Education and Training – Associate’s Degree
Average Salary – $30,000 – $60,000
Job Outlook – Excellent
A medical technician is responsible for carrying out a variety of technical tasks within the context of a medical facility. These will typically take place inside a laboratory although other areas of the facility may require the support and assistance of a medical technician. The type of work carried out is often performing medical testing, interpreting results, carrying out tests of drugs on patients, and so forth. Medical technicians perform a vital role in the world of health care. A med tech is required to be focused, organized, reliable, and methodical. They will often be responsible for carrying out their own workload, sometimes with the supervision of a medical technologist.
Education and Training Requirements
Someone seeking to become a med tech should pursue high school courses with a focus on technical and scientific subjects rather than arts based courses. Having good scientific, technical, and analytical ability is a key approach for medical technicians and these traits are best developed through the study of technical subjects. High school courses relating to biology and health are particularly useful.
The majority of medical technicians have an associate’s degree but this is not considered an essential requirement as a certificate in medical technology is sometimes considered acceptable. Obtaining an associate’s degree in medical technology or a closely related field is advisable as often the college credits earned can be transferred to a full bachelor’s degree which is advantageous in obtaining career promotions.
There is an aspect of on the job training to a medical technician role. Learning from and working under a medical technologist is a key part of the job. The specific medical equipment used by a facility will also need to be learned on the job.
Getting the Job
Getting a med tech job involves having the qualifications required by a medical facility. An associate’s degree in medical technology is a great way to show a passion for the field and also proof of the needed skills. Professional certificates and diplomas in medical technology will be acceptable to some employers. Having a background working in a medical facility in a technical role, such as within a laboratory, will be useful experience for a prospective med tech.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
The job prospects for med techs are good. There will always be a need for health services and the development of medical technology means that there are likely to be a greater need for med techs in the future. An expanding population will also increase the demand for all health care workers, including med techs.
It is possible for med techs to progress to the role of medical technologists by gaining a full Bachelor’s Degree and completing specific training. Med techs can also take specialist qualifications which will enable them to work within a more specialized technical role.
Working Conditions and Environment
Med techs work within medical facilities such as Doctor’s practices, hospitals, and laboratories. They will usually work within the laboratory section of these places. Medical technicians often work shift patterns. Some med techs will work a standard, office-hours type of working week, while others will work varied shifts including overnight shifts at some facilities. It is a position of responsibility and this brings a certain level of stress. There is sometimes pressure from doctors to get test results quickly.
Salary and Benefits
The salary for a med tech varies greatly from role to role. Depending on the hours worked, the specific facility and the level of specialist knowledge and experience required, med tech salaries may range from $20,000 – $60,000 but this is only a guideline. Many med tech jobs offer health care and other benefits but it depends upon the particular employer.
Where to Go For More Information
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
6701 Democracy Blvd., Ste. 300
Bethesda, MD 20817
Clinical Laboratory Management Association
993 Old Eagle School Rd., Ste. 405
Wayne, PA 19087.
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
5600 N River Rd., Ste. 720
Rosemont, IL 60018