A Medical Technician can work in many different areas of the healthcare field. Some of these include surgery, dental office, x-ray, pharmacy, veterinarian, EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), dialysis, pediatrician, MRI and lab technician. The type of work-place one is placed in depends on classes, certificates or degrees.
There are different ways of getting a certificate or degree as a Medical Technician. If you know early on that this is the field you wish to work in then you can start by taking appropriate classes in high school. High school classes that prepare you include higher mathematics, anatomy, biology, chemistry and physics. Computer classes are beneficial as well since they will be required further on.
After high school you need to decide whether you would like to take a medical technician course in a community college or whether you will choose a vocational school. This is a good time to decide what area of expertise you would like to focus on because while some technician jobs accept a certificate or degree from any reputable school, some have certain requirements that only certain schools can meet. Also, while some Medical Technicians can complete a 2-year program, others are required to complete a 4-year program in addition to clinical training.
It is always a good idea to talk with a school counselor. They are available in high schools, community colleges, universities and vocational schools. A counselor can discuss the different types of Medical Technicians there are, tell you about the classes you will need, discuss how long your studies will be and talk to you about whether there will be additional certificates or clinical training that you might need to complete. A Medical Lab Technician, for example, performs tests on blood and other body fluids and checks skin samples for disease so they will need classes in laboratory science. An Ultrasound Technician, on the other hand, does not handle blood, fluids and skin at all. They need to take classes on X-ray Technology and learn to handle various computers and imaging machines. Those who chose the dental field need to concentrate on the mouth while those in the dialysis field need to know about equipment that removes waste material in blood. Medical Technicians have such a diverse field from which to choose that a counselor can really help in the decision making.
The career outlook for a Medical Technician is very good because so many healthcare facilities need them. From doctors offices to hospitals to emergency respond units; there will always be a need for this particular field.
A Medical Technician receives an initial education about the human body, basic laboratory principles and the operation of a hospital, clinic and doctor’s office. From there they will pursue additional training in a specific area of interest.
There are career opportunities available for the medical technician in many areas of medical practice. Some of the common and more specialized uses of the medical technician are outlined in this article.
People with kidney illness need the support of machines that filter impurities from their blood just like a healthy kidney. Dialysis Technicians help set up and maintain the machines, connect people to the devices and monitor the progress, and assist patients with any questions or issues they may have.
Dialysis Technicians may work in a hospital or dialysis center.
EMT’s most often work for fire departments or ambulance companies. They are responsible for helping stabilize patients for transport to a hospital or other care facility. They can also provide emergency medical care to people on an accident scene.
Medical Laboratory Technician
Medical Laboratory Technicians are familiar with the various tests that are performed in a medical laboratory. They may run tests, write reports and maintain the various equipment needed to perform the tests.
Since this field is so broad, this Technician can actually specialize in an area such as blood analysis or cancer screening. They will often be trained to draw blood and in the storage and transfer to the lab.
Also called an X Ray Technician, the Radiology Technician can perform many different functions. They may work with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scans.
Since the use of radiological examination is important in many areas of diagnosis and health care, this Technician will be involved with many people with many different medical conditions.
The Medical Sonographer, also known as an Ultrasound Technician, has close contact with patients as they use sound waves to penetrate the body and uncover health issues.
They may work with vascular doctors, OB/GYN, cardiologists and internal medicine as each area has specific needs for ultrasound technology.
A less common but growing use of the Medical Technician field includes:
Forensic Science Technician
This job requires the technician to collect and analyze physical evidence from crime scene investigators.
Using the laboratory to test and analyze the material, they may be involved with fingerprinting, blood and DNA analysis, and testing of various compounds found at a crime scene.
There are many roles that a Medical Technician can fill and the field continues to expand as the use of technology in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions evolves.
Medical Technicians are the first response team on the scene of a crime or accident, and are responsible for saving the lives of millions of people across the country. These professionals are formally trained, certified, and/or licensed in their particular state. Most often, they work 24 hours a day and have irregular working hours. Therefore the best salaries are predicated on the technician’s ability to progressively gain training and experience, while also being able to work under pressure, and yet still remain focused and alert.
