Med Tech Certification and Diploma Program Information
Learn about associate's and bachelor's degree programs in medical technology. Get information on requirements, courses, career prospects and salary to make an informed decision about your education.
Aspiring medical technicians can received training through a 2-year associate's or 4-year bachelor's degree program in the field. With a combination of practical and classroom teaching, students gain experience to be able to work in a laboratory at various medical settings. High school graduates applying to these programs may need to have completed advanced math and science courses. Upon completion of the degree program, students may apply for certification through one of the many field organizations; although certification is optional, many employers seek candidates with this credential.
Associate's Degree for Medical Technician
This program teaches individuals how to assist with the analysis of cells, tissues and body fluids from human patients. They also learn how to conduct laboratory tests, and must gain a strong working understanding of all laboratory equipment. Students also have knowledge of information processing and quality control monitoring. Applicants must have either a high school diploma or a GED for admission and should have a background rich in science and math.
The medical technician curriculum combines classroom lectures with clinical experience in the lab. Students rotate among various departments, including hematology, phlebotomy and urinalysis, among others. Courses may include:
- Pathogenic microbiology
- Blood banking
- Immunology and serology
- Routine analysis
- Technical mathematics
- Urinalysis and special diagnostics
- Anatomy and physiology
- Laboratory procedures
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a medical technician associate degree program are qualified for employment in hospitals, physician offices and ambulatory healthcare services. Depending on the program, popular career titles may include:
- Medical technician
- Medical laboratory technician
- Clinical laboratory technician
Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology
This 4-year medical technology program teaches students about the human body and the various diseases that can affect it. They must also learn to work with equipment commonly found in medical laboratories.
Medical technology students gain a thorough understanding of how to properly perform laboratory tests, analyze the results and communicate with healthcare professionals. Graduates are prepared to sit for certification examinations.
As with most bachelor's degree programs, a high school diploma or GED is a prerequisite to entering an accredited university program. Students interested in enrolling in a medical technology program should also consider taking advanced level biology, mathematics and chemistry courses.
Courses in a medical technology program combine theoretical and practical knowledge. Students obtain hands-on experience in seminars and clinical education. Typical course topics may include:
- Physiological chemistry
- Information technology
- Medical mycology
- Laboratory principles and statistics
- Medical terminology
- Safety in healthcare settings
- Body fluids
- Instrumentation and automation
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical laboratory workers should experience a faster-than-average employment growth between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated employment could grow by 14% for that decade. Medical technicians earned a median annual wage of $36,280 as of 2010, while medical technologists earned $56,130, reported the BLS.
Continuing Education, Certification and Licensing
Depending on the degree level attained, graduates of med tech programs can seek immediate employment as medical technicians or medical technologists or may choose to further their education. Advancement typically comes with work experience, additional training and professional certification. Medical technicians can enroll in bachelor's degree programs to become medical technologists. Medical technologists can pursue management or supervisory positions with training or through completion of medical technology graduate programs.
Although certification is not required in all states, according to the BLS many techs pursue certification by a professional organization because employers often prefer it. Eligible applicants can obtain certification from several associations, including the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
The BLS noted that clinical laboratory workers are required to be licensed in some states. Typical requirements for licensure include passing a written examination and earning a bachelor's degree, but some states may have different licensing requirements depending on the applicant's clinical specialty.
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