Becoming a Medical Technologist – Job Duties and Educational Requirements
Being a medical technologist can be a very rewarding career. Of course it also comes with a certain amount of stress and a lot of responsibilities but it is also a job that pays well and is in demand. Not only is it in demand now but it also appears that demand will continue to grow over the coming years so becoming a medical technologist is a great field to get into.
There are a lot of job duties and responsibilities that come along with being a medical technologist. You will be responsible for collecting bodily fluid and/or tissue samples and you will also have to know how to properly handle and process those samples. Every laboratory has their own set of procedures for this type of work and you will need to adhere to the guidelines of the laboratory you are working for. This type of work also requires knowledge in a number of different areas such as chemistry, microbiology, immunology and toxicology among others.
As a medical technologist you’ll spend your days in a laboratory setting working at a hospital, independent laboratory, research institution, pharmaceutical lab or some other clinical environment. The field of medical technology encompasses a number of different fields so you could end up working in any number of different types of laboratories. However, all laboratories will have a clean, clinical setting and every laboratory will have to adhere to national requirements set for equipment safety and wearing the proper attire.
The educational requirements for becoming a medical technologist vary somewhat from one place to another but generally speaking you will need to have a four year bachelors degree as well as some additional clinical training. As an example, one specific job listing that we found online at the time of this writing required that anyone applying for the job be 18 years of age or older, a high school graduate or equivalent, possess one year of technician training from a formal training program, and a minimum of 60 semester hours from a regionally accredited college. The semester hours needed to include courses in chemistry, biology and medical laboratory techniques. This particular job listing would also accept an associate degree in chemistry, biology or another related science and one other alternative would be a 50 week military medical laboratory procedures course.
If you are just entering high school or if you are the parent of someone that might be interested in a career as a medical technologist it’s never too early to start planning for your career. If you are still in high school you should take various science and mathematics courses including biology, physiology, chemistry, algebra, geometry and computer skills.
Medical technology is a growing field and the number of positions that will need to be filled is projected to be more than the number of students graduating each year. This is good news for anyone looking to enter this field especially in an economy where finding and keeping a job can be so difficult. The number of jobs in this field is expected to grow by 10 to 20% over the next 10 years. As the baby boomers get older the need for various laboratory tests will grow and the number of medical technologists needed to perform those tests by collecting and analyzing specimen samples will grow as well. The outlook is good for medical technologists, this is a field that offers a rewarding career with good pay and job security.