For those seeking employment as a hospital technician, completion of a certificate program is the minimum entry-level qualification needed to obtain a position in the field, although candidates generally hold an associate's degree in the health sciences. Additionally, some employers request prior work experience in clinics or laboratories, which can be fulfilled during educational programs or through entry-level job training. Following program completion, obtaining licensure may be required depending on the state in which the graduate wants to work.
- Program Levels: Certificate programs, associate's degrees
- Hospital Technician Program Fields: Phlebotomy, Clinical Laboratory Technology
- Program Length: 1-2 semesters for certificate programs, 2 years for associate's degrees
- Other Requirements: Lab time and hospital training are expected in associate's degree programs
Certificate in Phlebotomy
Aspiring hospital technicians may obtain entry-level training by completing a certificate in phlebotomy, which is part of the clinical laboratory sciences field. Lab work is included in these programs, which usually last 1-2 semesters. Students complete coursework in blood collection that cover topics like:
- Microcollection techniques
- Medical terminology
- Healthcare ethics.
Associate of Applied Science in Clinical Laboratory Technology
An associate's degree program in clinical laboratory technology, sometimes called medical laboratory technology, allows students to train on a variety of up-to-date equipment. Associate's degree programs take two years to complete and require students to spend time in on-campus laboratories and hospitals. Core topics that are covered include:
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment for medical records and health information technicians from 2012 to 2022 is expected to grow 22%, according to the BLS. These professionals make a mean annual wage of $38,860 as of May 2014.
Continuing Education Information
Certain states require that hospital technicians be licensed prior to being employed; educational and exam requirements vary by state. Although not required, many employers prefer that applicants be certified by a professional organization. Organizations such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), American Association of Bioanalysts and American Medical Technologists offer certification examinations to laboratory professionals including phlebotomy technicians and medical laboratory technicians. Certification eligibility requirements vary depending on the organization.
With additional experience and education, clinical laboratory technicians can become clinical laboratory technologists. Students must complete a bachelor's degree program in clinical laboratory science, medical technology or related health sciences field. Technologists perform diagnostic tests on patients just as technicians do, but they also complete more complex tasks, such as analyzing chemical components in blood and cross-matching blood samples for transfusions. Also, some hospital technologists can supervise hospital technicians.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities offer workshops or seminars for technicians on managing changes in technology, among other topics. Conferences can last several days, covering a wide range of health-related topics and allowing professionals opportunities to network with others. Webinars, in which professionals can learn about updates in the industry, are also becoming a popular option.