Hospital Training Programs, Courses and Career Options

Learn about the curricula and requirements of several different hospital training programs. Read about possible careers and continuing education options for graduates of hospital training programs.

Essential Information

Training programs for hospital work, such as surgical or medical technology or phlebotomy, are offered through hospitals and colleges. Some schools offer the classroom portion of these programs online, and work with cooperating hospitals or healthcare facilities to provide the clinical or practicum coursework. These programs may take anywhere from a few months for a phlebotomy program up to four years for a bachelor's degree in medical technology.

Most programs will require a high school diploma or equivalent for entrance, and some may be competitive. Graduates of any of these programs may need to be licensed to work, however licensing requirements will vary by state.

Surgical Technology Hospital Training Program

Individuals who want to enter into the surgical technology field must complete a hospital training program, which can take about 1-2 years and can be offered as certificate, diploma or associate degree programs. During a program, students typically learn how to assist surgeons and other staff members during medical procedures. Surgical technology duties can be physically difficult, so workers must have the strength to move heavy objects and remain standing for long periods of time.

Education Prerequisites

Many surgical technology hospital programs only require applicants to hold the equivalent of a high school diploma. Students who excelled in mathematics and science classes during high school may be more likely to be accepted into hospital schooling programs.

Course Topics

Students typically participate in classroom lecture courses and then apply what they learn during hands-on clinical rotations. Common coursework may include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Surgical pharmacology
  • Surgical procedures
  • Patient care

Popular Career Options

After completing a surgical technology training program, graduates are capable of working in several locations, including operating rooms, dentist offices, emergency rooms and medical laboratories. Potential career paths include:

  • Surgical technologist
  • Surgical technology sales representative
  • Operating room technician

Continuing Education Information

Although certification is voluntary for workers in the surgical technology field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that certified workers are more likely to find job opportunities ( Several allied health boards provide certification programs for surgical technology workers, including the National Center for Competency Testing, which offers the Tech in Surgery-Certified designation.

Medical Technology Hospital Training Program

Medical technology careers include those that focus on clinical laboratory testing. During bachelor's degree or continuing education certificate programs, students can learn the skills necessary for collecting samples, setting up test equipment, conducting laboratory tests and reporting results. Many medical technology training programs can be completed in one year or less.

Education Prerequisites

To enter a bachelor's degree program in medical technology, students must typically have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Most medical technology hospital certificate programs require students to have completed a relevant bachelor's degree for admission. Specific postsecondary prerequisites often include several courses of chemistry, mathematics and biology.

Course Topics

Courses often cover different types of laboratory testing. Students can participate in classroom lectures about testing protocols before participating in laboratory clinical rotations. Coursework in these programs can include:

  • Urine analysis
  • Microbiology
  • Hematology
  • Pathology
  • Transfusion services

Popular Career Options

Although there are many medical technology positions within the healthcare industry, industries such as law enforcement or scientific research also utilize workers trained in this career field. Possible job titles for individuals holding at least a bachelor's degree can include:

  • Clinical laboratory scientist
  • Forensic laboratory technician
  • Medical technologist

Continuing Education Information

The BLS states that medical technologists may be required to obtain licensure depending on state guidelines. The licensure process often involves completing education and training requirements, as well as passing license examinations. Some states may require workers to complete continued education coursework yearly to keep licenses active. Professionals in this industry may also pursue voluntary certification within their specific medical technology field.

Phlebotomy Hospital Training Program

Individuals in phlebotomy hospital training programs learn the skills to safely take blood out of the body for medical testing. Students also learn how to make patients comfortable throughout the blood-drawing process. Several training programs can be completed within 6-10 weeks and each program usually consists of classroom lectures mixed with on-the-job-training.

Education Prerequisites

Most programs have the minimum education requirement of a high school diploma or equivalent. Some hospital training programs may show a preference toward students who did well in high school math, biology and chemistry courses. Depending on the program, students may have to complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training prior to entering the phlebotomy training program.

Course Topics

Many phlebotomy hospital training programs start off the first few weeks of the program with only classroom lecture coursework. The remainder of the program is usually spent in clinical rotations under the close supervision of a trained phlebotomist. Course topics cover the following areas:

  • Blood collection techniques
  • Intravenous needles
  • Blood sample testing
  • Laboratory computer systems
  • Biohazard safety procedures

Popular Career Options

Phlebotomists can work in various roles in multiple healthcare settings. These could include:

  • Medical testing facilities
  • Blood banks
  • Doctors' offices
  • Emergency rooms
  • Organ donation facilities

Continuing Education Information

Voluntary certification programs related to phlebotomy are provided by several recognized allied health boards. Phlebotomists who wish to advance into management positions may need to pursue bachelor's degrees related to clinical laboratory sciences.

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