Bad career choice?

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Jacks Raging Bile Duct in Los Angeles, California

68 months ago

WorriedStudent in Mount Prospect, Illinois said: I was very happy after I changed my major from chemistry to MT, but now I'm having second thoughts after reading some posts on this forum. I am doing my clinical year next year and then I will be receiving my Bachelor's. I chose this major since I'd like to go into forensics. I know that is a small field, and if that didn't work out I'd like to work for the CDC and go more into public health. Did I make a bad degree choice? I am more interested in microbiology, etc. Should I have chosen that as a major? What kind of degrees can I pursue in grad school? I know people say you should go into nursing, pharmacy (that is NOT a possibility at this point), or med school, but I do NOT want to be a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist! I'm much more interested in public health and forensics. Any suggestions??

Go with your heart, yet follow your strengths. Do you possess analytical strenghts?. History, Empathy? Do you look at your past to know where your future will be? Quick to decide and slow to change, or Slow to decide and quick to change the mind? Be empty, my friend.

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ColdSoup in Spokane, Washington

68 months ago

I'm just finishing up my clinical year and am about to graduate. I've worked in a lab (phlebotomist) since 2002, so I do have an idea how things work and the general attitude of med-techs. Do not base your career choice on the opinions of this message board. I've found that it is EXTREMELY negative when compared to the reality of working in a lab. This is probably due to the anonymity that the internet provides so people use this as a place to vent. Unfortunately the positive aspects of the career are often overlooked.

Most med-techs that I know are very happy with their career choice. This is a career that offers a good deal of flexibility. You do not have to spend your entire career on the bench in a hospital. You can specialize, go into management, research, forensics, anywhere you want really. I know that the state criminal lab in WA does hire med-techs so you could easily go into forensics that way. If later on you would like to go for more education (epidemiology maybe?) you will have a strong background and will be more likely to find a job flexible enough to allow you to study.

So once again, be wary when reading these boards and don’t get discouraged by all the negativity here. Good Luck!

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ANGRYWOLF in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee

68 months ago

While theortically most state crime labs would hire med techs most states have hiring freezes on so you most likely wouldn't be hired.
I wouldn't say most techs are happy with their profession by a long shot...the previous poster was overly optimistic...

As a stepping stone to another career it has its uses but it isn't a desireable field for a long career.

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Gracie in Schenectady, New York

68 months ago

I am a career counselor as have some ideas for you. Do some research and see where your interests are. It is most important that you like what you are doing. What are your goals? Do you want to travel or stay in one place? Do you like the atmosphere of a hospital or a private company? Large or small. You might make a lot more money in a larger company with more responsiblity as well as possibly more stress. What is your personality and how does it fit in with these options?

Some options for MT's are in pharmaceutical companies. I know a person that got her Masters in Microbiology, while the tuition was paid by her employer. If you have the interest in the process of making pharmaceuticals or manufacturing, you could get a degree in Chemical Engineering or some BioTech field. There are many jobs in those companies. There is the forensic areas, but those jobs don;t pay as well and, as the other person said, there are job freezes. You can consider a degree in Forensics and work for a private lab.

The bottom line is this: You need to take some "field trips" to hospitals or pharmacuetical companies or small labs. Call and make an appointment with someone in human resources and ask for a tour. Tell them what you are looking for. Consider this part of your education. In addition--ask around--your friends, professors, etc and get connected with someone that works in those fields ot get an honest take on those areas. You will find out a lot by just being in that setting and talking with people who work at those jobs.

I wish I had done this when I was going to college. I didn't know enough about the options in my field and the practical points. Make an appointment with your career counselor at your college and discuss these issues with them.

PS large hospotals and other large companies will also have better benefits, such as: health insurance, 401K plans, etc.

I hope this helps.

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Joe, MT (ASCP) in Tulsa, Oklahoma

68 months ago

Don't let the opinions on this forum discourage you. These forums cast a very negative light on the profession compared to the reality of laboratory careers. Some of these opinions are from MTs with 20+ years of experience that have forgotten why they went into clinical lab science. They don't realize how unclear of a picture it paints for those entering the field when they fail to mention any the positive aspects. I'm not trying to sterotype older MTs here, but you have to take some of the posts with a grain of salt.

This field offers definite possibilites for advancement and specialization for those that are interested. The salary and benefits are better than the US national average and the stress levels are in the low to moderate range. The growing shortage of MTs also means that job prospects and pay are increasing. Some other fields like nursing and pharmacy currently offer better pay, but these come at a cost. These people deal with sometimes tremendous amounts of stress and potential liability. Those of us that work behind the scenes sometimes forget this.

