Medical laboratory techs are diagnostic professionals who work in medical facilities. Their main responsibilities include collecting organic substances such as blood and tissue samples, they will also run tests ordered by doctors. Medical techs are broken into two titles, medical technologists and medical technicians. These titles differ in the amount of education and training received as well as their responsibilities. Med techs are also know as medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory scientists.
National Average Medical Tech Salary
Hourly Wage Annual Wage
Upper: $39.51 $82,180
Median: $28.57 $59,430
Lower: $19.54 $40,640
Upper: $28.73 $59,750
Median: $18.45 $38,370
Lower: $12.26 $25,500
States With Highest Medical Technologist Salary
State Avg. Hourly Wage Avg. Annual Wage
- California $38.55 $80,180
- Massachusetts $33.70 $70,090
- Connecticut $33.70 $70,090
- Rhode Island $32.80 $68,210
- Vermont $32.69 $68,000
States With Highest Medical Technician Salary
State Avg. Hourly Wage Avg. Annual Wage
- Rhode Island $28.63 $59,550
- Vermont $24.74 $51,450
- New Jersey $24.23 $50,400
- Connecticut $23.91 $49,720
- Alaska $23.57 $49,040
*All statistical data is from the U.S. Department of Labor and is updated quarterly
The job duties of a medical technologist differ from that of a medical technician. Medical technologists have advanced training and perform more complicated tests than do technicians. They may also supervise medical technicians who work in the lab. These are some of the more general responsibilities for both titles:
- Analysis of tissue samples
- Collecting and analyzing blood to be used in transfusions
- Perform analysis using lab equipment
- Keeping records of lab activities as well as recording test results in patients records
- Conferencing with doctors
Medical technologists who work in large facilities may choose to specialize in a specific area. These are a few examples of what may be available:
- Phlebotomy- drawing blood for testing
- Immunohematology- collecting and analyzing blood for transfusions
- Cytotechnologists- examines cells for cancer
- Microbiology- analysis and identification of micro organisms
Med techs can be found working in a variety of medical facilities. They most commonly work in hospitals but can also be found in diagnostic labs, research labs, physicians offices and clinics.
Med techs can expect to be on their feet for extended periods of time. Individuals with foot or back problems may want to consider this before starting down this career path.
Due to the nature of this work, med techs must work with all kinds of hazardous and contagious samples. During training they learn to take proper precautions to minimize any risk of exposure. Precautions may include wearing latex gloves, goggles, and a breathing mask or a full hazard suit for the most dangerous situations. Due to these precautions, risk of exposure is generally non existent.
The work schedule for a medical technologists can be the same as any other medical professional. Hospitals and labs need to be staffed around the clock every day of the week. Therefore overnight and weekend shifts are possible.
Schooling for medical techs involves lots of science courses. Educational requirements differ depending on whether you want to become a medical technician or technologist.
Technicians are required to have an associates degree with courses in science and clinical lab science. If one already posses an associate degree in a related medical field or has a degree with the needed prerequisites, one year certification programs are available.
Medical technologists are required to complete a four year bachelors degree program. Like the technicians program, courses are primarily focused on the sciences but are studied to a higher level.
Certification and licensing are determined at the state level. Depending on where they work, they may be required to become licensed or certified and licensed, though some states do not require either. Certification is preferred by most facilities, so taking the extra time to become certified can help when it comes time to find a job. If a med tech has any specialized training, certification may also be required for that specific area.
Who Should Become A Medical Technologist:
There are many aspects to working as a med tech, being comfortable with all of them will help lead to a healthy career. Med techs may deal with lots of patients during the work day, some who are extremely anxious about having blood drawn or having any medical procedure performed on them. Talking to these individuals and explaining procedures may be necessary for calming their nerves.
Having fine motor control of fingers and hands is necessary for performing tests using lab equipment that requires fine tuning. Taking samples from patients may involve the use of needles, in which case a steady hand is absolutely needed to guarantee successful specimen extraction as well as minimizing any discomfort.
As mentioned earlier, med techs stand for long periods of time and are exposed to potentially hazardous materials. They also work with advanced computer systems as they are becoming more commonly used in the analysis of lab samples.
Medical Technologist Salary:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual medical technologist salary is $59,430. Salaries can range from $40,640 for the bottom 10% to $82,180 for those in the 90th percentile. The state with the highest average salary is California with an annual mean salary of $80,180.
Medical Technician Salary:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual medical technician salary is $40,240. Salaries can range from $25,210 for the bottom 10% to $58,910 for those in the 90th percentile. The state with the highest average salary is Rhode Island with an annual mean salary of $57,700.
Factors That Can Influence Salary:
As with all jobs; location, experience and training will all play a role in determining a medical technicians salary. Working in a small doctors office in a rural area will not pay as much as a large hospital in a metropolitan area.
Medical technicians will not earn as much as medical technologists as there is a great difference in training and education. Certification can not only improve your chances of getting hired, but may end up giving you a higher starting salary. Medical technologists who have advanced training in a specialized field can also command higher pay as their expertise is in limited supply.
Due to the medical and science background needed for med techs, it would require minimal training to switch to another career in the medical field. An example of some of the possibilities include becoming a nurse, surgical tech, or veterinary tech.
With more advanced schooling one can also embark on a career as a physicians assistant or physician. The solid scientific background of the med tech provides a great foundation for many advanced careers.
The job market for medical technologists is expected to grow by 16% between 2012 and 2022. This growth is above the predicted national average of 7% during this same time frame. The growth rate for medical lab technicians is expected to be 18% which is far greater than the predicted national average. As with all careers in the medical industry, exponential growth is expected as the population ages and more individuals require medical care.
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