Follow these five steps to become a certified medical technologist. Learn about the education and training required, as well as the skills you need to succeed in this rewarding career.
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So, you want to be a medical technologist? As a medical technologist, you will play a critical role in the healthcare system, working behind the scenes to perform vital laboratory tests that help diagnose and treat disease.
If you are detail-oriented, have strong analytical skills and enjoy working with sophisticated technology, then a career as a medical technologist may be for you. Here are 5 steps you can take to become a med tech:
1. Get a degree in medical technology. You will need to complete an accredited two- or four-year degree program in medical technology to become a med tech. Coursework will include classes in biology, chemistry and mathematics, as well as clinical training.
2. Pass the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) Exam. After you have completed your educational requirements, you will need to pass the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) exam to earn your certification as a medical technologist.
3. Apply for state licensure. Some states require medical technologists to be licensed before they can practice. Check with your state’s licensing board to see if this is required in your state.
4. Find a job. Once you have met all of the requirements for becoming a med tech, you can begin searching for jobs in hospitals, clinics or other healthcare facilities. You can also look into working as a contract laboratory technician or starting your own laboratory business.
5. Stay current on new developments and technologies. Medical technology is constantly evolving, so it is important for med techs to stay current on new developments and technologies in order to provide the best possible care for patients
Step One: Graduate from High School
The first step to becoming a medical technologist is to graduate from high school. In order to be eligible to take the certification examination, you must have completed at least one year of high school biology and one year of chemistry. You should also have strong grades in math and English. Once you have your diploma, you can look for work as a medical technologist.
Step Two: Attend an Accredited Program
After completing your prerequisite coursework, the next step on your journey to becoming a medical technologist is to attend an accredited program. A variety of both two- and four-year colleges offer medical technology programs that are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
The NAACLS is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national accrediting agency, and its accredited programs meet the standards set forth by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA).
In order to be eligible for certification and employment as a medical technologist, you must attend an accredited program and earn at least a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or in a related scientific field.
Step Three: Get Licensed or Certified
Becoming licensed or certified is the third and final step to becoming a medical technologist. While certification is not required in every state, many employers prefer or require it. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers a certification exam for medical technologists. To be eligible to take the exam, you must have completed a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or a related field, and you must have completed an accredited clinical laboratory training program.
Step Four: Consider Earning a Voluntary Certification
Earning a voluntary certification, while not required, can help you stand out to potential employers. The American Med Tech certification is the most widely recognized. To earn the certification, you must:
Be a current member of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS)
Have completed at least one year of full-time employment as a medical technologist or medical laboratory technician in the united states or its territories
Pass an exam that covers general medical technology topics
To maintain your certification, you must complete continuing education credits every three years.
Step Five: Start Working
After you have completed your training and received your certification, you will need to start working in order to gain experience. Many medical technologists work in hospitals, but you could also work in a private laboratory or blood bank. You may need to work odd hours, as many medical facilities are open 24 hours a day. Once you have gained some experience, you may want to specialize in a certain area of medical technology.
Becoming a medical technologist is a great way to enter the medical field without the lengthy and expensive schooling of becoming a doctor. With an median salary of over $50,000 per year, good job prospects, and the ability to help save lives, there are few careers with as much satisfaction as this one. Use the steps above as a guide to beginning your new career as a medical technologist.