Medical technologists, also called medical laboratory scientists, are highly sought-after clinical professionals who support the work of doctors and nurses. Even though patients rarely meet lab technologists, they’re responsible for some of the most important, behind-the-scenes work in the medical field. Medical technologists collect and analyze samples from patients through scientific testing. Their reports can be used to diagnose conditions or monitor the effectiveness of a patient’s care plan.
The work of medical technologists is so important that up to 70% of all decisions surrounding a patient’s diagnosis and treatment are based on the results of a medical technologist’s work. Their work is in such high demand that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 25,900 new laboratory technology positions will become available every year, for the next ten years. So, if supporting a team of medical professionals interests you, it’s a great time to consider pursuing a medical technologist training program. Read on to learn about this exciting educational path.
Medical Technologist Training Overview
Aspiring medical technologists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, need to earn a bachelor’s degree before launching their career. A bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science is typically recommended, as it includes coursework in chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics – all fundamental topics for a technologist’s career.
The bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science is typically completed over a four-year period. The traditional program is called a 3+1 model. Three years are spent taking prerequisite and core classes. After that period, students are required to pass a comprehensive examination. Then, students spend the last two semesters of their senior year in clinical rotations in a laboratory. At University of Bridgeport, students complete their clinical training at one of UB’s clinical affiliate hospital laboratories.
Over the course of the first three years of their training, students complete general education coursework covering liberal arts, mathematics, science, and fine arts classes. Additionally, students in the medical technologist training program complete major-specific classes that prepare them for a career in medical laboratory science. These courses can include:
- Medical Bacteriology
- Clinical Chemistry
- Molecular Biology
- Medical Genomics
- Physiological Chemistry
A medical technologist training program is designed to emphasize laboratory skills and management skills through hands-on training. The courses you take during the first three years of your program will prepare you for practical experience in a real-world work setting, where you can put your learned skills to practice.
Training Time Commitment
On average, a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science takes four years to complete. However, individuals who have already earned a BS degree previously can take a categorical route of study. In this route, students can study one or more areas of clinical laboratory science without earning a second degree. These areas can include Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology, or Immunohematology.
Medical Technologist Career Outcomes
Graduates of a medical technologist training program are qualified to pursue employment in a variety of environments. Medical technologists can work in hospitals, medical offices, and dedicated laboratories. Graduates of a Medical Laboratory Science program may also wish to specialize in a specific area of medical testing. For example, medical technologists can focus on immunology, microbiology, or zoology. Whatever location or specialty a technologist decides to work in, they can expect to earn, on average, a salary of $54,000 per year. In Connecticut, the salary potential for medical technologists jumps to $69,000 annually.
What to Look For in a Medical Technologist Program
If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in Medical Laboratory Science, it’s important to make sure your future degree program meets the following standards.
- Accreditation: Aspiring medical technologists should make sure that their future program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Programs accredited by the NAACLS are held to a high standard. Students who attend a program that has earned accreditation by this accrediting agency can expect to receive a high-quality education and the training they need to successfully work in the field. Students who want to sit for the national certification exam offered by the Board of Certification of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) must attend school at an accredited program.
- Clinical Training: Receiving clinical training is imperative to a medical technologist’s professional success. Make sure that your future medical technologist training program provides adequate clinical training to its students before enrolling.
- Flexibility: Many students need to work while in college. If this sounds like your situation, then it’s important that your future program offers some amount of flexibility. At University of Bridgeport, students are able to complete the first three years of their training program on a part-time basis. They must attend the fourth year of their training (their clinical year) full-time. Make sure that your program fits your lifestyle and your needs.
Whether they work in diagnostic laboratories, physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, or hospitals, medical technologists are key members of a medical team who can make a huge impact on the health and wellness of patients. Medical technologists are in high demand and well-paid professionals. The first step towards becoming a medical technologist is to enroll in the right training program. If you’re interested in pursuing medical technologist training in Connecticut, explore University of Bridgeport’s program.