Medical technology is also known as clinical laboratory science. Many areas of healthcare, such as public health and the pharmaceutical industry, rely on technicians or technologists to help treat patients, test results or compound medications. If you’re thinking about a career in medical technology, consider the type of path you want to take. Medical technologists often have a specialization, conduct more complex lab tests, oversee technicians and earn a higher salary. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for this role. A medical technician reports to a technologist and may not be permitted to complete certain tasks. An associate’s degree or certificate is typically required to work as a technician. For those looking to enter the field quickly, becoming a technician can be a great place to start.
The usual requirement for an entry-level position as a medical and clinical laboratory
is a bachelor’s degree with a major in
or one of the life sciences; however, it is possible to qualify for some jobs with a combination of
and on-the-job, specialized training.
Everything you need to know about Medical laboratory technician part 1
What do medical technicians do?
Medical technicians assist with medical diagnosis through the collection and testing of samples in a laboratory environment. These medical professionals take samples of blood, tissue and bodily fluids and test them for the presence of bacteria, viruses or other infections and diseases and provide the results to physicians and nurses. Other common job duties medical technicians are responsible for include:
The job duties of medical technicians can go beyond these common responsibilities, especially for medical techs that focus their careers on phlebotomy, where the job duties focus on drawing blood and testing blood samples. Surgical technicians may also take on additional duties, especially when assisting physicians and surgeons in the operating room.
What is a medical technician?
Medical technicians are the professionals who work with laboratory technicians to assist in the preparation, examination and analysis of lab samples and specimens. Additionally, you can choose to specialize in a specific concentration for medical technicians, where you can find positions as a phlebotomist or even as a surgical technician.
Average salary for medical technicians
Generally, most medical technicians complete an associates degree, however, there are certification programs available, too. The following steps provide the two paths to take to become a medical technician:
1. Complete post-secondary training
There are accredited certification programs available at many community colleges and vocational schools, and these training programs can prepare you for a career as a medical technician. The common timeframe of a certification program can vary from school to school, but these educational programs generally take anywhere from six to 12 months to complete. This means you can enter your career sooner than if you pursue an associates degree.
2. Earn your associates degree
The other option you have to start your career is to earn an associates degree from an accredited college. In a medical technician education program, coursework can include studies in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, phlebotomy and immunology. After graduating with your associates, youll be able to enter your career.
3. Obtain your certification
Medical technicians must obtain certification to work in a clinical lab setting. Depending on your states specific requirements, you may need to obtain state licensure to enter your career, too. The National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel offers the Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT) credential, which showcases your knowledge and expertise and qualifies you for work as a medical lab technician.
Additionally, the American Society for Clinical Pathology provides the Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) certification, which also signified your qualifications as a medical technician.
4. Gain work experience
You can start your career after obtaining your educational certification or associates degree and your medical technician license. As you gain experience as a medical technician, youll have opportunities for career advancement.
For instance, many medical technicians gain work experience in the field and then continue their education to become medical technologists, surgical technologists or histotechnicians (medical technicians who work strictly in the laboratory).
5. Advance your career
You can pursue your bachelors degree in the field, which will qualify you to become a medical technologist, where youll work closely with other technicians in supervisory roles within a clinical laboratory. Additionally, if you pursue a certification program, you can continue your education through obtaining your associates or through accelerated programs so you can advance your career.
Frequently asked questions about becoming a medical technician
The following frequently asked questions about becoming a medical technician can provide additional insight into the career field:
What skills will I develop during my medical technician training?
Medical technologists develop a wide range of skills and knowledge that contribute to their career success. In a medical technician educational program, youll likely learn to apply research and analysis, your critical thinking and writing skills and technical skills that will enable you to navigate your job duties in the lab.
Additionally, specific medical skills such as working with medical equipment, interacting with patients and healthcare teams and running laboratory tests will also be part of your training and development.
Where can I find a job as a medical technician?
Medical technicians work in a variety of clinical settings, but hospitals are the most common places of employment for medical techs. You may also find positions in outpatient surgery centers if you pursue a career as a surgery tech, and you can also find available career opportunities working for private clinics and physicians practices.
What is the work environment like for medical technicians?
Medical technicians generally work full-time schedules, sometimes putting in extra time to finalize test results, record information and share data with physicians. Additionally, medical technicians who work specifically in phlebotomy will spend much of their time on drawing blood and preparing samples for lab analysis, while histotechnicians primarily perform laboratory tests and analysis in the lab.
The job can be demanding and fast-paced, especially in a hospital setting where medical techs may perform multiple tests and sample analyses every day.
What medical technician pays the most?
- New York – $72,500.
- Rhode Island – $70,580.
- Connecticut – $70,220.
- Oregon – $69,330.
- California – $68,450.
Is medical technology a good career?
How do you become a tech in the medical field?
- Obtain an associate’s degree from a community college or junior college. …
- Apply with the National Credentialing Agency to take the certification exam for medical laboratory technicians. …
- Schedule your certification exam.
What are the duties of a Med Tech?
- Clean and sterilize equipment.
- Draw blood.
- Apply dressings.
- Stain specimens.
- Study blood samples for transfusions.
- Assist OR doctors and personnel with gowns, gloves, and scrubs.
- Observe vital signs.
- Analyze test results and record data.