On another note, Microbiology is one of the most diverse, and in my opinion interesting, specialties within Medical Technology and Medical Technology is an excellent route for those looking for careers in Microbiology. There are a lot of Microbiologists in research that have a sort of tunnel vision view of Microbiology that focus on one or a few topics of interest. Clinical microbiologists (MTs), on the other hand, have extensive knowledge in all subspecialties (bacteriology, mycology, mycobacteriology, parasitology, and virology). As a result, MTs who work in microbiology rarely get bored or "burned out." They see a lot of variety in their work and don't perform as much STAT testing. It's less stressful and more "hands on" than other departments. I have been working as an MT (ASCP) in Micro for almost 5 years. I have never questioned my career choice and couldn't imagine myself anywhere else

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Mike

68 months ago

Joe great responce, would you consider getting your DCLS?

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Jasmine10 Nicole

67 months ago

WorriedStudent in Mount Prospect, Illinois said: I was very happy after I changed my major from chemistry to MT, but now I'm having second thoughts after reading some posts on this forum. I am doing my clinical year next year and then I will be receiving my Bachelor's. I chose this major since I'd like to go into forensics. I know that is a small field, and if that didn't work out I'd like to work for the CDC and go more into public health. Did I make a bad degree choice? I am more interested in microbiology, etc. Should I have chosen that as a major? What kind of degrees can I pursue in grad school? I know people say you should go into nursing, pharmacy (that is NOT a possibility at this point), or med school, but I do NOT want to be a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist! I'm much more interested in public health and forensics. Any suggestions??

Hi, I'm currently a Senior in high school and I plan to major in MT next year. I think this field would be a great oppourtunity for me, and so for you. I was reading your comments and I see you're having second thoughts. Don't let these comments on this forum stop your career, because this is why some people today change their majors, and now they can't do anything with it.It's probably hard for them to find jobs and etc. So go with what you think is best for you and not these comments. I have ready so many bad comments about MT's but that doesn't mean I'm going to change my major and have second thoughts. I'm going to keep my major and make me and my parents proud.
Do what's best for you?!!!

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mami in Chicago, Illinois

67 months ago

Are Medical Lab Technician (2 years degree) not MT, are employed in the state of IL? I was looking at some jobs ad and i saw mostly MT (Medical technologist) or phlebotomist. I would like to go for the 2 years degree but not too sure. Also how much do they make an hour? Please i would love to hear from someone who is or knows about the field, not those people who just saying things without having an idea. thanks!!!!

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Taytay in Wichita, Kansas

47 months ago

I was just looking at bad things about medical technologt what bad things can happen and everything....Geesh...Oh and i am a 7th grader just wondering about whats bad about medical technology!!!

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trained lab technician mlt in Tempe, Arizona

39 months ago

for associate degree techs: check: bls.oco.gov (bureau of labor statistics) and search for the jobs you are interested in.

hourly pay varies by specialty, experience, and location: phlebotomy is one of the lowest paying ones as an mlt, while towards the other end of the spectrum i have a friend who works in a pharmaceutical chemistry lab and gets about $19 an hour to start w/ associate MLT degree + Certification.

Not sure if people usually allow MT's to work in Micro section when they could possibly hire more specialized Microbiology majors, though MT's do get trained to know what to do in the Micro section, but that's just my opinion. I switched to biomedical engineering after MLT, but am finding the courses very difficult I so am thinking about switching to microbiology or biotechnology instead of finishing an MT degree, that's just me though.

good luck in your pursuits.

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Kansas City woman in Independence, Missouri

31 months ago

I'm a 27 year old mother. I am very interested in a MT(Medical Technologist) career. I currently have a full time job of 7 years in manufactoring making $20/hourly. I am going to community college for an Assoiciates in Biology then transfering to a university for a Bachelors in Biology empasizing in Medical Technology. I want to change careers because I feel the need to be challenged. I need something new in my life to look foward too. At my age and current job pay is it worth going to college part time while haveing a full time job and pursue a different path? By the way I still dont have any experiance in any type of Biology coarse or class back in High School.But I would love to work in a science type field.

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njbiodude in Raritan, New Jersey

31 months ago

Kansas City woman in Independence, Missouri said: I'm a 27 year old mother. I am very interested in a MT(Medical Technologist) career. I currently have a full time job of 7 years in manufactoring making $20/hourly. I am going to community college for an Assoiciates in Biology then transfering to a university for a Bachelors in Biology empasizing in Medical Technology. I want to change careers because I feel the need to be challenged. I need something new in my life to look foward too. At my age and current job pay is it worth going to college part time while haveing a full time job and pursue a different path?

