Certified Medical Tech: Career Profile, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements

Certified medical techs perform medical laboratory tests. These professionals will often hold a degree in medical technology or in one of the life sciences. Obtaining certification requires meeting the requirements of one of the associations covering medical techs. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Working in hospitals, physicians' practices, and independent laboratories, certified medical techs perform the laboratory tests that are used to diagnose and treat diseases. They prepare and look at blood and other bodily fluids for bacteria and other microorganisms. In performing their examination and analysis, medical techs use laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and computerized instruments, that automatically perform the laboratory tests.

Career Perform lab tests, prepare blood and other fluids, use lab equipment
Degrees Bachelor's or associate's degree in laboratory technology or life sciences; some may also have a certificate
Median Salary (2017)* Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians: $51,770; health technologists and technicians, all other: $41,800

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Training Do I Need?

Medical technologists have usually completed a bachelor's degree program in medical technology or some other area of the life sciences. Medical technicians commonly have an associate's degree in laboratory technology or the life sciences from a community college, but some may have earned a certificate from a vocational school or hospital. Some states require med techs to be licensed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), many employers prefer job seekers who have obtained certification from a professional association. Associations providing certification include the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel and the American Medical Technologists.

What Kind of Salary and Job Prospects Can I Expect?

The BLS forecasts that employment for medical and clinical laboratory technologists will grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026, a higher rate of growth than average for all occupations. More impressively, job opportunities for medical and clinical lab technicians will increase by a projected 14% during the same decade, per the BLS.

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians earned a median annual salary of $51,770 in May 2017, as reported by the BLS. The Bureau indicated that other health technologists and technicians in the field earned a median salary of $41,800 in 2017.

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