Inside Medical Technologist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Medical Field: Not What It Sounds Like...
I was surprised how difficult it can be to actually find a job. Everybody wants experience with EKG's and Blood draws. Also many jobs do not pay more then retail or fast food." (Patient Care Technician; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Patient Care Technician at Florida Medical Prep in Florida; completed Diploma degree in 2012

"Amount Of Work Done Daily...
I was surprised about the amount of work that medical technologists have to do on a daily basis. Medical technologists work very hard and are rarely recognized for their hard work." (Medical Technologist; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Medical Technology at The Ohio State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Sleep Techs Are Frequently Tired...
It was difficult to adjust the schedule. I thought after some months it would be easy to stay up all night and be able to engage in normal activities during my days off. However the tiredness continues until it is almost time to go back to work." (RPSGT (Sleep Tech); 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Polysomnography at CEENTA Sleep Center in North Carolina; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"I Was Shocked At How Insurance Companies Have Affected The Amount Of Work I Do With Patients In The Past Few Years...
The equipment that has come out in the past decade has changed quite a bit. The rules and regs of the hospital where I work at and how insurance pays (or doesn't) for the tests. There is more work with my co-workers than I planned for when I began working at the hospital. The changes in insurance has affected how much work I do now." (Medical Technician; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Medical Technology at University Of Texas in Texas; completed Certificate degree in 1997

"Jobs Can Be More Demanding That Expected...
What surprised me the most about my profession is how hands on with the patient it is. Another thing that surprised me is how demanding the job can be." (Medical Lab Technologist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Medical Lab Technologist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Great Return On Investment...
I was surprised that neurodiagnostic techs get paid so much for their educational requirements. Additionally, that pay and advancement to management can happen after only a couple of years." (Neurodiagnostic Technologist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Electroneurodiagnostic Technology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center School Of Clinical Neurophysiology in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"Automation Replaces Human Work...
I was really surprised at how little theory I use every day. We learn to do all the tests manually in school, but when you go to the hospital, everything is automated, you just put the specimen on and the machine does all the work. I feel like anyone could do this job, and I'm afraid of losing the knowledge that I got in college." (Medical Laboratory Technician; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Laboratory Technology at McLennan Community College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2009

"High Stress / Unreliable Equipment...
The stress level can be surprisingly high, especially in blood bank. The unreliable nature of the analyzers is also a bit surprising given how much they cost." (Medical Technologist; 2014)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, male
School: Studied Medical Technology at University Of Minnesota in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2002

"Not Just Drawing Blood...
Most people are surprised that the medical laboratory profession even exists. Those that do know there is such a thing usually don't realize that it is more than just drawing blood." (Medical Laboratory Technician; 2014)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in Mississippi, female
School: Studied Clinical Laboratory Science at University Of Southern Mississippi in Mississippi; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"Medical Workers Not Always Professional...
I was surprised how unprofessional people can be in a hospital setting. I was most upset with the attitude of some workers looking for loopholes to pass work on to other shifts. I found the self importance illustrated by some of the nurses and Doctors to be highly impractical and toxic to the work environment. There where some good people, but there where some with attitudes that entire staff had to work around because there was no real cause for termination or disciplinary action, they were just assholes." (Surgical Technologist; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Surgical Technology at California Business Institute in California; completed Certificate degree in 1998

"Jobs Are Easy To Get...
I got into the medical field because it is always changing and growing. By going into the medical field, you can almost assure that you will always have a job. I feel that I am helping people everyday, and it is something that I love." (Senior Lab Technician; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Medical Technology at Purdue University in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"Customer Service Aspect...
I was surprised about the amount that I learned about the job of medical technologist after I finished college. The idea of customer service is not taught in school but you have many customers, such as doctors, nurses, patients and accreditation agencies that you have to keep satisfied. Also, I had to learn much about computerization, which was not really emphasized when I was in school." (Medical Technologist; 2012)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Medical Technology at Marquette University in Wisconsin; completed Bachelor degree in 1978

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Medical Laboratory Scientist: "The best part of my job is knowing that I am providing essential information to doctors so that they can correctly treat their patients. Seventy percent of decisions that doctors make are based on laboratory results. I have to know what I am doing. The worst part of my job is that it can be very stressful. Everyone wants their lab results immediately, especially in an emergency. You have to be able to work under pressure just as well as when it is calm." (2011)

