Starting a Career As a Medical Technician

A medical technician, sometimes known as a medical technologist, performs a variety of complicated diagnostic tests. The results of these tests are analyzed to assist doctors in determining what course of treatment will be most effective.

Some of the many tests performed include collecting blood samples, preparing them into cultures, and studying them under a microscope to ascertain morphology. Medical technicians also test blood samples for drug levels to determine how well a patient is responding to a given treatment. They perform tests on stool samples to determine if harmful parasites are present, and they also examine bodily fluid samples to see if any toxic chemicals, bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms are present. They perform other seemingly mundane yet vital tasks such as determining a patient's blood type for transfusions, counting cells, or looking for abnormalities in fluid samples.

To perform all of these tests, those working in this profession use a variety of highly specialized electrical and mechanical diagnostic devices. Besides using these specialized devices to perform all of these tests, they are also responsible for ensuring that the equipment is well-maintained, properly sterilized, cleaned, and calibrated.

Working as a Medical Technician

A medical technician will generally work a 40-hour week, but similar to other careers in the medical field, this can vary widely depending on workload and on-call availability. This job involves standing for long periods of time and occasionally aiding nurses in turning and moving patients who are unable to move themselves, so it is beneficial for a medical technician to be physically fit.

Many technicians will work in hospital settings, but some may conduct offsite tests at patients' homes using highly sophisticated mobile laboratory-equipped vans. Some individuals will also perform drug tests in prisons, government offices, or in various small or large businesses.

Education and Certification

Most organizations that employ medical technicians require an individual to possess a bachelor's degree obtained at a university, college, or other healthcare-oriented school. Many states require that they are registered, licensed or certified.

In order to obtain a certification, individuals are required to provide proof of their bachelor's degree and pass a written exam. The Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the Board of Registry of the American Association of Bio-analysts are the two organizations responsible for certification.

As for specific knowledge needed for passing the certifying exams, a medical technician must have an understanding of plant and animal cells, structures, tissues, environmental interactions, and their various functions; as well as knowledge of chemical properties, composition, and structures of various substances. They are also required to have knowledge of various human diseases and how to diagnose and treat these diseases.


Due to the stringent educational requirements and vast knowledge base required to obtain employment as a medical technician, the average salary stands at $50,000 per year. The first year earnings average is approximately $30,000, while experience and further education can push the salary to upwards of $70,000 per year.

As with most other professions, average salaries can vary widely depending upon employer, location, benefits and experience. Medical technicians make a great income and have an interesting job that keeps their brains and bodies busy, making this job one of the most desirable in the medical field.

Article Source: Nick Shepherd

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