An MLT will probably pay less than your current job. If you have to pay out of pocket definately get your MLT first at the community college then transfer and finish up your MT either online or at another in-state college. The median wage for MTs in Kansas City, MO is 58k a year if that helps with your decision making as well.

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CLS48 in California

30 months ago

I like that name, Myeloblast hunter. :D

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Tes96 in Orange, California

30 months ago

I'm going to school to get my A.S. degree in Medical Laboratory Technology. The hospital I work at pays in the low $20s for lab techs. After that I will get my B.S. degree in Biochemistry and become a CLS. I'm not sure which university to go to but I'm thinking of moving up to Washington State. I'm pretty annoyed from living in California. I've lived here my whole life and I'm about to turn 30. My hospital here in southern California pays $33-51/hr for Clinical Lab Scientists. Does anybody know how much a CLS can make in Washinton State?

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Hopeful in Los Angeles, California

29 months ago

CLS48 in California said: I like that name, Myeloblast hunter. :D

Hi CLS48, you mentioned that you're working in a reference lab, is it different than hospital lab? work wise, scheduling? I've been thinking of going into CLS but the only thing that's holding me back is the scheduling, I don't wanna be working all holidays and every weekend. Thanks.

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CLS48 in California

28 months ago

I used to work in a reference lab, but now work back in a hospital lab. Reference labs generally have less stats and so you can work at a slower pace depending on the assay you're working on. However, they pay less and the jobs are less stable meaning reference labs close down fairly easily.

Schedule wise you could be working on a weekend at either type of lab. In some hospital labs you might be able to avoid weekends and holidays. At a reference lab, there is more of a chance you won't work weekends though. There usually is a rotation for both. I would say you shouldn't base your decision on whether to enter a field just because you might have to work weekends. Even doctors, pharmacists, RNs, and basically anyone in the healthcare field works weekends.

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Ashley in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

26 months ago

Pros: good salary and job security with only 4-5 years of post secondary education. Typical jobs have good outlook as far as longevity, some advancement possibilities (mostly require a business degree in addition), decent benefits. No direct patient care unless phlebotomy activities are required (my hospital doesn't require techs to draw thank god it's been years since I have).

Cons: Visciois sometimes ruthless work environment (talking about workload and caregivers' expectations not your coworkers or direct superiors), Endless work load, phones constantly ringing, endless rude people wondering why they didn't have results before they actually collected a specimen (still looking for someone to explain how people expect the impossdible), always receiving the blame for doctor's mistake, nurses mistake, ... Even housekeepers mistakoffice you can even imagine but it does happen. 24/7 staffing meaning its crazy when people call in and you typically cover weekends and holidays on a regular basis. Also the field is heavily understaffed, techs feel overworked and under appreciated (think of the boiler Stokers on the titanic, they worked in a crazy ridiculous environment, we're never seen, most didn't even know they were there, yet patrons were handled with kid gloves and would get nowhere had the boiler men not been working 24/7). Work/life balance is difficult depending on where you work. Calls at odd times throughout the week asking if you can cover when someone calls in (sometimes like 2 or 3 in the morning asking you to come in then guilt tripping you because you don't have someone to watch your kid at that ridiculous hour)...

Other than that, great career! If it didn't pay well I'd stay home with my baby, unfortunately bills have to get paid.

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a good person in Chicago, Illinois

24 months ago

I have worked at a handful of healthcare facilities as a Med Tech. The pay is pretty good and so is the opportunity to learn things on the job, but the stress, pressure, expectations, workload, and time constraints can be a burden.

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Sandra in Sydney, Australia

19 months ago

Hi there,

This is a little off topic! However I am a medical scientist (technologist in the states) from Ireland with nearly 3 years experience and have my international ASCP certification. I desperately want to live and work in the USA, hopefully before I become old and grey yet I am having no luck finding some one to sponsor a H1B or even give me a trainee position for a few months to get my foot in the door!!! :( Any advice??

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mem in Tyler, Texas

19 months ago

Hi, you need a job placement agency preferably from USA, they know what to do. They will ask you all your credintials, it's like you're applying for a job here in the US but through an agency. Then that agency will market you here ( they're the one looking for a hospital for you). Once you got your H1B visa that's the time you will travel.Or if you have relatives or friends here you can file a tourist visa and then look for an agency.You cannot find a hospital that will sponsor you because they don't want to deal with paperworks and they don't know what to do. The agency will do all the works for you.
Hope this will help you, goodluck.

