3. Sibley Memorial Hospital, DC
4. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, DC
5. Virginia Hospital Center, VA
6. Fairfax County Health Department, VA
7. Inova Alexandria, VA
8. Inova Springfield, VA
9. Quest Diagnostics, Chantilly, VA
10. Novant Health, Manassas, VA
11. Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, VA
12. Holy Cross Health, Silver Spring, MD
13. Holy Cross Health, Germantown, MD
14. Suburban Hospital, MD
15. Walter Reed National Medical Center, MD
16. Anne Arundel Medical Center, MD
17. Doctors Community Medical Center, MD
18. Sinai Hospital, MD
This list is subject to change as we add/remove clinical sites. Local students are typically placed in one of these primary affiliates.
Can I automatically be placed in a clinical site that I already know is affiliated with GW?

GW establishes an affiliation agreement with all facilities prior to the clinical practicum rotations.  However, GW does not have the authority to automatically place students into these sites, since many of these affiliations are temporary and are only generated for an individual student.  GW has local primary affiliates, which are the only sites that GW can use to place students for rotations. Students securing their own clinical sites must acquire permission from the clinical site to attend the rotations. 

Have you worked with any clinical sites previously in my geographic area?

We have many clinical affiliates nationwide; please contact the GW BLS clinical coordinators ( sends e-mail)) for state-specific questions.

I am a local to the Washington, DC Metro area. Can I secure my own clinical site?

Yes, you may secure your own site. This site must be an accredited lab that includes all specific lab areas required to complete your practica.

I live outside of the Washington, DC Metro Area. Can I relocate to DC to attend clinical rotations?

Due to a high volume of applications and limited number of local clinical spots, we are typically unable to place non-local students in one of our primary local affiliates. Keep in mind that, it is also important for students to develop a professional relationship with a clinical site in their own geographic area to create future employment opportunities.

I have tried to find a clinical site but I am not having any luck - what can I do?

We highly recommend that you make appointments with the laboratory director/manager or the education coordinator for the lab at various hospital labs in your geographic area and go IN PERSON to discuss the clinical practicum. Bring the letter with the CSV with you since that provides an explanation of what you need.  DO NOT call or e-mail requests since it is far too easy to say no via e-mail or telephone.  Also, it is difficult to explain what you need if you are not there in person to answer questions.

Can clinical rotations be done at multiple sites?

Yes and sometimes this is necessary if one of the sites does not perform some of the required lab tests.  For example, if the clinical site does not do blood banking, then you may need to find another site to complete the blood banking practicum.  In these cases, we will establish an affiliation agreement with both clinical sites.

Can I complete my clinical rotations at the facility where I am employed?          

You may do your clinical rotations at your work place, however, we do not count work hours towards clinical rotation hours. You should make necessary arrangements with your lab manager to complete them at separate times.

Can I identify my clinical site after I start the program?

It is a GW BLS program requirement that students must have had secured a clinical site at the time of admissions. Military students deployed overseas may identify a clinical site later.

Can I change my clinical site later?

Yes, you may change your clinical site later and submit a new CSV form to the clinical coordinator.  It will also require another affiliation agreement which can take up to 6 months.  Consequently, it is better to have the clinical site confirmed as early as possible.

What is the Clinical Site Verification form?

Students who are securing their own clinical site must have the Clinical Site Verification form (CSV) filled out by the laboratory manager or the education coordinator of the clinical facility. The CSV form provides useful information about the facility; such as, the accreditation status and the specific departments within the lab. This will help us to make an initial assessment about the facility.

What is an affiliation agreement?

An affiliation agreement is a legal contract between the university and the clinical site for the purposes of placing students in clinical rotations at the clinical facility. The agreement consists of the mutual promises and specifies the responsibilities required for all parties (student, clinical site and university). It is important that the prospective clinical sites understand that if they agree to train a student, we will establish an affiliation agreement with that facility prior to practicum courses. In rare cases, affiliation agreements may fall through (usually due to legal conflicts between parties), and GW may not be able to establish an affiliation agreement with the student’s preferred clinical site. In this case, the student may be asked to make other arrangements with a different clinical site.

Can I enter clinical rotations when I am still taking didactic online courses?

Students must first finish all their coursework from the didactic portion (Phase I) before they can enter clinical rotations (Phase II).

How soon can I start my clinical rotations (Phase II) after I complete the didactic portion (Phase I) of the program?

The clinical sites can schedule your rotations to begin the semester after you finish your didactic coursework. In the event of limited availability of clinical rotations in a specific semester, clinical sites may schedule rotations in the semester following the requested semester.

Can I do my rotations in the Summer semester?

Please be advised that most clinical sites do not provide training in summer months due to short staffing availability. Local students will typically be scheduled to attend rotations in the Fall or Spring semesters. If you have secured your own clinical site, your lab manager will determine summer availability if that is necessary.

What are my options when clinical placement cannot be guaranteed immediately?

Local students who choose to attend rotations in one of GW primary affiliates: In the event of limited availability of clinical rotations, the GW BLS Program may have to schedule the student's clinical rotation in the semester following the requested semester. In the case that the student cannot be placed in rotations immediately after the completion of the didactic portion of the program, the student will be given a priority placement in the following semester. This delay would not negatively affect the student’s academic standing in the program.

Students who secure their own clinical sites (typically non-local students): In the event that a clinical site cannot provide a clinical experience in the semester requested by the student, the GW BLS program will work with the clinical site to determine if the practica can be completed in the following semester. In the case where a clinical site can no longer take the student, the student may be asked to make some other arrangements with a different suitable clinical site (i.e. finding placement at a different clinical site). In rare cases, if the student is unable to make arrangements with another site in her/his preferred geographic area(s), the student may have to relocate to Washington DC area to complete the clinical portion of the program.

Can I attend clinical rotations on a part time basis?

Part-time rotations in our primary local affiliates are typically not available. If you are securing your own site, the lab manager may allow you to do your rotations on a part time basis over an extended period of time. Please discuss this possibility with your lab manager/coordinator.

Is training on the evening/night shift available?

Training hours will be determined by your clinical site.

Am I going to be eligible to apply for state licensure after graduation?

You are eligible to apply for the ASCP board of certification (BOC) examination.  Once you pass the BOC, you are eligible to apply for MOST state licenses; however, the guidelines and requirements for state licensure vary.  You must identify the requirements for licensure (if applicable) in the state that you reside and determine what you need.  GW does not provide state licenses and we do not know the criteria for every state.  We do know that CA has very specific requirements for eligibility.

I have an MLT certification, do I still need rotations?

Yes, all students are required to complete the clinical rotations in order to earn their BLS degree or certificate.