Medical Technologist Job Description

Medical technologists are technology specialists who work in the medical field. They are responsible for running the technology that performs the tests on patient blood, tissue, and bodily fluids. Medical technologists either work in hospitals or independent laboratories. Those in this position may be exposed to infectious diseases, so medical techs are dedicated to cleanliness and following protocol for hazardous material. Medical technologists spend a lot of time on their feet conducting tests in the laboratory. Those who work in a hospital may also work evening or graveyard shifts, as they are open 24 hours.

Junior medical technologists may work under supervision for a period, but for the most part, medical technologists are their own boss when they are in the laboratory. In large facilities, there may be a head medical technologist that has supervisory responsibilities. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for “Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians” is set to increase 13 percent through 2026.

 

Medical Technologist Duties and Responsibilities 

Conducting medical tests involves using many different pieces of medical equipment and performing various tasks. We analyzed many medical technologist job descriptions to come up with the following list of core responsibilities:

Conduct Chemical Analysis of Bodily Fluids

Medical technologists are responsible for conducting chemical analysis on bodily fluids like urine, sperm, spinal fluid, gastric juices, and blood. They discern the difference between normal and abnormal conditions for each fluid.

Analyze Blood Cells and Prepare Blood for Transfusions

Medical technologists use microscopes to analyze blood cell count and condition. They also test blood for blood group and type to determine compatibility before initiating a transfusion.

Maintain Laboratory Equipment

Medical technologists understand how all the equipment in the laboratory works. They are responsible for performing routine maintenance on machines like flame photometers, spectrophotometers, analyzers, colorimeters, and general laboratory equipment. They are also responsible for calling in repair orders when machines malfunction.

Maintain Inventory of Laboratory Supplies

Medical technologists are constantly aware of their inventory. They conduct regular inventory audits and place supply orders when test supplies are low.

Provide Analysis to Doctor

While it is ultimately the doctor who makes the final diagnosis, medical technologists assist the process by providing their interpretation of the results.

 

Medical Technologist Skills

Medical technologists need a combination of medical and tech knowledge to do their jobs successfully. They are experts in the conditions they specialize in testing and call upon this expertise to make meaning out of test results. Medical techs also need to have an advanced understanding of medical technology to operate general and specialized lab equipment. In addition to these proficiencies, the following skills are needed to get a job as a medical technologist:

  • Effective in communicating with doctors, patients, and medical professionals
  • Proficient in using electronics, medical software, and general computer software and hardware
  • Detail-oriented to critically interpret test results and convey an accurate diagnosis
  • Methodical in analyzing tests and recording results
  • In-depth understanding of related medical fields, such as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics, and microbiology

 

Medical Technologist Tools of the Trade

In addition to general lab equipment, medical techs are also savvy with the following tools:

  • Microscopes – Used to analyze blood cells
  • Centrifuges – Used in the chemical analysis process
  • Specialized Laboratory Equipment – Any specialized medical technology, which depends on a medical technologist’s specialization
  • Medical Software – Electronic medical record (EMR) software, test-routing software, test result delivery software, and laboratory information system (LIS) software
  • Desktop Applications – Word processing programs, databases, and spreadsheets to record and communicate test results

 

Medical Technologist Education and Training

Employers prefer medical technologist candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, biology, chemistry, or a related field. Coursework includes chemistry, biology, medical technology, statistics, microbiology, and similar subjects. The clinical section of their education covers laboratory equipment, skills, and safety procedures. Students must complete hands-on training in a hospital or laboratory setting to graduate. Some states require medical technologists to be licensed. Certification is not required, but it does allow one to establish expertise in a specialized area.

 

Medical Technologist Salary

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for medical technologists is $61,070. Those in the top 10 percent make above $85,160, while those in the bottom 10 percent make below $41,550.

 

Medical Technologist Resources

Ready to pursue a career in the field of medical technology? Here’s a list of resources to help get you started:

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science – Previously known as the American Society for Medical Technology, this organization got its start in 1933 and has since grown into an international organization. It offers both online and in-person seminars and has all kinds of professional development resources on the website.

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences – This is the agency that accredits educational programs and certification exams for clinical laboratory sciences. This is a great resource to use if you want to find an accredited medical technologist education program.

American Medical Technologists – Founded in 1939, the American Medical Technologists is an internationally-recognized professional organization and certification agency. This website contains everything medical technologists need to prepare for and pass their certification exam. The AMT also offers certifications for a handful of other types of medical technicians.

Success in Clinical Laboratory Science by Anna Ciulla and Donald Lehman – This book covers a wide variety of clinical laboratory skills and areas of knowledge. The information prepares medical technologists for a certification exam in their specialization of choice.

Clinical Laboratory Science Review: A Bottom Line Approach by Patsy Jarreau – This is a book geared towards students. It covers everything students need to know about clinical laboratory science and is enforced using real-world case studies.

 

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