Inside Medical Technician Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Future Career Prospects Truncated...
I was surprised at the career prospects of a lab technician and the limited room for growth. I was also surprised at the amount of regulations associated with every task in the lab especially after spending over 3 years in college focusing on academic research." (Research Assistant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Chemistry at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"The most surprising thing for me as a caregiver/ medical technician is that one has to have good skills dealing with other staff members. I rarely have problems with clients, most problems are created by staff." (Caregiver; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, male
School: Studied Biology at Andrews University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 1999

"Knowledge Required Goes Unused...
I was surprised at the amount of knowledge you have to have for this position and how little you really get to use it professionally" (EKG Tech; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Cardiovascular Tech at PBI Oxford in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 1991

"I was surprised to find that medical technicians have to have a major sense of responsibility because we hold someone's life in our hands. I was also surprised that it is such a fast-paced environment, I thought it would be slow." (Medical Technician; 2013)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Medicine at Baltimore Career College in Maryland; completed Associate degree in 1997

"Surgery Is A Safe And Fulfilling Career...
I was surprised that that surgery is so safe and easy in these modern times. Many of our procedures are short surgeries with less than a day of patient recovery time needed." (Surgical Technologist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Surgical Technology at Medical Education & Training Campus (METC) in Texas; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"Lots Of Jobs Available...
The thing that most surprised me about my profession is that there are so many opportunities that are available once you master the skills. One can work as a technician at a hospital, an office, train other people, work for a EMR company, etc." (Ophthalmology Technician; 2014)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Toxicology at St. Johns University. in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Behind The Scenes Of Cancer...
Most people do not realize what I even do, yet if a person has had surgery done, they most likely have utilized my skills. Also, most people that have dealt with cancer have no idea how their biopsy is diagnosed, and I play an important role in that diagnosis." (Histology Technician; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Histology at Institute Of Pathology - University Hospitals Of Cleveland in Ohio; completed Certificate degree in 1979

"The Fact That There's Good Pay And The Job Is Enjoyable...
That the career is actually fun and great pay. Sometime the hours are harsh." (Lab Tech; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Biology at CUNY Staten Island in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"This field has very little to offer in the way of jobs. I took this certificate program because it had the prerequisites required to attend nursing school. However, being unable to complete nursing school, due to an illness, which required a long hospital stay. I was unable to complete that program. I thought I could fall back on the certificate and training I had previously acquired. I was mistaken. When I tried to find employment related to being a Health Science Technician, I was quite surprised to discover, whereas it involves the sterilization of surgical equipment within a medical facility, not only were there no jobs in this field but, no one was familiar with this type of career." (Health Science Technician; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Health Science Technician at NHTI in New Hampshire; completed Certificate degree in 1994

"Educating Fellow Healthcare Workers...
The biggest surprise about becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician is realizing doctors and nurses don't understand what we do. We are constantly educating them regarding what tests are appropriate for diagnosis and the "best patient" care." (Medical Laboratory Technician; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Medical Laboratory Technician at Illinois Central College in Illinois; completed Associate degree in 2006

"The Field Has Remained Relatively Stable, It's About The Same. Yet Still Very Professional...
I wasn't surprised. I was impressed with the complete professionalism of the Orthopedic surgeons. With the overall level of professionalism of the staff and the range of the hospitals that I've actually worked in." (Orthopedic Specialist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, male
School: Studied Orthopedic Specialist at Fitsimmons Medical Center in Colorado; completed Certificate degree in 1973

"I was surprised to find that being an employee in the Operation Room Department requires friendship. A friendship to where we all work as a team, including surgical tech's, nurses, and surgeons, and continuously work together to help heal the patients in the best way." (Orthopedic Technician; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, male
School: Studied Health Administration at University Of Phoenix in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Machines Taking Over...
I am disappointed because when I started my clinicals in 2006, more of the work was hands on, such as using a microscope for urinalysis. The interesting part of the job is now being replaced by machines that do everything, including analysis, so the need for lab techs has actually decreased, as well as the pay." (Medical Technician; 2012)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Medical Technology at College Of Coastal Georgia in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 2007

