Post-Graduate Categorical Certificate Program Specialist in Blood Banking
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is there a charge/fee for this program?
- Yes, the student will be charged tuition in accordance with current tuition rates of the University of Texas Medical Branch. The amount of tuition for each semester depends on the exact number of semester credits taken. For most semesters,
the student will have 6 semester credits.
- Note that tuition rates differ for in-state (Texas residents) and out-of-state students.
- There also might be a charge from your employer to use reagents or other specialized items or supplies. There may be a charge from external laboratories where you complete clinical practicums. Students are responsible for all charges for materials
- How will I obtain the necessary clinical experience?
- You may use your current place of employment for some of the experience.
- Your employer must provide information about their facility at the time you apply for the program.
- For any practicum experience that you cannot obtain at your place of employment, you must locate an additional facility where you can complete the checklist for that experience. Any facility you use for experience must complete a Memorandum
of Understanding after you are accepted into this program. Please note that a facility may charge you for this experience.
- The amount of time you will need to complete the practicum checklist items will be different for every student. A minimum number of hours is provided in the Practicum course syllabus; however, additional hours may be obtained if needed or
- At this time, the UTMB Blood Bank cannot accept students for practicum experience. The Program Director/Education Coordinator may provide contact information in some cases for potential Practicum locations.
- How does UTMB know the student has completed the necessary experience?
- Your supervisor, mentor or coordinator of each practicum rotation must complete a checklist to document completion of the objectives for that rotation. You will upload all completed checklists into the Blackboard Learning Management System.
These checklists are extensive and time consuming. Remember you are NOT just taking a course to pass the SBB(ASCP) exam; you are enrolled in an academic graduate program!
- There will also be evaluations, case studies, unknowns, projects and laboratory assignments.
- How will I take written and practical exams?
- Written exams are taken by computer and may be taken when convenient for you. In most cases, an exam will be available for at least 7 days.
- Written exams must be taken with a proctor. The proctor can be your mentor, a supervisor or another responsible person at your place of employment. Exams can also be taken at a local community college or other establishments where exams are
routinely given. However, there may be a charge for taking exams at a testing center.
- Quizzes and other assignments do not require a proctor.
- You must identify your proctor and submit the name and email address of the proctor before your program begins. The proctor does not have to stay with you the entire time you are taking an exam, but he or she must ensure that you do not use
unapproved materials during the testing process. In other words, the job of the proctor is to ensure that you are not cheating!
- In some cases, instructions or materials for the exam may be sent to the proctor in advance, so it is important to be certain that the proctor's email address is current.
- Practical exams will be done through Blackboard. Case studies will be provided along with testing results and you will work through the serological testing process by accessing additional results until you have resolved the patient's problem.
- How do I select a mentor?
- Your mentor is a SBB(ASCP), a Medical Director or someone with the extensive blood bank/transfusion medicine experience. The prospective mentor must provide a resume or CV that outlines education and experience in the Blood Bank/Transfusion
- Your mentor is someone who can help you through the year of SBB school – someone who can answer questions, proctor exams, help with locating samples for testing, advise you on research topics and in many cases, help with networking for
sites in which to complete Clinical Practicums.
- You will choose a mentor and the qualifications will be evaluated by the Program Director/Education Coordinator.
- The mentor must complete an agreement form. The mentor will be given
information to help you with your year.
- My mentor wants to know what he/she will be required to do.
- The mentor will be the person that the Program Director/Education Coordinator can contact if you are struggling.
- The mentor is the person who can help you find places to complete your Clinical Practicum checklists.
- Your mentor may help you find samples as indicated in the homework assignments.
- The mentor may be the person you can talk to about problems, help you study, give you advice and moral support through the year.
- The mentor will be given access to all objectives and checklists; they will not have a copy of the tests.
- What type of computer will I need?
