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Become A Medical Technologist

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Working As A Medical Technologist

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $43,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Medical Technologist Do

Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Duties

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Analyze body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples, and record normal or abnormal findings
  • Study blood samples for use in transfusions by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group, blood type, and compatibility with other blood types
  • Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters
  • Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
  • Log data from medical tests and enter results into a patient’s medical record
  • Discuss results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians
  • Supervise or train medical laboratory technicians

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures that physicians and surgeons or other healthcare personnel order. However, technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do. For example, technologists may prepare specimens and perform detailed manual tests, whereas technicians perform routine tests that may be more automated. Medical laboratory technicians usually work under the general supervision of medical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers.

Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests; in large laboratories, they sometimes specialize. The following are examples of types of specialized medical laboratory technologists:

Blood bank technologists, or immunohematology technologists, collect blood, classify it by type, and prepare blood and its components for transfusions. 

Clinical chemistry technologists prepare specimens and analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of body fluids. 

Cytotechnologists prepare slides of body cells and examine these cells with a microscope for abnormalities that may signal the beginning of a cancerous growth. 

Immunology technologists examine elements of the human immune system and its response to foreign bodies. 

Microbiology technologists examine and identify bacteria and other microorganisms. 

Molecular biology technologists perform complex protein and nucleic acid tests on cell samples.

Like technologists, medical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the laboratory or specialize in one particular area. For example, histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for pathologists, who are doctors who study the cause and development of diseases at a microscopic level.

Technologists and technicians often specialize after they have worked in a particular area for a long time or have received advanced education or training in that area.

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How To Become A Medical Technologist

Medical laboratory technologists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Technicians usually need an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Some states require technologists and technicians to be licensed.

Education

An entry-level job for technologists usually requires a bachelor's degree in medical technology or life sciences.

A bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory technology, also known as a medical laboratory scientist degree, includes courses in chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics. Coursework emphasizes laboratory skills, including safety procedures and lab management.

The courses may be offered through a university or hospital-based program that students attend during their senior year of college. College graduates who major in other sciences and meet a program’s prerequisites, such as having completed required courses in biology and chemistry or maintaining a certain GPA, also may apply to a medical laboratory science program.

Medical laboratory technicians often complete an associate’s degree program in clinical laboratory science. A limited number of 1-year certificate programs are available from hospitals, and admission requirements vary. The Armed Forces and vocational or technical schools also may offer certificate programs for medical laboratory technicians. Technician coursework addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of each of the major laboratory disciplines.

High school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical laboratory sciences should take classes in chemistry, biology, and math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed. Requirements vary by state and specialty. For specific requirements, contact state departments of health, state boards of occupational licensing, or visit The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.

Certification of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is required for licensure in some states. Although certification is not required to enter the occupation in all cases, employers typically prefer to hire certified technologists and technicians.

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians can obtain a general certification as a medical laboratory technologist or technician, respectively, or a certification in a specialty, such as cytotechnology or medical biology. Most credentialing institutions require that technologists complete an accredited education program in order to qualify to sit for an exam. For more credentialing information, visit the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must understand how to operate complex machinery.

Detail oriented. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must follow exact instructions in order to perform tests or procedures correctly.

Dexterity. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians need to be skilled with their hands. They work closely with needles and precise laboratory instruments and must handle these tools effectively.

Physical stamina. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians may work on their feet for long periods while collecting samples. They may need to lift or turn disabled patients to collect samples for testing.

Advancement

After additional education, work experience, or certification, technologists and technicians may specialize in one of many areas of laboratory science, such as immunology, histotechnology, or clinical chemistry. Some medical laboratory technicians advance to technologist positions after gaining experience and additional education.

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Medical Technologist Jobs

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Medical Technologist Career Paths

Medical Technologist
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Production Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Assurance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Research Associate Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Nursing Director
Director Of Clinical Operations
12 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Team Leader Production Supervisor
General Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Clinical Coordinator Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Production Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Director Of Quality Management
13 Yearsyrs
Instructor Research Associate Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Manager Of Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist-Microbiology Medical Technologist, Generalist
Medical Technologist Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Research Technician Senior Laboratory Technician Laboratory Manager
Director Of Laboratory Services
12 Yearsyrs
Generalist Medical Technologist, Generalist
Senior Medical Technologist
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Lead Technician Technical Manager
Chief Technologist
7 Yearsyrs
Research Technician Chemist Laboratory Supervisor
Clinical Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Therapist Patient Care Manager
Medical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Microbiologist Chemist Laboratory Supervisor
Laboratory Administrative Director
13 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist, Generalist Senior Medical Technologist
Senior Medical Laboratory Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Microbiologist Senior Microbiologist Microbiology Supervisor
Microbiology Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Medical Technologist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Medical Assistant 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Medical Technologist
Internship 4.6%
Cashier 4.2%
Generalist 3.3%
Supervisor 3.1%
Top Careers After Medical Technologist
Supervisor 4.8%
Generalist 3.6%
Instructor 2.2%

Do you work as a Medical Technologist?

