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Medical Technologists Career Outlook

Dec 04, 2008

The amount of technological integration present in modern medicine has made medical technologists essential across a wide variety of health care scenarios.

What is a Medical Technologist?

These workers have specialized in specific types of medical technology and work hand in hand with doctors and administrators in the diagnosis and treatment of a disease. They may work in laboratories, radiology clinics, imaging facilities, or other areas where special technological tools are used to improve the health of patients.

Educational Background

The vast majority of medical technologists hold a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university program. This places them in the realm of the well-educated when it comes to seeking employment. Medical technologists also have to undergo national certification in order to begin working in a health care facility. Nuclear medical technologists may also have to be certified in the state they wish to be employed in, and certain states even require this step for all medical technologists.

Main Functions

For many, the first stop is the lab where these skilled workers are called upon to analyze a wide range of different tissue, blood, and fluid samples in order to find the specific markers or characteristics that doctors are looking for. This can include testing for certain drugs or substances present in the body, testing for diseases, looking for certain genetic indicators, or any other information that might be hiding in the biological material that has been collected.

Work Environment

In their daily work, technologists will use computers, microscopes, laboratory gear, and other advanced equipment in order to do their job. Some work with hospitals, medical clinics, and other health care facilities, but there are medical technologists who perform analysis for police and law enforcement agencies in a forensic capacity. Others are employed by private companies which run their own medical tests on their products such as drugs or devices, and who require the services of medical technologists to gather, organize, and analyze the data that is collected during their clinical trials.

Other medical technologists may finds themselves involved in nuclear medicine, which for many people is most recognizably personified by an X-ray machine. Nuclear medicine plays a strong role in the diagnosis of medical ailments, and technologists may find themselves operating a range of equipment designed to peer inside the human body and get a closer look at what might be going on with a patient’s health.

Job Opportunities

The career outlook for medical technologists is currently very good. There is a shortage of people qualified to fill this role in the United States, and with the health care industry continuing to grow at a rapid pace, demand is projected to continue to outpace supply. There are fewer and fewer programs devoted specifically to becoming a medical technologist, which can make it more difficult for people to get the training they need to perform their duties. Also, a large number of retiring medical technologists in the coming years will also clear a path for more people to be hired. Thanks to this confluence of circumstances, there has never been a better time to pursue a career as a medical technologist.

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