- Hardware standards and Software standards. These are STANDARDS used at UTMB and are the minimum recommendations. This does not mean you can't have more but it will be more difficult if you have something less.
- You must have reliable access to the internet. We use the Blackboard Learning Management System. You will have to download PowerPoint presentations - some quite large - so a high speed internet connection will make this easier for you.
- You must be able to stay on line for up to three hours to complete an exam. When taking exams it is best to have a wired internet connection, since disruption of the connection will cause an incomplete test to be submitted. Consider the speed and
reliability of your internet connection when determining where you will take exams. Most hospitals/clinical labs and testing centers will be adequate for taking exams.
- Do I have to come to UTMB?
- For the SBB program, you will be required to come to UTMB for the first week of orientation. During this week you will be oriented to Blackboard, attend lectures, develop your schedule and become acquainted with other
students. You must pay for all costs associated with this week.
- For the MS-TRM program, an on-campus weekend lab (Thursday-Sunday) is required for the Molecular Diagnostics course (Spring semester). You must pay for all costs associated with this week.
- How will I obtain information used to study for the exams?
- UTMB provides objectives and suggestions for additional reading. You will do the reading and answer the objectives.
- Notes/outlines will be provided using PowerPoint presentations on Blackboard. Some PowerPoint presentations have voice-over narration and some lectures have been recorded to provide the ability to listen to the presentation.
- The Education Coordinator, Medical Director, and other faculty will be available via email and a discussion board for you to clarify questions you might have.
- Please note that there is currently very little hands-on training provided. The material is the same that you would get if you went to an on-site program minus the face to face lectures and laboratory time.
- How much time should I give for this program?
- Each person is different; however, plan to dedicate at least 2 hours each night during the week and possibly one 8 hour day on the weekend for studying.
- For the clinical practicum requirements, much of the checklist tasks can be completed from the current and previous work you have done in blood banking. In some instances, you may have to take vacation time and spend time observing donor
activities and performing reference lab testing at a blood center.
- What books should I buy?
- You are not required to purchase any books. However, everyone should have access to a current edition of the AABB Technical Manual and the AABB Standards. The Blood Group Antigen Facts Book (Reid, Lomas-Francis and Olsson) is also very
helpful. Any current Immunohematology text is acceptable to use as a reference. There are also great internet sites and your place of employment may have books you can use.
- For a list of suggested readings, please refer to the ASCP.org website. ASCP has posted a list of texts recommended for studying for the SBB(ASCP) exam.
- What if I cannot keep up with the scheduled tests and clinical requirements?
- You must take the exams during the scheduled time period. If you are late or do not maintain at least 80% overall GPA, you may be placed on academic probation. All situations will be discussed individually as each student
will have different problems. We will do our best to work with students when they are facing difficulties.
- UTMB reserves the right to remove a student from the program due to poor performance or failure to keep up with the schedule. All student academic issues will be handled by the School of Health Professions (SHP) Grading and Promotions
Committee. The policies of UTMB SHP will be followed.
- What if I change places of employment during my year of training? What if my mentor leaves or decides they do not want to continue?
- You are encouraged to keep the same position for the year if at all possible. If you must change positions, the new facility must agree to continue with your training. New affiliation information and forms must be completed.
- If the mentor leaves but is still willing to continue to assist you, there should be no problem. However, if the mentor decides that he/she is unable to continue to provide support, you must locate another mentor. Depending on the student
and the stage of training, you may be able to continue without a mentor.
- So all I have to do is study, take the tests and complete the checklists for the clinical experience?
- That's certainly a large part of the year, but in addition, you must complete a literature review paper, critique journal articles and antibody cases, prepare and test unknown samples and complete management and education projects.
- This is a long and very busy year! You will study for tests in each course, plus a midterm and final exam. You will do your clinical rotations and all the projects. PLUS you will still be working and interacting with friends and family.
- It will be the longest – and shortest – year of your life!!
So are you ready to apply? If so, complete the application process.