How to Become a Medical Technician
Medical Technician Careers & Degrees

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Medical Technicians are healthcare professionals who perform the majority of their job duties in a medical laboratory.

They are in charge of taking bodily fluids and tissue samples taken from patients to run a variety of routine medical tests.

Individuals who want to become a Medical Technician will need a combination of personal characteristics, some postsecondary education and certification in order to succeed in this profession.

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Education Requirements to Become a Medical Technician

Individuals who want to become a Medical Technician will need a minimum of an Associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate in order to enter this profession.

In addition, some individuals will need to secure a license and register with their state in order to work in this profession.

This last qualification will depend on the state and employer an individual chooses to work for.

Individuals who want to become a Medical Technician will benefit from taking science courses such as chemistry, mathematics and biology in high school.

With the basic understanding of these sciences, individuals may enter an associate’s program in clinical laboratory science to help them enter this profession.

Another option to enter this profession is to attend a certification program in lieu of completing an associate’s degree.

Clinical laboratory science certificates may also be offered by hospitals running nursing programs.

These types of programs typically last one year to complete.

In addition, technical or vocational schools and the armed forces may also offer programs in medical laboratory and provide the necessary certification to enter this profession.

Medical Technician Job Description

Medical Technicians are responsible for handling samples of bodily fluids, tissues and other samples collected from patients and carrying out a variety of routine medical laboratory tests.

Medical Technicians will first receive an order from a licensed practitioner such as a surgeon or physician to take samples and run medical tests.

Medical Technicians must use their attention to detail and organizational skills to assure medical samples and tests don’t get mixed up and are accurately reported under the correct patient’s medical records.

These professionals will also use their analytical skills in order to review several types of bodily fluids including blood, urine, tissue samples or saliva.

They will perform tests on samples such as blood to determine the samples blood type, cells count and morphology for things such as blood transfusions.

In order to perform and run tests, a Medical Technician will use sophisticated and advanced technology such as microscopes, cell counters and computerized laboratory equipment.

They will gather data from the tests and log them into a patient’s medical record.

Medical Technicians may also meet with the corresponding physician to discuss details regarding the tests and the results.

Medical Technician Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median salary for Medical Technicians was approximately $37,240 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including years of experience, schedule and company size.

Some Medical Technicians can earn more than $57,000 per year.

The majority of Medical Technicians work fulltime although hours of operation will heavily affect their works schedules.

Because some medical facilities, such as hospitals are open round the clock, the need for Medical Technicians who work evenings, overnight or weekends is highly sought after.

Individuals who work outside normal business hours are also more likely to get paid more to help fulfill demand.

The job outlook for Medical Laboratory Technicians is expected to grow by 30 percent through the year 2022.

This job outlook is considered a much faster growth when compared to other professions.

This growth is attributed to the demand in healthcare services from the aging population that is living longer.

These individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with medical illnesses such as diabetes 2 and cancer and the laboratory tests needed to diagnose and treat such illnesses will need to be handled by Medical Technicians.

A career as a Medical Technician can be a great opportunity to enter the healthcare and medical industry.

Some benefits to focusing on this career include the expected job growth and the demand for healthcare services.

This career may be a perfect match for individuals who are detail oriented and enjoy working in a laboratory setting.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$35,720
$25K
$29K
$35K
$40K
$48K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$29,220
Alaska$45,630
Arizona$34,090
Arkansas$30,950
California$40,120
Colorado$37,410
Connecticut$40,440
Delaware$34,770
District of Columbia$44,530
Florida$33,920
Georgia$33,300
Hawaii$39,620
Idaho$34,710
Illinois$36,500
Indiana$34,050
Iowa$35,880
Kansas$31,450
Kentucky$32,570
Louisiana$30,070
Maine$36,540
Maryland$37,320
Massachusetts$41,780
Michigan$33,760
Minnesota$41,710
Mississippi$30,690
Missouri$33,110
Montana$36,390
Nebraska$35,140
Nevada$34,860
New Hampshire$37,370
New Jersey$37,330
New Mexico$31,570
New York$38,590
North Carolina$33,380
North Dakota$37,170
Ohio$33,060
Oklahoma$31,610
Oregon$39,790
Pennsylvania$33,490
Rhode Island$37,270
South Carolina$32,470
South Dakota$31,130
Tennessee$33,610
Texas$32,550
Utah$34,090
Vermont$36,100
Virginia$36,510
Washington$43,760
West Virginia$28,710
Wisconsin$37,250
Wyoming$34,190
Guam$26,270
Puerto Rico$23,340
Virgin Islands$31,940

The top earning state in the field is Alaska, where the average salary is $45,630.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Alaska - $45,630
District of Columbia - $44,530
Washington - $43,760
Massachusetts - $41,780
Minnesota - $41,710
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical Assistants, OCC Code 31-9092, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a medical technician do?

Medical technicians work in clinical labs and are responsible for collecting samples, performing tests and writing reports.

The exact responsibilities a medical technician has depend on the place of employment, some have to interact with patients to collect samples while others work exclusively in labs.

Medical technicians are often exposed to bodily fluids and chemicals and this is why they have to follow very strict safety and sanitation procedures.

If you’re passionate about science and medicine, becoming a medical technician may be the right path for you.

As a medical technician, you will also need a variety of other skills, including dexterity, attention to details and communication skills.

If you work directly with patients, you will also need compassion and the ability to comfort patients.

QuestionHow much does a medical technician make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians who work in medical and diagnostic laboratories was $50,040 as of May 2018.

However, salaries for medical technicians vary depending on a wide range of factors, including the specialty, the place of employment, the technician’s level of experience and the region.

As a medical technician, you can earn anywhere between less than $30,000 and more than $80,000 a year.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a medical technician?

Exact education requirements depend on the employer and the field of employment.

Medical technicians usually need at least an associate’s degree or a certificate and some states also require technicians to be licensed.

A two-year associate’s degree in clinical laboratory science will cost you, on average, somewhere in the range of $20,000 a year.

Licensing requirements vary by state and specialty.

Obtaining a certificate from an institution such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences or the American Society for Clinical Pathology can give you better job prospects.

QuestionWhat is the demand for medical technicians?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical technicians is expected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

As tests become more and more reliable in helping physicians diagnose diseases and illnesses, more labs will open and more medical technicians will be needed to collect samples and perform tests.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a medical technician?

Medical technicians typically need at least 2 years of post-secondary education.

Associate’s degree in clinical laboratory science are available at many colleges and include classes in chemistry, microbiology, biology, math, and statistics but also a clinical portion focused on hands-on training in a laboratory setting.

A four-year bachelor’s degree can give you better job prospects.

Many states required medical technicians to be certified by a credentialing institution, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, American Medical Technologists, or the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

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