Medical Instrument Technician: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a medical instrument technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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A medical instrument technician works for the federal government, and has duties similar to a diagnostic medical sonographer. These duties include using technology such as sonograph, ultrasound or hemodialysis machines as requested by physicians. Working in this field requires knowledge of equipment, medical technology and terminology and patient care, which can be gained through degree or certificate programs.

Essential Information

Medical Instrument Technician (MIT) is a job title specific to the federal government, and these techs are similar to diagnostic medical sonographers in the private sector. MITs operate imaging and therapeutic equipment to assist physicians in diagnosing and treating patients. Technicians often work closely with patients and other medical staff. Because medical instrument technicians often have the skills and experience to operate a range of medical devices to diagnose conditions, training programs range from certificates to bachelor's degrees; employers often prefer individuals who have experience in the medical field and hold certification.

Required Education Certificates, associate's and bachelor's degrees in diagnostic medical sonography and similar fields are available and preferred; professional experience is often needed for employment
Certification Certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is commonly required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 26% for diagnostic medical sonographers*
Median Salary (2015) $68,970 for diagnostic medical sonographers*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Medical Instrument Technician (MIT) is a federal job that involves operating various diagnostic imaging and therapeutic medical equipment. These workers perform tests that help doctors detect diseases or problems in patients. MITs operate medical instruments used in heart and pulmonary examinations, evaluations, catheterization and surgery. They are also responsible for ultrasound procedures, as well as for conducting electrocardiography, electroencephalography, polysomnography and hemodialysis. Most of these tests are done at the request of a physician.

MITs work in hospitals, clinics, treatment centers and anywhere else diagnostic medical imaging may be used. These workers explain test procedures to patients, position them for examination and conduct the examination. Certain tests and procedures will be done under the supervision of a physician. Technicians must be highly trained and knowledgeable in the function of medical equipment.

Some of the imaging work performed by MITs is similar to what diagnostic medical sonographers do in the private sector. For example, sonographers use ultrasound or high frequency sound waves to create images of areas inside the body.

Requirements

MITs must have professional experience working with patients and in a medical environment. They must know how to operate various types of medical equipment, as well as have a strong knowledge of medical data, physiology, chemistry, human anatomy, physics and pharmacology. Additional requirements depend on the equipment used in a particular medical office, hospital or clinic. For example, a technician working in cardiology will likely need to be certified in Basic Cardiac Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

Certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is required in most cases. When selecting a program, students should check for a list of accredited programs with the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Career data for MITs isn't available, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides info for sonographers. The BLS expects employment growth for diagnostic medical sonographers to be much faster than average, at 26% over the 2014-2024 decade. The May 2015 median wage for sonographers was $68,970 annually.

Medical instrument technicians work with physicians and health care providers, handling equipment used in surgery, running tests, and using technology that produces images useful for diagnosis. Similar to a diagnostic sonographer, qualification for this position can be gained through a certificate or degree program. Employers also prefer some work experience in the medical field.

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