What kind of education does a medical technician need? How long does it take to complete your training? These are perhaps two of the most common questions asked when trying to decide whether or not to pursue a career as a medical technician.
The Responsibilities Require Specialized Training
Your duties will include gathering and preparing specimens, lab work, operating medical testing equipment as well as maintaining and conducting minor equipment repairs. You may also have to draw blood from patients, take x-rays, prepare exam rooms and assist other medical personnel as needed. Many additional procedures can become quite complex and requires even more education and training. That’s where certification is important. We’ll get into more details on certification later.
Do You Need A Degree?
An advanced degree such as a bachelor’s or master’s is not necessary or required. However, if you hope to advance your career further in the future, it is highly recommended that you think about getting more education.
But in the beginning of your career, you’ll need to get your associate’s degree in medical technology. It typically takes 2 years to get an associate’s degree. There are also several technical and vocational schools that offer training. These offer programs that can be completed in a little as 9 months or as long as 22 months. Just make sure that the program or school of your choice is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.
In most states you will also have to be licensed. You will need to check with your state to find out specifically what is required before you can become a medical technician.
Earlier we touched a bit on certification. Here’s the thing. You can choose to become certified if you want. Some individuals don’t want to go through the hassle of spending more time learning. They want to get a job as soon as possible. Well the problem with that idea is simple.
Those who take the time to get certified are taken a lot more seriously by potential employers. Plus the majority of doctors prefer to work with a medical technician who has taken the time to obtain their certification. Doing so says a lot about an individual’s determination and abilities. Organizations such as the American Medical Technologist or AMT offer certification.
A certified technician is more desirable due to the complex nature of various situations that may arise at any given moment. Doctors and nurses feel a lot more confident knowing they have a tech that has taken and passed a rigorous exam. They know this individual is already capable of executing certain functions.
The bottom line is, the more prepared you are in the beginning the better for your career.
What Kind Of Coursework Will You Have To Take?
Most of your education will center around the various sciences including biology, chemistry and pathology. But you will also need to learn a lot about medical terminology, lab and clinical procedures. Also patient privacy laws, computer skills and clinical training. This is just a small example of the kinds of classes you will take. But it should give you a good idea of what to expect.
There are several areas of specialization you may be interested in pursuing. You may work in general practice, cardiovascular, dialysis, radiology, surgical , ultrasound and dozens of others. Your duties will essentially be the same. But working in a specific area may become the catalyst for future career advancement. If you find a specific area of medicine that is of great interest, you may decide to get more education within that field of medicine.
Medical Technician Schools
There are dozens and dozens of options when it comes to choosing a school. You can check with your local community college to see if they offer this kind of training. In either case as mentioned previously be sure it is accredited. The vast majority of employers will not hire you if your training was obtained from a non accredited program.
Other options you should look for depend on your own needs. Location is important, especially if you’re employed. If you cannot find an accredited program near you, there are several qualified programs available online. Again, we can’t stress the importance of being sure the program is accredited.
Something else to consider is financial aid. Let’s face it. Education is very expensive. Make sure the program you choose is also recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This is the only way you will be eligible to apply for government grants and scholarships. The popular Pell Grant pays for tuition and fees. Some non-profit organizations offer educational grants as well. Last but not least you can apply for a student loan to pay for your education.
Are You Ready To Get Your New Career Started?
Choosing a new career is challenging. But you’ve taken the critical steps of learning about what the education requirements are before jumping in with both feet. That was a very smart decision on your part. Now that you have a better idea of what to expect, you can begin the process of finding the best option for getting your education. Your career as a medical technician can become one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have, but proper education and training is critical.
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