Lead Medical Technologist: "The best part of my job is that it is different every day. Because our laboratory is staffed by 6-7 techs every day, we all rotate to different work stations and operate different analyzers every day. We see new and exciting cases quite frequently. The worst part of my job is that it can be very stressful if it is a very busy day, or one of the analyzers is not working properly. It is very important on those days to stay organized and focused on the work at hand." (2011)

Sr. Medical Clinical Scientist: "The hardest part has been keeping up with advancements. The lower reimbursement of health care cost at the federal level has affected the hospital laboratory. The expectation of higher productivity with decrease cost adds pressure to your position. The new technology helps offset some of the burdens. A flexible attitude and open mind is a must. The hospital provides for some continuing education but there is a lot of out of pocket expense for continuing education and accreditation." (2011)

Career Background

Medical Technologist

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Stick To The Same Sleep Schedule...
If you would like to be a successful sleep tech try to keep the same schedule each day of the week. You should always sleep during the day and do your activities in the afternoon/evenings." (RPSGT (Sleep Tech); 2014)

"Continuously Learn...
Take advantage of every continuing education opportunity available to you. This is how you will learn the newest technologies and methods for your work." (Medical Laboratory Technician; 2014)

"Keep Up With Your Education, Never Stop Learning...
Keep up with your education. If you have the means, go on and get your bachelor's in the field. There is much more room for advancement in the field to branch out into other areas in the lab, such as administration and department heads, if you have a bachelor's. You have to have the higher degree to do the more complex levels of testing, you can become disenchanted with the automated testing very quickly, especially if you went into the field for a love of science and high thought processes." (Medical Laboratory Technician; 2014)

"Gaining Job Experience / Employability...
Don't pass up opportunities to branch out and work on different shifts / in different areas. Generalists are in high demand, especially off-shift ones." (Medical Technologist; 2014)

"Pay Attention...
Pay close attention to the training you get, even if it is something small, you will need it later in this profession." (Medical Lab Technologist; 2013)

"Questions And Explanations For Your Patient...
You should explain to the patient what you are doing and be prepared to re-direct questions about test results to their doctor. Be kind but firm." (Medical Technician; 2013)

"Neuroscience Is The Foundation...
Try taking an introductory course in neuroscience, since it's a big part of the education/job. It should help you figure out if this is something you're really interested in, and give you a leg up on other students." (Neurodiagnostic Technologist; 2013)

"Take Chemistry Courses For A Strong Educational Background...
For students, take chemistry classes before getting into university. Having a strong background in chemistry will help students get better grades and then they will have a greater chance of getting accepted into a medical technology program." (Medical Technologist; 2013)

"What Not To Do In Healthcare...
I would avoid many of the technical positions and go directly for nursing or if you wish EMT then Paramedic. If you are really motivated be a doctor." (Patient Care Technician; 2013)

"Follow Directions Carefully...
It's important to understand the importance of the laboratory in a hospital setting. It's important to be able to be alert and pay attention to everything you are doing. I have often told friends that my main job description is following directions. I have to pay attention all of the time. The smallest detail is extremely important. It's also very important to keep up to date with the most current technologies coming out and as they relate to the clinical laboratory as well as what tests are most important to physicians." (Medical Laboratory Scientist; 2011)

"Like And Excel In Math And Science...
In order to be a successful medical technologist, it is helpful to be good in math and science and to really like those subjects. It is also helpful to be organized and detail-oriented, to be able to see the subtle changes that indicate an analyzer is not working properly or that a patient blood sample may not have the correct results for the tests requested. You need to be able to work and communicate well with your co-workers in order to share information that may be vital to the testing they may be performing." (Lead Medical Technologist; 2011)

"Willingness To Relocate...
Do your best to keep up with the various areas of the clinical laboratory. The ability to relocate as an added benefit. We moved a lot in my early years while my husband was in school. Early on in my career, my selling point in my interviews was my specialization in one area of the laboratory. I had to re-familiarize myself with other areas of the laboratory when I moved. I had to work a little to re-familiarize myself. The benefit to that is that later in my career, my selling point in my resume would be the various areas and hats that I wore in the clinical laboratory." (Sr. Medical Clinical Scientist; 2011)