A medical technologist works in hospitals and medical laboratories. He or she is also known as a clinical laboratory scientist or clinical laboratory technologist. When a physician takes a patient’s specimen to test for infection, cancer, or other medical problems, it is the medical technologist who runs the tests and reports the results.
In laboratories, professionals in this field collect and analyze body tissues and fluids, supervise technicians, and process test results and data into patient records. Technologists may be working as specialists, such as cytotechnologists or technologists in microbiology, and need to complete a minimum education. To get a state license to work in the field, some are required.
If science and the medical industry interest you, this may be a great profession for you. However, you must enjoy working in a lab environment and have great attention to detail. To learn more about what it takes to be a clinical laboratory technologist, continue reading.
How to Become a Medical Technologist
Medical technologists generally need a bachelor’s degree in the field of work. To qualify for field entry, technologists can complete a degree program in medical technology or life sciences. A four-year medical technology degree program will include various courses. These may consist of chemistry courses, English grammar, organic chemistry, anatomy, psychology, social sciences, genetics, hematology, microbiology, urinalysis, and clinical biochemistry. A Bachelor’s medical technology degree program also includes clinical practice, requiring students to work in a laboratory setting.
Many states require individuals to have a license to work as a medical technologist. These states require a four-year degree and that you pass an examination successfully. Others may require certification to apply for a medical technologist license from a national certification organization.
Some employers may require technology certification. The American Society of Clinical Pathology provides technologists with training in several specialized areas such as blood banking, cytogenetics, hematology, or histology. The certification requirements depend on the specialty of the clinic.
The American Medical Technologists offer certification in the field of microbiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, biological science, and mathematics to technologists with a bachelor’s degree in medical technology.
Skills Needed to Become a Medical Technologist
Accurately following the guidelines for checking body fluids, tissues, or other materials is the responsibility of medical technologists. This requires a great deal of attention to detail and organizational abilities. Medical technologists must use sophisticated technical equipment.
Working as a medical technologist can require long hours of standing and bending to collect patient samples, which requires physical endurance. The role may also involve the collection of specimens by medical technologists as well as to lift and move disabled patients.
Average Salary of a Medical Technologist
In May 2016, the median annual salary was $61,070 for medical laboratory technologists. According to American Medical Tech, the median wage means that half of the workers earned more and half of the workers earned less than that wage. In addition, the lowest 10% earned less than $41,550, and the top 10% earned more than $85,160. In general, salaries in a hospital setting are higher than in doctors’ offices.
In 2014, about 164,800 jobs were held by medical technologists. Further, employment is expected to grow by 14% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average occupation’s increase. The elderly population will expand, which will lead to a greater need for laboratory procedures to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or type 2 diabetes. The use and maintenance of the equipment needed for diagnosis and treatment will require medical laboratory technologists.
You need to finish high school, graduate from an accredited program, and become certified to become a medical technologist. Though this job requires a lot of educational training, it is also a job that is vital to our societies. For more jobs and careers in the medical field, click here.