Training and Experience: The Impact on Salary
As stated above, many people’s lives depend on the quick reaction and competent care of medical technicians. Emergency incidents can range anywhere from heart attacks, car accidents, childbirth, and gunshot wounds that require immediate medical attention. Ultimately, medical technicians are responsible for transporting any sick or injured patients to a medical center to get continued care. Nonetheless, medical technicians must have the knowledge and capacity to assess a patient’s health while managing any respiratory, cardiac, and/or trauma conditions.
Beyond these general duties, medical technician’s salaries are based on specific responsibilities that depend on their level of qualification and training. Most importantly, individuals must check their particular state for certification requirements as each state has their own set certification programs and licensure requirements.
Future Demand for Medical Technicians
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical technician careers are expected to grow about as fast as average occupations within the next 5 to 8 years. Most importantly, job openings will be abundant in cities and at private ambulance firms.
Alternatively, competition will be stiff when seeking employment in governmental jobs such as fire, police and independent third party Departments Rescue Squads. This is usually due to the fact that they offer better salaries and benefits, and thus more experienced professionals are seeking employment there. Nonetheless for those who have advanced training and certification, they will be able to enjoy successful careers as clients and patients require a higher level of medical care prior to being admitted to a medical facility.
Medical Technician Salaries
All things considered, median hourly earnings for medical technicians were approximately $14.10 in 2008. Specifically, the middle 50 percent earned between $11.13 and $18.28. While the median hourly wage for industries employing the most medical technicians was $12.99, local government sectors paid approximately $15.45. In any event, salaries depend largely on the occupation and geographic location, as well as education and work experience of the professional.
In summary, medical technician salaries vary at many levels and are dependent on a variety of factors. All in all, everyone agrees that the highest paid professionals are ones that have above average training and a sizeable amount of experience. Therefore this would be a great career for someone who is capable of handling pressure, can think critically, and remain calm at all times.
Tuition is the primary factor in determining costs for attending Medical Technicians schools. Attending a private school is much higher than attending a state sponsored vocational school or junior college. Some schools charge one flat fee for attending a program, while other add on other fees after the tuition. Costs vary between classroom studies and online courses. Other customary costs involved will be:
- Supplies such as paper, pens, calculators
- College fees
- Parking fees
- Student Union/Activity fees
- Transportation costs
- Housing costs
- Lab fees
Completing a Medical Technicians program will take up to two years. The good news is that many schools are now offering coursework online and you can work at your own pace whether that is faster or slower than the average classroom student.
Financial aid is readily available in the form of Federal grants, State grants, student loans and work study. One official financial aid form is used to determine financial aid based upon need. This is established by examining Federal income tax returns for the previous year. Students are rated as independent or dependent based upon whether they were claimed on someone’s tax return. In the case of dependent applicants, both incomes must be used on the application to determine financial aid.
Pell Grants are available up to a maximum amount of $5,000. No payback required.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants are between $100 to $4,000. No payback required.
State Grants vary from state to state and payback is not required.
Stafford Loans. Any student qualifies for up to $3,500 the first year of school, more in subsequent years. Must be paid back beginning upon graduation.
PLUS Loans. These are loans that parents and graduate students are eligible for based upon credit rating and the difference between other student aid and remaining costs. Payback begins immediately.
Salaries vary from state to state and according to what type of facility incumbents are employed by. A sampling taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010 is listed below:
States Employing the Highest Number of Medical Technicians
- California $20.23 per hour $42,290 annually
- Texas 16.56 34,400
- Pennsylvania 19.79 41,100
- Georgia 15.99 33,200
- New York 20.79 43,200
AVAILABLE JOBS FOR A MEDICAL TECH
The job outlook for this profession is excellent. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 indicates that jobs will grow by 14% between 2008 and 2018. Urban areas will provide most opportunities and variety of work.