Hospitals, medical clinics and physicians' offices rely on med techs -- or medical laboratory technologists -- to analyze blood, urine and tissue samples and determine whether results are normal or not. They use microscopes, test tubes, cell counters and computerized equipment to make their diagnoses, and discuss their results with physicians. Med techs also supervise medical laboratory technicians, who assist med techs with testing and diagnostics. If you want to become a med tech, you'll need a bachelor's degree. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging slightly less than $60,000 annually.
Med techs earned average annual salaries of $58,640 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The middle half made between $48,610 and $68,930 per year. If you were among the top 10 percent in earnings, you'd make more than $78,900 annually. To become a med tech, you need a bachelor's degree in medical technology. Some states may also require you to be licensed through the Department of Health and Human Services. You can contact the Board of Occupational Licensing for further details on licensing in your state. If you do need a license, you may also need to pass a certification exam through American Medical Technologists, a nonprofit certification agency. Other essential requirements include attention to detail, compassion, dexterity, stamina and technology knowledge of complex diagnostic equipment.
A med tech's salary can vary in certain industries. In 2012, they earned the highest salaries of $74,300 in the navigational, measuring, electro-medical and control instruments manufacturing industry, the BLS reports. They also made above-average salaries as managers in corporations -- $66,860 per year. If you worked in the pharmaceutical or medical manufacturing industry, you'd make $64,600 annually. And as employees of general hospitals or physicians' offices, you'd earn $59,630 and $54,510 per year, respectively.
Average annual salaries for med techs were highest in California in 2012 -- $77,550 per year, according to BLS data. They also earned considerably high salaries in Massachusetts and Alaska at $67,570 and $66,760 per year, respectively. In Tennessee, you would earn close to the industry average as a med tech at $57,310 annually. Your salary would be less in Pennsylvania and South Carolina -- $54,580 and $45,140 per year, respectively.
The BLS projects a 11 percent increase in jobs for medical laboratory technologists between 2010 and 2020, which is statistically about average compared with the 14 percent growth rate for all occupations. An increase in population among elderly Americans should increase jobs for med techs, as their lab services will be needed to diagnose cancer, Type 2 diabetes and other diseases. Hospitals and clinics also need these technologists to maintain the equipment used for patients' diagnoses.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
- Cordova Community Medical Center: Job Description of a Medical Laboratory Technologist
- AllAlliedHealthSchools: Medical Lab Technician Job Description and Duties
- ARUP Laboratories: Specimen Preparation and Transport
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