Medical technicians are required to obtain some undergraduate education in addition to certification from the state. Employees in this field typically work in laboratories but may also work directly with patients.
Certified medical technicians collect samples and perform medical laboratory tests in order to provide diagnostic support to physicians and pathologists. They typically earn either a certificate or an associate's degree in clinical laboratory science before attaining professional certification. Professional certification is required by some states and may help with employment.
|Required Education||Associate's degree or certificate in clinical laboratory science|
|Other Requirements||State certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||18% for all medical and clinical laboratory technicians|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$41,420 for all medical and clinical laboratory technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Certified Medical Technician Job Description
Certified medical technicians, also referred to as medical laboratory technicians, perform basic laboratory procedures, such as testing specimens and recording results. These individuals may specialize in a field, such as molecular biology. Medical technicians work with diagnostic and analytical equipment, including analyzers and microscopes. Besides performing laboratory work, they may collect samples directly from patients.
Medical technicians typically work under medical laboratory technologists and may receive instructions from physicians or pathologists. Like many employees in the medical field, they may work odd hours or be on-call in case of an emergency. Medical technicians need to follow safety protocols, which may include disposing of hazardous waste and wearing protective clothing.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for medical and clinical laboratory technicians, the field that encompasses medical technicians, was expected to increase by 18% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Population growth and the development of new laboratory tests will spur the employment increase. Medical technicians may find work with hospitals, laboratories, physicians' offices and universities. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the average annual salary for medical and clinical laboratory technicians was $41,420.
Certified Medical Technician Educational Information
The first step for students considering a career as a certified medical technician is to complete a certificate or associate's degree program with coursework specific to laboratory science. Classes may cover bacteriology, hematology, phlebotomy, and immunology. Supporting scientific courses in chemistry, anatomy, and physiology may be required. Clinical practice is often incorporated into a program in which students may rotate through different specialties, such as urinalysis and clinical chemistry.
Licensure and Certifications
The BLS indicates that some states have licensing or registration requirements for laboratory personnel. Professional certifications are required by some states and may help with employment. Recognized certifications are offered by several professional organizations, including the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel and the American Medical Technologists. These certifications usually require applicants to meet educational standards and pass a certifying exam.
The 18% job growth projected for medical and clinical lab technicians is much faster than average when compared to all occupations. Applicants with a certificate or associate's degree in this field should be able to compete effectively for job openings.