Is a Medical Technology Career for You?
The medical technologist performs a full range of laboratory tests to monitor drug levels and therapies and to determine the identity of pathogens and diseases. In their search for data on a patient's health, medical technologists examine specimens with a microscope and operate a wide variety of complex, precision electronic instruments. Medical technologists work rapidly and carefully to confirm the accuracy of test results and report laboratory findings to the pathologist and other physicians. They hold life and death in their hands because the information they give to the doctor influences the medical treatment a patient receives.
All medical technologists have certain common characteristics. They are self-sufficient, precise, reliable, and thorough. They are problem-solvers and trouble-shooters who not only report accurate results, but also know when results are incorrect and need to be re-checked. They like challenge and responsibility and work well under pressure. They work rapidly and carefully and are able to finish a task once started. Medical technologists communicate well, both in writing and speaking. They set high standards for themselves and expect quality in the work they do. But, above all, they are deeply committed to their profession, and are truly fascinated by all that science has to offer. For someone who chooses a career in the medical laboratory, the exploration never ends.
Although medical laboratories are physically located in hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices, their real location is on the frontier of scientific medicine. Here, the best-qualified men and women are building careers in laboratory medicine by applying their expert knowledge and practical skills. Medical technologists, whose broad background of college and clinical laboratory training provides the necessary ingredients for their professional responsibilities, fulfill a prominent role in these laboratories.
About two-thirds of the professional medical technologists in this country are employed in hospital medical laboratories. Others work in physicians' laboratories, outpatient clinics, the armed forces, public health agencies, research programs of university hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, criminology laboratories, and in sales promotion of diagnostic reagents and equipment.