As hospitals push to modernize their operations, medical technicians (Med Tech) will only rise in demand. For nurses and aspiring HCPs looking to enter this exciting profession, this article is here to help. Below, we will go over med tech requirements, salaries, and the steps needed to gain certification, among other things.
Job description of Med Tech
Med Tech primarily involves laboratory work. Physicians and medical technologists will order you to run tests on biological samples, analyze lab findings and report these results to your superiors. Said samples include fluids like blood and saliva, as well as certain tissue samples. If you are a specific kind of Med Tech, like a phlebotomist, you will also have to collect said specimens from patients. Running these tests involves handling a lot of expensive medical equipments, which you will also be in charge of maintaining. Like any other nurse, you will also be required to train any rookies that need orientation.
Med Techs play a very important role in the healthcare field. Certain conditions cannot be diagnosed without these detailed and thorough laboratory tests. They allow for the early prevention of diseases, more accurate findings and better healthcare overall. Without their contributions, certain conditions may slip through the cracks and jeopardize patient health in the long term.
Med Tech Salary and outlook
The future of the profession is exceedingly bright. From 2021 to 2031, The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that Med Techs are expected to grow by about 7% percent. For reference, this translates to 25,600 new job openings within that time and is about in-line with the average. A number of factors will contribute to the steady demand for these kinds of healthcare workers. Older patients are expected to need more detailed medical tests for conditions like type 2 diabetes. Prenatal tests for genetic conditions have also risen in prominence, thus raising the demand for such nurses even further. Finally, most facilities have lab implements and equipment that will need constant upkeep.
Med Tech salaries are also expected to be favorable. Currently, the BLS pins the median medical technician salary at around $57,800. Per diem med techs will have the opportunity to earn even higher than this. With the help of VitaWerks, they can secure the best-paying shifts from the finest facilities in their area. This is all while working at their own pace and dictating their own hours.
Steps to become a Med Tech
Step 1: Fulfill educational requirements
Before anything else, aspiring med tech nurses need to obtain their high school diplomas. Certain Med Tech programs will require a number of prerequisite courses, such as Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English. Even if they do not, completing such courses will look extremely favorable in your resume. Once that is out of the way, you can start applying for an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science degree in medical laboratory technology. There are also Bachelor’s programs for this, but an associate’s degree is the minimum requirement. These classes will prepare you for work in the field with extensive studies mixed with practical testing. On top of academic courses such as Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, or Microbiology, you will also carry out laboratory tests that will teach you how to collect and examine biological specimens, analyze their results and maintain the equipment used. Depending on your program, you may even get practical clinical experience in real facilities.
Step 2: Searching for Med Tech jobs
Technically, you are eligible for employment as soon as you graduate. This means you can start sending your applications early. To maximize your Med Tech salary and employment, however, you may want to look into additional certifications. These are not requirements, but they are proof of additional competencies that will look very good on your resume. Be sure to gain certification from trusted organizations, such as the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. If there is a specific path that interests you, you could even look for specialty certifications, such as the American Board of Internal Medicine’s course on Hematology.
(Optional) Continues education
Later down the line, obtaining your Bachelor’s degree in medical technology or clinical laboratory science is well worth considering. It is not a Med Tech requirement, but it will increase your earning potential and employment opportunities, in the long run. More HCPs with bachelor-level education or above has a correlation with quality of care, which is why facilities will prioritize Bachelor-level applicants. You may even find work in higher positions, such as medical laboratory technologist or clinical laboratory scientist. Depending on your school-of-choice, your associate’s degree credits could carry over. Most BSN tracks take 4 years to complete, and their classes cover topics like molecular diagnostics and advanced microtechnology.