Medical Technologist Definition

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Medical technologists work in hospitals and laboratories helping physicians diagnose illnesses and conditions. The technologist interprets the results of laboratory tests and provides information to doctors that can aid in the prevention of disease as well as diagnose an existing condition. In 2008, medical technologists or clinical laboratory technologists were in more than 300,000 positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Function

  • The medical technologist plays an important role in the treatment of patients in hospitals and clinics. The position requires a high degree of accuracy and skill. Technologists working in clinics examine body fluids and cells to help physicians diagnose an illness or condition. A medical technologist also determines chemical levels in fluids including drugs. The chemical analysis can help determine a patient's response to treatment.

Duties

  • Medical technologists perform tests on specimens collected from patients such as tissue and blood samples. The technologist prepares the sample for testing and uses microscopes to examine fluids and cells for bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms. A medical technologist also uses chemicals to test the reaction of samples and to determine the levels of compounds in the blood such as cholesterol and blood glucose.

    The technologist supervises medical technicians in some laboratory settings. A technologist performs tests and evaluates the results of the testing to prepare laboratory reports for the physician. The person in the role of a technologist also monitors testing equipment to ensure the accuracy of results.

Significance

  • The role of the medical technologist advances and technologies are developed in medicine. Medical technologists must stay abreast of the latest advancements in technology to continue in the position.

Skills and Qualifications

  • Medical technologists must have a bachelor's degree in medical technology, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A medical technician may advance to the position of technologist through experience and medical technology programs offered by a hospital.

    Certification from the American Medical Technologists, the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology or the Board of Registry of the American Association of Bioanalysts may be necessary in some positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The state may require laboratory workers such as medical technologists to be licensed to practice. Licensing requirements may include the passage of an examination and a bachelor's degree in medical technology.

Employment Prospects

  • The medical technology field continues to advance, providing opportunities for medical technologists. Many of the positions for a medical technologist will continue to be in hospital and laboratory settings. The median salary for a medical technologist as of November 2009 is $57,283, according to Salary.com.

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References

  • Photo Credit laboratory image by Oleg Verbitsky from Fotolia.com
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