You, a medical technologist, will work in labs of many sizes. You’ll be the supervisor to medical lab technicians, and your duties will be on a higher level than those you watch over. You can choose a specialization, if you desire:
- Blood bank technologist: You’ll work with blood to classify it and make it ready for transfusion.
- Clinical chemistry technologist: You’ll analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of fluid specimens.
- Cytotechnologist: You’ll use cell samples to prepare slides to check for abnormalities or cancers
- Immunology technologist: You’ll introduce foreign elements to check for any type of response (allergies, immune disorders, etc.)
- Microbiology technologist: You’ll analyze fluid samples for microorganisms and bacteria.
- Molecular biology technologist: You’ll test fluid samples using complex proteins and nucleic acids.
Find a medical technology program.
Your typical day-to-day may vary depending on where you work and what specialized field you’re in. You will:
- Analyze fluids such as blood, urine, and tissue.
- Record your discoveries.
- Study blood samples to see if they are compatible for transfusions.
- Know how to use microscopes, cell counters, and other equipment.
- Collaborate with a medical team.
- Supervise and train.
How to Become a Medical Technologist
To become a medical lab technician takes two years, and you’ll receive an associate’s degree. However, if you’re interested in becoming a medical technologist, you’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree.
- Get your high school diploma.
- Get a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or life sciences.
- Apply to the clinical or hands-on portion of your program.
- Become licensed, if your state requires you. To become licensed, you must have graduated from an accredited program.
- Apply to a MLT to MLS program to become a technologist, if you’re already a technician. Your certifications can be generalized or within the area of your specialty.
Salary and Job Outlook
Salaries for both medical technicians and technologists were reported to be the same in 2017. The median annual salary was $52K for early mid-career. Just starting out in your field, the salary in 2017 was $30K, while the top 10 percent made over $79K.
The top-paying industries are hospitals, which pay above the average ($54K), medical and diagnostic laboratories ($49K), and colleges and universities ($49K).
The employment growth for medical lab technologists is predicted to be above average at 12 percent. There will be over 19,000 new job openings through 2026. Your chances of finding employment will be mostly dependent on whether you graduated from an accredited program and if you’re certified.
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