Medical Technologist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Medical Technologist, or Laboratory Technologist, analyzes various biological samples to treat or diagnose different diseases. Their main duties include getting biological samples ready to test, conducting blood tests and creating reports of their findings.

 

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Medical Technologist duties and responsibilities

Medical Technologists are mainly responsible for collecting and testing samples. Their duties and responsibilities include the following:

  • Use established lab protocol to perform laboratory tests and correctly log the results of those tests
  • Determine specimen validity within the first 20 minutes of receiving the specimen
  • Inform clients of recollection protocols if a specimen is rejected
  • Identify, diagnose and repair issues that may arise with the laboratory equipment
  • Verify all test results and ensure that they are correctly matched with the specimen
  • Label and organize all tests appropriately to make sure that they are easily retrievable

 

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What does a Medical Technologist do?

Medical Technologists are scientists in the healthcare field who collaborate closely with other medical professionals to study biological samples to locate and treat certain illnesses. They’ll gather different samples to test, like urine, blood, tissue and spinal fluid and will perform examinations to learn more about them and form a diagnosis. 

They’ll also closely examine the cells found in parasites, bacteria or other microorganisms. A primary duty of most Medical Technologists who study these samples is to locate any abnormalities. Once they uncover any, they’ll report these findings for Physicians and other medical professionals to review. Many Medical Technologists are in charge of keeping the laboratory stocked and organized as well.

 

Medical Technologist skills and qualifications

To be considered for the position, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Current ASCP certification
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Exceptional problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Research and analysis skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • Ability to follow biohazard guidelines
  • Excellent verbal and written communication
  • Ability to closely read instructions

Medical Technologist salary expectations

 A Medical Technologist makes an average of $30.51 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

 

Medical Technologist education and training requirements

Medical Technologists need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in medical technology to be able to work in the field. In some states, they may also be required to complete an exam and receive a license to work. Even in states where licensing is not required, they can get a certification through the American Medical Technologists agency. This certification verifies that the candidate has received their BS from an accredited university and completed either an internship or gained one year of approved work experience, so it’s extremely valuable in a candidate.

 

Medical Technologist experience requirements

Medical Technologists often have the opportunity to gain clinical laboratory experience through internships or work-study programs, so even candidates with the minimum entry-level requirements should have a few months to one year of relevant experience. In addition to or as a substitute for prior work experience, candidates might have experience in similar roles as laboratory assistants, nursing assistants or laboratory technicians. 

If the Medical Technologist position in your company requires a high degree of independence or leadership, you may want to look for someone with three to five years of experience rather than just the limited internship experience that most entry-level candidates have.

 

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Frequently asked questions about Medical Technologists

 

Who does a Medical Technologist report to?

There are many individuals Medical Technologists may report to that work in the lab or other sections of the medical facility. Since a majority of their time is spent in the lab, they’ll usually report to the person in charge of the laboratory, which is often the Laboratory Director. This employee will provide the Medical Technologist with their daily assignments and will offer constructive feedback on how to improve their work performance. 

Some Medical Technologists spend their time in a hospital or clinic as well, assisting Physicians and providing them with updates on the tests they’ve run for patients. Physicians may receive these results and will direct the Medical Technologist to run additional tests if needed to gain more information about a patient’s condition.

 

What settings do Medical Technologists typically work in?

Medical Technologists may be employed to work in a wide variety of different medical settings. Some of them may work in clinics, conducting basic tests on patients to find diagnoses for lower-level health conditions. Others may operate in a hospital, which is a more fast-paced environment where the Medical Technologist must quickly run tests on patients who are experiencing extreme health issues and need a diagnosis and treatment plan right away. 

They’ll usually spend most of their shift running tests and examining samples in the lab, where they must sit for several hours at a time working on a computer or with medical equipment. Since they regularly handle hazardous chemicals and materials, they must wear protective clothing like goggles and gloves, at all times in the lab. 

 

What's the difference between a Medical Technologist and a Medical Lab Technician?

Though they usually both work together in a lab, there are some differences between Medical Technologists and Lab Technicians when it comes to their responsibilities and expertise. They may work side-by-side examining samples and reporting their findings. The key difference between the two is that Medical Technologists usually have more advanced training than Medical Lab Technicians. 

Medical Technologists can perform more complex tests and diagnoses on certain diseases and illnesses. Medical Lab Technicians have less training and education, so they’re mainly only able to run tests and examinations on more basic cases while Medical Technologists handle more complicated samples. 

 

What makes a good Medical Technologist?

A great Medical Technologist must be detail-oriented to catch any abnormalities in the samples they examine. They should also have strong task management abilities since they’re usually assigned many samples at once to study and report on in a timely manner. The ideal Medical Technologist candidate is also tidy and organized since they’re in charge of keeping their work area clean and storing the various lab tools.

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