Medical Technician Careers

The term “medical technician” is a general term applied to several different types of jobs in the medical field. Medical technicians handle different types of technical jobs, including phlebotomy, laboratory work, and reporting on test results. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that medical technicians primarily work in the laboratory, but may also be called upon to supervise or train others in the field and often consult with physicians to share and analyze test results.

How Do I Train To Become A Medical Technician?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most medical technologists have a bachelor’s degree, while most medical technicians earn an associate’s degree or begin work just out of high school. Depending on the type of work a medical technologist or technician is hired to do, different levels of education may be required.

Medical technologists usually have a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or some other closely-related scientific field. Some schools offer a bachelor’s degree in medical technology that specifically prepares students for a career as a medical technologist.

Medical technicians can often get an associate’s degree in just over a year through a specific vocational program designed to train students quickly for careers in this field. Some students take a two-year associate’s program in biology or chemistry in order to become medical technicians.

How Much Do Medical Technicians Make?*

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2010 medical technicians with a two-year associate’s degree earned a median annual salary of $36,280 per year. Most technicians in May 2010 earned somewhere between $24,210 and $56,040 annually. Medical technologists with a four-year degree earned between $38,810 and $76,780, for a median salary of $56,130 per year, in May 2010.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following median salaries in May 2010 for various categories of employers within the field:

  • Federal government—medical technologists, $62,880; medical technicians, $40,180
  • State, local, and private hospitals—medical technologists, $56,470; medical technicians, $36,130
  • Medical and diagnostic laboratories—medical technologists, $55,930; medical technicians, $35,790
  • Doctor’s offices—medical technologists, $52,250; medical technicians, $34,280

Your location may also have an impact on your salary. While salaries are generally higher in large urban areas, cost of living expenses are also much higher, so overall earnings may not be equivalent.

Where Can I Find A Job As A Medical Technician?*

Medical technicians are employed by hospitals, doctor’s offices, the government, and private laboratories. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 52 percent of these professionals are employed in hospitals, while another 16 percent are employed in private laboratories. The majority of jobs in these fields will be found in labs in these locations. Only ten percent of medical technologists or technicians work in doctor’s offices and only three percent work for the government, so these jobs are relatively limited in number.

However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of job opportunities in these fields will increase by 15 percent over the next ten years. This means that there should be at least 23,800 new jobs for medical technicians and medical technologists over the next decade.

Do I Have To Be Licensed To Be A Medical Technician?

The state in which you live determines if you must have certification or a license to be a medical technician or medical technologist. The American Medical Technologists offers a certification test for medical technologists that is accepted by many states. In some states, medical technologists and medical technicians must take a state-approved test. There is also required re-certification every few years in some states.

You can find out if you are required to take a certification or licensing test in your state by visiting your state’s Department of Health website. There you will find information on licensing procedures for your state for medical technologists and medical technicians.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-1)



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