ASBP: Not Just a Phase: Army Lab Tech Completes Certification
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Not Just a Phase: Army Lab Tech Completes Certification

by David Conrad, ASBP blood donor recruiter, Fort Hood, Texas
Army Pfc. Ryan Hopkins graduated from Phase II of the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) course on March 19 during a commencement ceremony at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (CRDAMC), Fort Hood, Texas. Friends, fellow students and senior hospital leadership were on hand to recognize Hopkins for his important achievements, capping off a year of formal training in the field.

The MLT program prepares graduates to function as entry-level medical laboratory technicians. Hopkins’ MLT instruction was comprised of two 26 weeklong training phases. The first phase of the training was held in the classroom at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas and covered blood banking and clinical laboratory procedures in hematology, immunohematology, clinical chemistry, serology, bacteriology, parasitology and urinalysis.

“The second phase is an additional 26 weeks of on the job training at one of the 21 Phase II clinical training sites including CRDAMC,” said Army Spc. Robert Miller, the opening speaker for the ceremony.

According to Miller, topics in the second phase include outpatient collections, blood banking, chemistry, microbiology, hematology, urinalysis and blood donor center operations.

Hopkins said microbiology was the most challenging part of the training. “There’s a lot that goes in to it. You get one week at each bench to learn all these organisms and you don’t have a whole lot of time.”

“I have the utmost confidence that the NCOs and the team here have prepared Pfc. Hopkins to do what he needs to do in support of our Soldiers,” said Army Col. Edward Bryan, CRDAMC’s deputy commander for patient services and guest speaker at the ceremony.

“Most of the success has to be attributed to the instructors,” Hopkins said, during the ceremony. “They’re the ones who give you the information about what to do, and I think they have really good first-hand training here.”

Hopkins also received an Army Achievement Medal for certifying as a Medical Laboratory Technician with the American Society for Clinical Pathology. According to Miller, only 20 percent of Army laboratory technicians have attempted and passed the ASCP MLT certification exam. According to Bryan, there are approximately 1,700 lab specialists in the Army and that number is decreasing.

“As you can see, we have only one Soldier graduating today. It is important for us in the clinical laboratory field and [Army Medical Department] as a whole to grow our ranks,” said Army Capt. Luis Tejada, commending Hopkins for passing the exam. “Pfc. Hopkins and the other Soldiers that have gone through CRDAMC have built a legacy here because for over two years now CRDAMC has accomplished a 100 percent passing rate.”

MLT graduates earn 60 credit hours towards an associate’s degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences with George Washington University and are certified to work in civilian and military hospitals as medical laboratory technicians. They can also perform a variety of roles at military blood donor centers, including donor registration, medical interviews, donor screening and donor phlebotomy for both in-house and mobile site blood drives.

Hopkins said he is looking forward to serving at Fort Sam Houston’s Brooke Army Medical Center now that his training is complete. He will be a welcome addition to the Armed Services Blood Program mission as his skill set is an important and needed role to maintaining a safe and potent blood supply.

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest and @usmilitaryblood on Instagram. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.