You are organized, excel in science and math and like to solve problems. You are naturally curious, eager to learn new technology and have strong communication skills. A career as a medical technologist might be right for you because:
A technologist’s work schedule can be very flexible (part-time, evenings or weekends).
There are several educational tracks to becoming a medical technologist. Some positions require a two-year degree and some require a bachelor’s degree.
There are two paths to choose from—one that works directly with patients or one that doesn’t—either way, you are a very important member of a healthcare team.
With many new diagnostic tools and software, it is an exciting and challenging field.
Technologists are in demand and can work in many different areas.
Your work helps people become healthier.
There are two types of medical technologists:
Radiology or MRI technologists use diagnostic equipment to produce images of tissue, organs, bones and vessels of the body.
Laboratory technologists collect, process and analyze biological samples such as blood and tissue to look for the presence of disease.
Internet Research: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in what type of work environment can a laboratory technologist and a radiologic technologist expect to work?
Internet Research: What is the job outlook for medical laboratory technologist and a radiologic/MRI technologist?
The Journey to Becoming a Medical Technologist
Many people with varying skills and backgrounds work as medical technologists. Laboratory technologists generally have either a two-year associate’s degree studying clinical laboratory science or a four-year bachelor’s degree studying for a medical laboratory scientist degree.
Whether you graduate with a two-year degree, receive a certification from a hospital, vocational or technical school, or graduate with a four-year degree as a medical laboratory scientist, your classes could include:
Clinical laboratory skills
Industry-specific laboratory software
Radiology technologists generally have completed a two-year certification program, a two-year associate’s degree program or a four-year bachelor’s degree program. They are also required to pass certification exams.
A two-year certificate or associate program focuses on the technical skills required by radiology, such as radiation protection and medical imaging procedures. A bachelor’s degree program can either be specialized in a specific type of radiology equipment or a more generalized focus on radiologic sciences. Classes may include:
Internet Research: Research a local college/university/school with a laboratory technologist or radiology technologist degree program. Provide the following information:
Entrance requirements (GPA, PCAT score, essays)
Tuition costs (per credit hour or per semester)
Length of program/degree
Courses/classes required to graduate
Internet Research: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, what is the current median pay of a laboratory technologist and a radiologic/MRI technologist?
The Responsibilities of a Medical Technologist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical laboratory technologists collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue and other substances. Radiology technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations such as X-rays on patients and MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.
In general, medical technologists are responsible for the following:
Keeping detailed patient records by logging data from tests and entering results
Discussing results and findings of tests and procedures with physicians
Supervising or training medical laboratory technicians
Precisely following orders from physicians
Preparing patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
Medical laboratory technologists typically do the following:
Analyze body fluids (such as blood, urine and tissue samples) and record normal or abnormal findings
Study blood samples for use in transfusions by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group, blood type and compatibility with other blood types
Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment such as microscopes and cell counters
Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
Radiology and MRI technologists typically do the following:
Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
Position the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
On Your Own: Using the list above, identify which responsibilities benefit the patient and which responsibilities benefit other members of the healthcare team.
Mammography: The study of the breast using x-ray.
(“Mammography.” TheFreeDictionary.com. Farlex, n.d. Web. 10 July 2015.)