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Medical Technologist Certification and Diploma Programs

Learn about education options for aspiring medical technologists. Find out about possible prerequisites, sample courses, employment outlook, salary trends and continuing education options for aspiring medical technologists.

Diploma programs are not available for individuals wishing to become medical technologists, since the minimum required education for this profession is usually a bachelor's degree. Those wishing to enter this field may complete a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology. Individuals who have already completed a bachelor's degree in another field may opt to earn a postbaccalaureate certificate in medical technology to prepare for this career.

Essential Information

Both of these programs focus on hands-on laboratory training, with coursework in phlebotomy, lab instruments and sample analysis. Additional admission requirements beyond prior education may include background checks and drug tests. Medical technology programs may prepare students for licensure or certification.

  • Program Levels in Medical Technology: Bachelor's, postbaccalaureate certificate.
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; undergraduate degree is required for admission to the certificate program.
  • Program Length: 1-4 years depending on the program level.

Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology

A Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology can prepare students for a career as a medical technologist through gaining the necessary skills in science, testing methods and analysis procedures. Through a program, students learn how to perform laboratory testing, interpret test results, evaluate test specimens and make diagnostic conclusions. Graduates understand how to use laboratory equipment, gain an understanding of common laboratory procedures, develop professional skills and demonstrate proficiency in laboratory procedures. After completing a program, individuals are ready for entry-level positions in hospitals, private laboratories, industrial settings and research facilities.

Schools may have no special admission requirements beyond expecting students to hold a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some schools may require students to meet additional requirements, such as completing a physical examination and providing proof of immunizations. Many programs may require students to complete an additional application process for clinical portions of the program.

Medical technology programs combine classroom work with clinical studies. Clinical portions of a program may allow students to practice skills in areas such as phlebotomy or specimen preparation. Topics covered in a program may include:

  • Phlebotomy
  • Bacteriology
  • Hematology
  • Mycology
  • Immunodiagnostics
  • Urinalysis

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Medical Laboratory Science

A postbaccalaureate certificate in medical laboratory science is an option for individuals who wish to enter the field of laboratory technology, but who don't have a degree in medical technology. Certificate programs generally last about a year or less. In a program, students learn about various scientific methods of laboratory science and procedures in medical technology. Graduates of a program are prepared to begin working as a medical technologist upon graduation.

Entry into a program requires a bachelor's degree, typically preferred in an area of science. Some schools may require proof of immunizations and completion of a criminal background check. Applicants may also have to undergo drug testing.

Curriculum in a certificate program involves traditional classroom study and work in clinical settings. Topics covered in a program include:

  • Hematology
  • Microbiology
  • Phlebotomy techniques
  • Medical research and analysis
  • Chemistry
  • Coagulation

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Medical technologists are categorized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) under clinical laboratory technologists (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, clinical laboratory technicians held 161,710 jobs in 2014. The BLS projected a job growth of 14% for this field from 2012-2022. In May 2014, the BLS reported a mean annual wage of $60,560 with the 10th-90th percentile range earning $40,640-$82,180.

Continuing Education Information

The BLS reports that some states require licensing or registration for laboratory workers. Typically, licensing requirements include holding a bachelor's degree and passing an exam. The BLS also notes that employers often prefer to hire applicants who hold a professional certification, such as those from the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel.

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