Analyze and test samples of body tissues and fluids to detect diseases.
Although patients don’t usually see Medical Technologists, anyone who’s been to the Doctor has dealt with one. Sometimes referred to as Medical Laboratory Scientists, Medical Technologists are the people behind the scenes who take the samples given by patients and test them for a whole host of issues. They work with Doctors and specialists to diagnose and discover everything from diabetes to cancer to heart disease.
If you’re interested in this career but don’t know what to expect, here are some tips.
Since you’ll be working in a lab, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that getting a degree in medical technology involves taking a lot of science classes. Expect to spend your undergrad years in subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and organic chemistry.
Though medical technology training is offered through traditional four-year universities, they operate on what’s known as either a 3+1 or a 2+2. This means you’ll spend your first years in classes, and the last one or two years in a clinical setting, working hands-on in the role you’ll take after graduation. So although you’re still in college, you’ll spend your last year in much the same way residents spend theirs when finishing up medical school.
If you’re approaching this degree after you’ve already completed a bachelor’s, you could take just the final two years. This will get you a certification, which qualifies you for the same jobs you’d get if you’d done a four-year bachelor’s degree.
The career options for a degree in medical technology vary. You can get hired right after school as a Medical Technologist and work in the lab of a hospital, or you can aim for something else. Many use this degree as a good way to get ready for medical, dental, or optometry school, since the classes required prepare you perfectly for applications.
Within the medical technology field, there are a few options if you hope to specialize. Hematology, serology, microbiology, and body fluid analysis are just a few examples of the areas where you can focus your skills and help those in need.