Medical Technologist Demographics

Gender

Female

60.9%

Male

27.3%

Unknown

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

57.9%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

9.4%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.4%

French

7.6%

Arabic

6.1%

Hindi

3.4%

Chinese

2.9%

Mandarin

2.7%

Vietnamese

2.3%

German

2.3%

Tagalog

2.1%

Portuguese

1.9%

Italian

1.5%

Russian

1.5%

Polish

1.3%

Urdu

1.1%

Gujarati

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Filipino

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Japanese

1.0%

Hmong

1.0%
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Medical Technologist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.5%

Community College of the Air Force

10.9%

Michigan State University

6.3%

Walden University

5.8%

University of Cincinnati

4.7%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.5%

Kaplan University

4.4%

University of Maryland - University College

4.1%

George Washington University

4.0%

Northeastern University

4.0%

University of Texas Medical Branch

3.7%

George Mason University

3.7%

Saint Louis University-

3.6%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

3.5%

Thomas Jefferson University

3.3%

West Virginia University

3.3%

Wayne State University

3.2%

University of Connecticut

3.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.0%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.0%
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Majors

Medical Technician

27.1%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

16.3%

Biology

8.6%

Nursing

8.2%

Business

7.9%

Health Care Administration

5.3%

Medical Assisting Services

4.8%

Microbiology

3.0%

Public Health

2.2%

Health Sciences And Services

2.2%

Chemistry

2.0%

Pharmacy

1.9%

Management

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.4%

Education

1.3%

Psychology

1.3%

Medicine

1.2%

Nursing Assistants

1.2%

Physician Assistant

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.4%

Other

18.6%

Masters

17.1%

Associate

10.4%

Certificate

6.6%

Doctorate

2.4%

Diploma

2.1%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$43,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$27,000
Min 10%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Baptist Hospital of Miami
Highest Paying City
Rochester, NH
Highest Paying State
Maine
Avg Experience Level
5.5 years
How much does a Medical Technologist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Medical Technologist in the United States is $43,339 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $27,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $68,000.

Real Medical Technologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Technologist Feather River Hospital Paradise, CA Jan 06, 2016 $110,006
Medical Technologist Wrangell Medical Center Wrangell, AK Dec 15, 2016 $101,367
Medical Technologist Enloe Medical Center Chico, CA Mar 28, 2016 $92,602
Medical Technologist Enloe Medical Center Chico, CA Jun 15, 2016 $92,602
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Juneau, AK Mar 24, 2016 $83,584
Medical Technologist Desert Regional Medical Center Palm Springs, CA Jul 13, 2015 $83,480
Medical Technologist II Bartlett Regional Hospital Juneau, AK Dec 01, 2016 $81,661
Medical Technologist New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, Inc. New Providence, NJ Mar 24, 2016 $79,188
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Juneau, AK Jul 13, 2016 $76,981
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Juneau, AK Sep 28, 2016 $76,981
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Juneau, AK May 10, 2015 $74,923
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Juneau, AK Aug 07, 2016 $74,923
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Juneau, AK Apr 21, 2016 $74,692
Medical Technologist Beth Israel Medical Center New York, NY Aug 02, 2016 $73,592
Medical Technologist The Methodist Hospital Houston, TX Aug 01, 2015 $53,421
Medical Technologist Dimmit Regional Hospital Carrizo Springs, TX Sep 26, 2016 $53,365
Medical Technologist Shannon Medical Center San Angelo, TX Sep 20, 2016 $53,248
Medical Technologist I District Hospital Holdings, Inc. Belle Glade, FL Jun 15, 2015 $53,219
Medical Technologist II Columbus Regional Hospital Columbus, IN Mar 31, 2016 $53,219 -
$57,393
Medical Technologist Specialist ARUP Laboratories Salt Lake City, UT Jun 01, 2016 $53,219
Medical Technologist Specialist ARUP Laboratories Salt Lake City, UT Jan 06, 2016 $53,219
Medical Technologist Lower Umpqua Hospital District Reedsport, OR Jan 05, 2016 $47,980
Medical Technologist Lubbock County Hospital District Lubbock, TX Jan 21, 2015 $47,959
Medical Technologist Mercy Hospital Valley City, ND Sep 26, 2016 $47,959
Medical Technologist Interpath Laboratory Boise, ID Mar 20, 2015 $47,902
Medical Technologist, Shift Supervisor The Good Shepherd Hospital Inc. Longview, TX Jul 14, 2015 $47,902 -
$52,902
Medical Technologist Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc. Tampa, FL Jan 05, 2015 $47,882
Staff Medical Technologist Trinity Health Minot, ND Dec 14, 2016 $47,876 -
$57,393

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Top Skills for A Medical Technologist

  1. Clinical Chemistry
  2. Hematology
  3. Laboratory Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assigned in Hematology and Coagulation, Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology and Clinical Microscopy.
  • Performed routine and specialized hematology/coagulation/chemistry testing.
  • Evaluated laboratory procedures for suitability and examines specimens for proper collection, adequate quantity and correct patient identification.
  • Performed clinical laboratory testing pertinent to chemistry, hematology, urinalysis, toxicology, & TDM.
  • Performed routine clinical laboratory testing in chemistry, hematology, coagulation, and microbiology.

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Top 10 Best States for Medical Technologists

  1. Alaska
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Montana
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Connecticut
  6. Nevada
  7. New York
  8. Wyoming
  9. Ohio
  10. North Dakota
  • (48 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (109 jobs)
  • (111 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (625 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (311 jobs)
  • (85 jobs)

Top Medical Technologist Employers

Jobs From Top Medical Technologist Employers

Medical Technologist Videos

Medical & Clinical Lab Tech Salary | How Much Money Does a Lab Tech make?

Medical Laboratory Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

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