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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/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $50,000

    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 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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Average Length of Employment
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?

Average Yearly Salary
$50,000
Show Salaries
$40,000
Min 10%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Children's Hospital
Highest Paying City
Boston, MA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
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 $50,098 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $40,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $61,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Medical Technologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Technologist Feather River Hospital Jan 06, 2016 $110,006
Medical Technologist Wrangell Medical Center Dec 15, 2016 $101,367
Medical Technologist Enloe Medical Center Mar 28, 2016 $92,602
Medical Technologist Enloe Medical Center Jun 15, 2016 $92,602
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Mar 24, 2016 $83,584
Medical Technologist Desert Regional Medical Center Jul 13, 2015 $83,480
Medical Technologist II Bartlett Regional Hospital Dec 01, 2016 $81,661
Medical Technologist New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, Inc. Mar 24, 2016 $79,188
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Jul 13, 2016 $76,981
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Sep 28, 2016 $76,981
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital May 10, 2015 $74,923
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Aug 07, 2016 $74,923
Medical Technologist Bartlett Regional Hospital Apr 21, 2016 $74,692
Medical Technologist Beth Israel Medical Center Aug 02, 2016 $73,592
Medical Technologist The Methodist Hospital Aug 01, 2015 $53,421
Medical Technologist Dimmit Regional Hospital Sep 26, 2016 $53,365
Medical Technologist Shannon Medical Center Sep 20, 2016 $53,248
Medical Technologist II Columbus Regional Hospital Mar 31, 2016 $53,219 -
$57,393
Medical Technologist I District Hospital Holdings, Inc. Jun 15, 2015 $53,219
Medical Technologist Specialist ARUP Laboratories Jan 06, 2016 $53,219
Medical Technologist II Columbus Regional Hospital Apr 30, 2016 $53,219 -
$61,567
Medical Technologist Lower Umpqua Hospital District Jan 05, 2016 $47,980
Medical Technologist Lubbock County Hospital District Jan 21, 2015 $47,959
Medical Technologist Mercy Hospital Sep 26, 2016 $47,959
Medical Technologist, Shift Supervisor The Good Shepherd Hospital Inc. Jul 14, 2015 $47,902 -
$52,902
Medical Technologist Interpath Laboratory Mar 20, 2015 $47,902
Medical Technologist Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc. Jan 05, 2015 $47,882
Staff Medical Technologist Trinity Health Dec 14, 2016 $47,876 -
$57,393

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Top Skills for A Medical Technologist

  1. Clinical Chemistry
  2. Lab Equipment
  3. Hematology
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Perform variety of laboratory tests in Hematology, Clinical Microscopy, Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology, Serology and Blood Bank.
  • Performed rabies testing and water quality controls for the region* Maintained lab equipment and troubleshot/resolved instrument problems.
  • Performed routine and specialized hematology/coagulation/chemistry testing.
  • Performed complete routine Hematology/Coagulation/Urinalysis testing.
  • Performed medical/laboratory procedures in all departments including microbiology, chemistry, blood bank, hematology, urinalysis, and immunology.

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Top 10 Best States for Medical Technologists

  1. Alaska
  2. Vermont
  3. Rhode Island
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Maine
  6. Nevada
  7. Idaho
  8. California
  9. Oregon
  10. Montana
  • (48 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (109 jobs)
  • (69 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (1,038 jobs)
  • (90 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)

Medical Technologist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 26,300 Medical Technologist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Medical Technologist Resume

View Resume Examples

Medical Technologist Demographics

Gender

Female

64.5%

Male

31.0%

Unknown

4.5%
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

Community College of the Air Force

17.1%

University of Cincinnati

6.2%

Michigan State University

6.1%

Virginia Commonwealth University

5.4%

University of Maryland - University College

4.9%

University of Texas Medical Branch

4.7%

George Washington University

4.6%

George Mason University

4.4%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.2%

University of Connecticut

4.2%

Thomas Jefferson University

4.0%

Walden University

4.0%

Wayne State University

4.0%

Winston-Salem State University

4.0%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

Saint Louis University-

3.7%

Kaplan University

3.7%

Northeastern University

3.7%

University of Central Florida

3.5%
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Majors

Medical Technician

27.0%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

17.8%

Nursing

8.4%

Biology

7.0%

Business

6.3%

Medical Assisting Services

5.5%

Health Care Administration

5.5%

Health Sciences And Services

2.6%

Microbiology

2.6%

Chemistry

2.5%

Pharmacy

1.9%

Public Health

1.7%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.5%

Medicine

1.5%

Management

1.4%

Psychology

1.4%

Nursing Assistants

1.4%

Criminal Justice

1.4%

General Studies

1.3%

Clinical Psychology

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.7%

Associate

14.8%

Masters

14.3%

Certificate

10.1%

High School Diploma

7.0%

Diploma

4.1%

Doctorate

2.3%

License

0.7%
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Top Medical Technologist Employers

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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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Updated May 18, 2020