You may obtain a medical technologist certification by passing a national certification examination after completing the educational requirements. The educational prerequisite to being able to take the exam is the possession of a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in medical technology or a B.S. in a field such as chemistry or biology. Some regions require a state license, which is obtained by passing a regional examination following the acquisition of a bachelor's degree.
A B.S. in medical technology involves studies in chemistry, biology, and microbiology. Courses in math and statistics are also included, as well as special areas of studies devoted to clinical laboratory issues. Since some of these professionals will eventually own and manage their own laboratory, these degree programs frequently include business-related courses.
In addition to the educational requirements for a medical technologist certification, certain temperamental traits are advantageous. Members of this profession should exhibit good analytical judgment and show meticulous attention to detail. They must be good problem solvers and be able to work calmly under pressure. Good manual dexterity and normal color vision are also required.
After acquiring a medical technologist certification, a professional in this field will perform laboratory tests that are vitally important in the healthcare system. They collect samples of body fluids and analyze them using microscopes and complex laboratory equipment. Testing and analysis cover a wide range of clinical laboratory science, including such areas as bacteriology, immunology, and toxicology. The data they collect is essential in enabling doctors to diagnose and treat illness.
The work setting of those who have obtained a medical technologist certification could be a hospital or doctor's office. Other settings could involve medical diagnostic laboratories or public health laboratories. These professionals could also work in research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, or the military.
Working conditions of a clinical laboratory technologist will vary with the setting. Although members of this profession work with infectious specimens, few dangers exist if correct infection control procedures are followed. Masks and gloves are needed to protect from contracting infections. Other drawbacks of the job involve standing for long periods and inhaling fumes from testing solutions. Some positions will require evening and weekend work, as well as being on call in case of an emergency.
A medical technologist can advance in his or her career by assuming a supervisory role in a laboratory. Manufacturers of home medical testing kits and laboratory supplies may seek experienced members of this profession to work in product development. Factors that can foster career advancement include certification, specialization, and a graduate degree in medical technology, education, or a related science field.