"You Can't Get Too Involved...
I was suprised to find out that being a pathology aid required good social skills as you work with both patients and doctors. I was also surprised to find out that you really need to distance yourself from the patients to an extent because otherwise it can be very depressing going into a bone marrow procedure with the patient, developing a connection with them, and then finding out they were diagnoised with cancer. The job can be very sad so it is good to be prepared for that as well." (Pathology Aid; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Psychology/Biology at University Of Washington in Washington; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"I was surprised that within a field where compassion and helping others would be the motivation, that it is primarily paperwork and beaurocracy." (Patient Care Technician (Nursing, EKG Etc.; 2012)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Patient Care Tech at Keiser in Florida; completed Certificate degree in 2004

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Medical Technologist: "The best part of the job is getting to talk to people from all over the US and Canada. Even though people are always calling to report a problem they are still nice. I have developed several phone friends during the years. The worst part of the job is trying to manage everything that you need to do. Working from home is great but the boss is always watching you and checking up on your work." (2010)

Career Background

Medical Technician

  Job Tasks
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  How to Prepare for the Job
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Career Video

Career Tips

"Knowledge And Skills Needed...
You have to have a decent amount of knowledge of the human eye to work as a technician. It involves lots of memorization and skills with machines since there are so many types of testing that needs to be done." (Ophthalmology Technician; 2014)

"Versatility And Mastering Skills For Competitive Advantage...
Make use of your college years to focus on valuable quantitative skills and mastering it to give you a competitive advantage in the pool of candidates that are applying for the same job and have equal qualifications." (Research Assistant; 2013)

"Certification Recommendation...
Certification is a must. Take your boards within two months of graduating. It will be easier to study if it's still current knowledge in your head." (Medical Laboratory Technician; 2013)

"Histology Jobs Plenty And Compensate Well...
To find out more about histology and see if it is a career for you, do some research on the internet and see the possibilities. It is a stable career with usually plenty of job openings that pay well." (Histology Technician; 2013)

"Acceptance Of Your Role...
I would recommend it to anyone who was interested in the area. You have to get used to the concept that you will deal with patients that go through a lot. But the people in the field are doing everything that they can." (Orthopedic Specialist; 2013)

"Get An Internship For Experience Regardless...
You should land an internship around the kind of field you'd want, or what you're interested in. You can get experience even if you don't like it." (Lab Tech; 2013)

"Learn About The Surgeries...
As boring as it may be take the time to learn the names and uses of every surgical instrument that you can. Observe as many surgeries as possible of varying types to gain more experience." (Surgical Technologist; 2013)

"More Education To Improve Salary...
there are a vast variety of different careers you can qualify for. But furthering your education is beneficial because the starting pay is not that great." (EKG Tech; 2013)

"Lots Of Opportunity In Healthcare...
You should get a job in healthcare because its a very diverse field. It's not just walking around in a hospital all day. Work very hard in school because it'll pay off, jobs are rising every year." (Medical Technician; 2013)

"Psychology Helpful...
A good way to prepare for this career is to take a lot psychology classes. You will be working with a lot of people all the time." (Caregiver; 2013)

"Consider A Different Program...
I would suggest to anyone who intends to complete this certificate program, solely to work in this environment, consideration of another program would be advisable. The only benefit I have received out of achieving this certificate was acceptance into nursing school. The cost, by far outweighs the benefit. I now have a debt of over $10,000. You cannot control what happens should you become physically unable to complete the desired course. There are no guarantees in life. If I could do it over again I would choose a program which would guarantee a secure and available career." (Health Science Technician; 2013)

"If You Like Science And Are Mechanical...
This is a great career if you like biology and chemistry and are mechanically-inclined. And it pays well. Not all medical technologists work in hospital laboratories. Some work for pharmaceutical companies or do research. Working in hospitals gives you a more flexible schedule because the lab operates all night. You need to be mechanically-inclined because if an instrument breaks you'll have to call the manufacturer and work with a representative to get the system running again. Because of a shortage of medical technologists, manufacturers are using an automated system which is connected by a track. The samples go along a track and get picked up by the different instruments connected to it. So you also need to know a little bit about computers." (Medical Technologist; 2010)