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Med Tech Certification and Diploma Program Information

Medical technicians work in laboratories and other medical settings. Advanced science and math courses help individuals enter degree programs that will advance a career as a medical technician.

Essential Information

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.

  • Program Levels in Medical Technician Education: Associate's Degrees, Bachelor's degrees
  • Prerequisites: A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Prior coursework in advanced math, biology and chemistry is advantageous.
  • Program Length: Associate's degrees last 2 years while bachelor's degrees last 4 years

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:

  • Hematology
  • Pathogenic microbiology
  • Immunology and serology
  • Technical mathematics
  • Urinalysis and special diagnostics
  • Anatomy and physiology

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
  • Medical mycology
  • Laboratory principles and statistics
  • Bacteriology
  • Medical terminology
  • Instrumentation and automation

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

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 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated employment could grow by 22% for that decade. The BLS also reports that Medical technicians earned a median annual wage of $38,370 as of 2014. In 2015, Payscale reports that medical technologists earned a median annual wage of $51,527 (www.payscale.com).

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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