Careers in Medical Technology

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in medical technology. Read on to learn more about career options along with certification and salary information. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Career in Medical Technology Involve?

If you decide to pursue a career as a medical technologist, your main job would be to run analytical tests on biological samples in a medical laboratory environment. You would then record the data you collect and write up a report, which could be used by doctors for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, or by academic researchers for healthcare-related scientific studies. Some medical technologists specialize in particular subfields, such as molecular biology or immunology. They may also be responsible for the oversight of lower-level technicians in the lab.

The following chart provides an overview of the education, job outlook and average salary in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Medical laboratory technology, life science, biology, chemistry
Certification Appropriate national certification for state licensing
Key Responsibilities Prepare and analyze samples; conduct tests; enter data; maintain equipment
Job Growth (2014-24) 14% (for medical and clinical lab technologists)*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $60,520 (for medical and clinical lab technologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Education Do I Need to Begin a Career in Medical Technology?

The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act mandates that laboratory workers who perform complex tests hold a least an associate's degree in medical laboratory technology or laboratory science (www.cdc.gov). However, entry into the medical technology field as a clinical laboratory technologist may require a bachelor's degree in medical technology or a life science, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). When choosing a school, look for programs approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

Will I Need a License or Certification?

Licensing requirements vary by state. Certification is typically a voluntary process, but it may be required in order to obtain state licensing. American Medical Technologist (AMT) and the Board of Certification of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offer medical technologist credentials.

Medical technologist certification through AMT requires a bachelor's degree in medical technology or a related field (americanmedtech.org). If your degree is in a related field, you'll need to complete a medical technology program or have a minimum of one year of recent clinical laboratory experience. Your laboratory experience must include biological, chemical or physical examination of fluids and tissues.

The ASCP offers medical technologist certifications in nine specialties, including cytogenetics, blood banking and hematology. The minimum requirement for each certification is a bachelor's degree. Additionally, the ASCP offers international credentials to candidates who were educated outside the U.S. To qualify for the International Medical Technologist credential, you'll need medical laboratory training, work experience and a bachelor's degree.

What Might My Job Duties Be?

You'll work in one or more of the medical technology disciplines, such as immunology and clinical microscopy. Your primary duties would be to analyze and test body fluids and tissue samples. Other responsibilities may include specimen preparation, quality assurance, equipment maintenance and data entry. Work experience and additional education, such as a master's degree or a graduate certificate, could help you advance to a management or supervisory position.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in a technologist job that involves diagnostic testing, you could consider becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer. This job involves using ultrasound equipment to create internal body images, which doctors can use to identify diseases and disorders. This job usually requires an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate. Alternatively, you might want to think about becoming a forensic science technician. Instead of analyzing samples for medical purposes, they run tests of evidentiary specimens for criminal investigations. Like medical technologists, these professionals usually need a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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