Certified Medical Technician Career and Certification

As a certified medical technician, you would work in a lab to help diagnose and treat diseases. You may obtain the credentials you need by pursuing a certificate or an associate's degree, or you may obtain training in the military. Review the certification process for medical technicians, and check the job outlook and salary potential in this field. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Medical technicians, also known as clinical laboratory technicians or medical laboratory technicians, work directly with physicians and other professional medical staff. Along with clinical laboratory technologists, medical technicians perform most of the diagnostic and treatment-related testing associated with treating patients. Most of these technicians hold a certificate or an associate's degree. Certification is voluntary, though it may enhance job prospects in some cases.

Certification American Medical Technologists and National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel offer voluntary certification
Career Outlook (2012-2022) 30% job growth (all medical and clinical lab technicians)
Median Salary (May 2014) $38,370

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Medical Technician?

In your work as a medical technician, you may analyze blood and tissue samples for bacteria counts, drug levels and abnormal cells using microscopes, computers, cell counters and other equipment. You would typically produce reports of your findings, which physicians use in treating their patients.

What Education Do I Need?

Educational programs for medical technicians are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Programs may be available as certificate or associate degree programs in medical technology or phlebotomy. Your program will typically include courses in medical terminology, phlebotomy, hematology, and microscopy, as well as computer science and mathematical problem solving. Online programs are not typically available. Some states require medical technicians to hold a license.

How Do I Obtain Certification?

You must pass an examination administered by a credentialing organization to obtain certification as a medical technician. Nationally-recognized organizations include the American Medical Technologists or the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel. Subjects covered by the exams include laboratory technique, patient identification, chemistry, knowledge of enzymes associated with the human body and evaluating blood and urine samples. If you hold educational credentials from an institution outside the United States, you must have your credentials evaluated and approved before registering for the examination.

What Are My Salary and Career Prospects?

As a medical technician, many of your job opportunities will be in hospitals, though opportunities also exist in other medical environments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted job growth of 22% for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians. As of 2014, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for medical and clinical technicians was $38,370 (www.bls.gov).

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