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Frequently Asked Questions

Providence Medical Laboratory Science Program - Spokane, WA

What is the cost of tuition and fees?

There is an application fee of $35. Tuition is $5,000 for the year. There is a non-refundable acceptance fee of $500 that will be applied toward your certification exam at the end of the year. Textbooks are approximately $850. Housing and meals are the responsibility of each student. There is no additional charge for out-of-state students.

Are there opportunities to attend the program at night, on the weekends or part time?

No. The program is one year in length and strategically planned to provide the best learning experience for the student which takes place mostly on day shift, Monday-Friday. Shifts can start as early as 5 am. Students may be required to rotate on an evening shift, but currently are not rotating on night shift. Students must complete the entire year of training to graduate from the program and be eligible to take the national certification exam.

Are there opportunities to work while in the program?

Students who choose to work usually do not work over 10-15 hrs/wk and typically work on the weekends. There have been some opportunities for students to apply for jobs within our laboratory; these positions are posted on an as needed basis and are not guaranteed.

What are some of the rotations offered by the program?

In addition to core disciplines of Hematology, Chemistry, Microbiology and Blood Banking, students participate in specialized rotations including: Molecular Diagnostics, Flow Cytometry, Virology, Research and Development, Management, Capstone, Mycology, Parasitology and Phlebotomy. Additionally, four students are selected for clinical rotations at the Northwest Hospital Alliance Laboratories; these students have a specific interest in gaining experience and potentially working in rural communities.

When can I turn in my application?

The application deadline is December 1st of every year. We accept applications and supporting documentation throughout the year. (Students who are reapplying will need to fill out a new application form; however new official transcripts are not required unless additional coursework has been taken).

When are students notified of the selection decision?

Generally students receive notification of acceptance by mid-February.

Can I request a phone interview or does it have to be in person?

Interviews must be in person and are required as part of the selection process. Interviews are held between November and January on specific dates during the application cycle.

Do you accept applications from students outside of the Pacific Northwest?

We work very closely with our local and regional universities in advising and curriculum planning; these schools include those in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana. This does not eliminate student applicants from outside this region, but those students from within the region may be given priority in the selection process in an effort to support these schools and our community.

What is the difference between a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) and a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)?

Medical Laboratory Scientists have at minimum a bachelor’s degree. Medical Laboratory Technicians at minimum have an associate’s degree or technical certificate. Some institutions and/or states limit the type of testing MLTs can perform. Generally, a MLS performs more highly complex testing requiring interpretations and correlation of data, as well as more intense trouble-shooting processes.

Is there a difference between a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS), Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS), or Medical Technologist (MT)?

No, these are all titles given to scientists who work in medical laboratories. In 2009, the two major national certifying agencies (ASCP and NCA) joined as one under the ASCP Board of Certification, thus combining titles of laboratory scientists/technologists. Now the official title from ASCP is Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS). In 2012 our school’s name changed to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center School of Medical Laboratory Science to help mainstream the terminology associated with our profession.

What is the difference between a 3+1 or 4+1 applicant?

3+1 refers to an applicant who enters a training program and completes their last year of college in a hospital-based MLS program. An affiliation agreement must be established between your university and our MLS program in order for you to enter the program as a 3+1 student. 4+1 refers to a student who already has a bachelor’s degree upon entering the hospital based MLS program. The universities we currently have 3+1 agreements with are Eastern Washington University, Montana State University and the University of Montana.

If not selected for the program, what options are available to me?

  • You are welcome to improve upon your qualifications and reapply to our program the following year.
  • Consider applying to other schools in our region.
  • Occasionally an accepted student declines their position. If this happens you may be selected as a student prior to the start of the program. In this case we would contact you.

What is the national certification exam or BOC?

Since 1928, ASCP (American Society for Clinical Pathology) Board of Certification (BOC) (formerly the ASCP Board of Registry) has been widely recognized as the preeminent leader in the certification of medical laboratory professionals. The majority of employers hire only certified staff.