Thirty-one U.S. Navy Students to Graduate from TNCC Medical Technology Laboratory Program

Published: January 22, 2009

On Thursday, Feb. 5, at 9 a.m., 31 U.S. Navy Sailors will graduate from the Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) Program at Thomas Nelson Community College during a ceremony in the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium, Templin Hall. Capt. Susan E. Herron, NC, USN, Commanding Officer of Portsmouth, Virginia-based Naval School of Health Sciences and Alvin J. Schexnider Ph.D., TNCC’s Interim President will address the graduating class.  Force Master Chief Laura A. Martinez, Hospital Corps director, is also scheduled to address the graduating class as guest speaker.

This is the nineteenth and last class to graduate from Thomas Nelson Community College since the U.S. Navy awarded the contract in 1998. The graduating students will receive the TNCC Medical Laboratory Technician Certificate and will be awarded the Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) HM 8506.

In addition to the HM 8506 NEC, seven of the graduating students have also completed the requirements in Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) and will be receiving degrees in Medical Laboratory Technology.  Furthermore, the students have the opportunity to complete their educational goals by utilizing the Navy Tuition Assistance Program.

Tuition Assistance (TA) is the Navy’s educational financial assistance program. It provides active duty personnel funding for 100 percent tuition costs for courses taken in an off-duty status at a college, university or vocational/technical institution, whose regional or national accreditation is recognized by the Department of Education.  Navy TA pays for both classroom and independent study/distance learning courses, regardless of course length. Courses must be offered in semester hours, quarter hours, or clock hours. The credits earned must show on the institution’s transcript.

Seventeen of the graduating students are re-enlisting in the U.S. Navy for a minimum of three years to maximum of six years.  These students will be receiving selective re-enlistment bonuses for obligating additional service to the U.S. Navy.  The total monetary amount to be paid to these sailors exceeds $500,000.

The program calls for an accelerated 60-credit hour MLT certificate to be completed in 54 weeks. TNCC is the only community college in the nation to train U.S. Navy personnel as medical lab technicians. Students complete seven months of their training at Thomas Nelson and five months of clinical medical laboratory internship at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth. Graduating students apply the training received at U.S. Navy facilities around the world.   Navy administrators stated:  “This relationship over the past 10 years has been nothing more than remarkable.”

Thomas Nelson Community College has trained 607 Navy Sailors to date and of that figure 239 were awarded Associates of Applied Sciences Degree by the College.

Further, during this longstanding association 450 Medical Laboratory Technicians have received their American Society of College Pathologist certifications upon graduation. The skills and knowledge acquired over these past 10 years has been utilized by these sailors throughout the military in brining quality care and treatment to Navy Medicine and the patients and family they serve around the world.

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