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Medical Technology Certificate Program Information

Medical technologists can work directly with patients to provide on-site emergency care or contribute to patients' medical diagnoses behind the scenes, conducting laboratory research in a medical setting. Requirements and course topics for these programs vary based on a student's intended career path.

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Medical Technology Certificate

Medical technology certificate programs, sometimes called medical laboratory or clinical laboratory sciences certificate programs, are typically offered at the post-baccalaureate level. These programs prepare students to work in diagnostic laboratory settings where they're responsible for testing and evaluating medical samples. These tasks usually involve preparing specimens, operating analysis equipment and performing routine lab tests. Most programs take a year or more to complete and often include practical experience through on-campus labs and on-site rotations at local medical centers.

Prerequisites and Coursework

Most of these certificate programs require a bachelor's degree in biochemistry or biological sciences. Common prerequisite coursework includes physics, chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology and hematology.

Courses covered in a certificate program typically involve both classroom and laboratory learning. Students also usually have opportunities to observe and participate in clinical and laboratory procedures through field rotations and internships. Common course topics include:

  • Medical microbiology
  • Clinical chemistry
  • Phlebotomy
  • Diagnostic immunology
  • Hematology/Coagulation
  • Clinical laboratory instrumentation
  • Parasitology
  • Transfusion services

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and clinical laboratory technologists were projected to see a 11% job growth from 2010-2020. The mean annual wages for these workers were $58,640 in May 2012.

Emergency Medical Technology Certificate

Emergency medical technology (EMT) certificate programs are frequently offered at basic and advanced levels. Earning an EMT certificate is the first step for students who wish to work as frontline medical care providers for the sick and injured outside of hospital settings. EMT certificates are typically offered through community colleges and vocational schools and can take 3-12 months to complete.

Prerequisites and Coursework

Applicants need to complete a high school education to enroll. Advanced EMT programs require the completion of a basic EMT course or program. Some schools offer first aid and CPR training for certification within the EMT curricula, though students might need to obtain these credentials prior to enrolling or participating in field work. Other possible prerequisites include health insurance, submission of medical records and proof of experience in an emergency care environment.

Course topics in the basic EMT program teach students how to assess injuries or illnesses, practice preliminary urgent care procedures and transport patients to a medical facility. Students have the opportunity to observe and assist EMT professionals through rotations in ambulance, hospital and other emergency response settings. Advanced EMT courses often cover the following topics:

  • Pharmacology
  • Emergency medical equipment
  • Trauma and advanced life support
  • Respiratory and airway management
  • Cardiology

Career Options

Completing an EMT program can qualify graduates for state licensure and national certification. Both types of credentials are usually offered at multiple levels, such as basic, intermediate and advanced, which determines the extent of a professional's duties and responsibilities. Schools also offer EMT refresher courses that include updated training and credits typically required for licensure and certification renewal. In addition to an EMT, some other career options include:

  • Search and rescue/first responder
  • Paramedic
  • Firefighter
  • Emergency transport services
  • Emergency medical services operations manager
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