Medical Laboratory Technologists Review
A part of the medical field that many people do not see is the work done within laboratories. Medical laboratory technologists work in labs to analyze and test tissue and fluid samples for diseases or other issues. This medical job requires state licensure and often a bachelor's degree, and it offers a great salary range as well as a decent amount of job availability and growth. Medical laboratory technologists win our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for best medical career.
The salary range for medical laboratory technologists is the average range for many undergraduate health care jobs. The average salary for employees in this career field is much higher than the overall average for all occupations in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like with any job, employees who earn salaries in the higher range typically have more work experience. They may also have certification in a specialty area. Salary also varies depending on where you work. The cost of living in your state and in your city also affects your salary.
Employers usually prefer to hire a medical laboratory technologist with a bachelor's degree either in a medical laboratory technology program or in a related science or medical career. This usually means spending about four years at a university program, which might be a drawback if you don't have the time or resources to put into your schooling. Some universities offer bachelor's programs in this field, and requirements for admittance vary.
You can also choose to be a medical laboratory technician first, which usually requires an associate's degree or a postsecondary certificate in order to work. Working as a technician first gives you more experience toward getting a better job as a technologist, and you can work in your field while you go to school to be a technologist. You can also look for a medical laboratory certificate program if you already have a degree in another medical career. Like other health care careers, medical lab technology programs require educational courses in the sciences, like chemistry and microbiology.
This health care job has high job availability compared to other undergraduate careers in medicine. The rate of new job openings for medical laboratory technologists and technicians over the next few years is above the national average for most jobs. The low average wage isn't quite as high as other careers we reviewed, but it's still higher than the national average wage for all occupations in the United States.
There is also opportunity for specialization. You can certify in various specialties, such as cytotechnology, which is the study of cells for diseases like cancer. Another example of a specialty area is working as a blood bank technologist to test and prepare blood for transfusions.
Medical laboratory technologists primarily work in laboratories analyzing medical biologic samples, such as blood and urine. The types of samples and tests vary according to what is needed. Some laboratories have specialty departments that focus on infectious or high-level samples, such as those submitted to test for tuberculosis. Laboratories can be in hospitals, which is the most common, or as standalone facilities, often as part of corporations. There are also potential positions in physician offices. Because this medical career works mostly in laboratories, it's a great health care job choice if you prefer minimal interaction with patients.
Depending on the facility, medical laboratory technologists may have a variety of shifts to work. Because laboratory samples often need to be processed or monitored around the clock, shifts may be 24/7. Newer employees typically work the least-popular shifts, such as graveyard or swing.
A medical laboratory technologist career offers a great salary range that can be well above the average salary for occupations in the United States. This medical career does tend to require a bachelor's degree, which is the higher end of schooling for undergraduate careers in medicine. However, you can choose first to work as a medical laboratory technician if you want to get into the field faster. With higher job availability than many other medical field jobs on our list in addition to a variety of work shifts, medical laboratory technologist as a career is a great option.