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Ash738 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

19 months ago

mem in Tyler, Texas said: Hi, you need a job placement agency preferably from USA, they know what to do. They will ask you all your credintials, it's like you're applying for a job here in the US but through an agency. Then that agency will market you here ( they're the one looking for a hospital for you). Once you got your H1B visa that's the time you will travel.Or if you have relatives or friends here you can file a tourist visa and then look for an agency.You cannot find a hospital that will sponsor you because they don't want to deal with paperworks and they don't know what to do. The agency will do all the works for you.
Hope this will help you, goodluck.

Hate to sound pessimistic but with how Obamacare is making it hard on hospitals to even stay staffed paying regular wages, they truly avoid paying for work visas. We were extremely short handed but had to turn down a well qualified international applicant because of the cost of sponsoring their visa. Be prepared for it to Be difficult road. Healthcare is becoming a much less prosperous field. Mostly because patients are wanting everything for free. It costs $$$ to run a hospital, people think it falls outta the sky or something.

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Breedlovenothate in Seymour, Tennessee

3 months ago

I have a bachelors degree in Microbiology and I will be graduating with my MLS in a month. Everything is about perspective. Saying something like "most Med Tech's are unhappy with their career" is a very naive statement. For those that say such things, have you asked enough Med Techs to say honestly say that "most" are unhappy? Do you know them personally? Or is that opinion based on job site forums, where it is much more likely that the people commenting are just using the Internet to vent? Medical Laboratory Science is a great field, it's growing (there are tons of job opportunities, I will be hired in the Micro Lab at the hospital that I did my rotations in come December, and there are only going to be more jobs once the current older generation starts to retire). I have rotated in a level one trauma center hospital over the past year, and most of the MT's and MLT's seem very happy, and feel good about what they do. Do people complain? Of course. Go on any other job site for any other career and you will find the same thing. If you like science, this is a great option, with a great market, and if you decide it's not for you in the long run, you will have a ton of relevant experience for so many different alternative paths.

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AH87 in Little Falls, New Jersey

2 months ago

^Exactly. The Lab Tech jobs are very good for people coming out of school. Like any job, it has good points and bad points and will vary depending where you go. Some people really enjoy it and others will want to pursue something else after working the job for a while. But regardless of what you want to do, it is an excellent choice to go to if you need a job, as demand is more available than a lot of other careers. At the very least, it provides solid experience for you to make your next choice.

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xboxer in Tucson, Arizona

2 months ago

You can always tell when the schools post.

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YAKKOB55 in Seattle, Washington

1 month ago

Good post. I dont agree with any post that say most MT are happy in their careers. Most just settle with what they have. SInce I been a Clinical or Medical lab Scientist across the board MT are not paid for their work. Their is a long history in our political system about pay increase but certain other groups like a MT lobby fought againts a licensing bill once so that MT don't get a increase for their work. Some Med Tech get smart and futher their careers. Med Tech is a great platform to build on not to work in. Any Med Tech with experience will tell the truth. When it comes to knowledge Med Tech know the most about the human body than any other allied health field. Other fields are paid more. I have a BS degree and been offered a better opportunity to pursue my Masters. I pray for all employees in all fields because the techology is about to change again.

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Johnson1 in NYC, New York

1 month ago

YAKKOB55 in Seattle, Washington said: Good post. I dont agree with any post that say most MT are happy in their careers. Most just settle with what they have. SInce I been a Clinical or Medical lab Scientist across the board MT are not paid for their work. Their is a long history in our political system about pay increase but certain other groups like a MT lobby fought againts a licensing bill once so that MT don't get a increase for their work. Some Med Tech get smart and futher their careers. Med Tech is a great platform to build on not to work in. Any Med Tech with experience will tell the truth. When it comes to knowledge Med Tech know the most about the human body than any other allied health field. Other fields are paid more. I have a BS degree and been offered a better opportunity to pursue my Masters. I pray for all employees in all fields because the techology is about to change again.

Career, when applied to MTs is used loosley. Virtually any career path involves leaving the field.

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John in Elmhurst, New York

19 days ago

Jacks Raging Bile Duct in Los Angeles, California said: Go with your heart, yet follow your strengths. Do you possess analytical strenghts?. History, Empathy? Do you look at your past to know where your future will be? Quick to decide and slow to change, or Slow to decide and quick to change the mind? Be empty, my friend.

See the web site, the field is dyeing.
www.theranos.com/

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