The Medical Technologist
When it comes to the challenge and rewards of medicine and science, the medical technologist (MT) has the best of both worlds. Medical technologists work in all areas of the clinical laboratory including blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, and microbiology. Medical technologists are healthcare detectives, providing vital laboratory analyses on blood, body fluids, and tissues using sophisticated techniques and biomedical instrumentation. They are also responsible for confirming the accuracy of test results, and reporting laboratory findings to pathologists and other physicians. The information that a medical technologist gives to the doctor influences the medical treatment a patient will receive.
To prepare for a career in medical technology, you should get a solid foundation in high school sciences - biology, chemistry, math and computer science. You'll also need a combination of formal education (baccalaureate degree) plus clinical education in a medical technology or clinical laboratory science program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Your education in medical technology will prepare you directly for a job in a variety of laboratory settings. While you're in school, you may be able to work part time in a laboratory to earn extra money. And you could start working full time the day after you graduate.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Clinical Laboratory Science program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Information regarding program accreditation status may be obtained from:
To be sure that laboratory workers are competent and able to perform high quality laboratory tests, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification gives a national certification exam. Students take this exam after meeting their academic and laboratory education requirements. Those who pass the exam may use the initials MLS (ASCP) after their names to show they are proficient in their field.
Job Opportunities Medical technologists have numerous choices of practice settings. Hospitals, independent laboratories, clinics, public health facilities, and industry currently have positions open for qualified medical technologists. Additional opportunities are available for medical technologists in molecular diagnostics, molecular biotechnology companies, in vitro fertilization laboratories, and research laboratories.
According to the ASCP Wage and Vacancy Survey, the average annual salary for medical technologists in the United States ranged from $56,430 for staff to $77,113 for managers in 2013. The average annual salary for medical laboratory technicians was $42,619 for staff and $46,550 for supervisors.