How Long Does It Take to Earn a Med Tech Certification?
Mar 16, 2015 | 8:00 am
With a growing elderly population that has an ongoing need for lab work, the field of medical technology continues to boom—and so does the need for qualified applicants. Many will seek to fill these roles, especially with the hope of earning a starting salary of $57,580, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports as the median annual wage as of 2012, but employers will favor those with med tech certification.
How do you get certified? And more importantly, how long does it take to get med tech certification? The short answer: Getting certified only requires sitting for and passing an exam, but the educational pre-requisites take about four years. Let’s take a look at each step and how you can best prepare.
Educational Requirements for Med Tech Certification
Earning a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, life science or a physical science is the first place to start—and this takes approximately four years. The key courses should include the following subject areas:
•Clinical lab experience
According to the BLS, the medical technology degree is often called a medical laboratory scientist degree.
Three of the nationally recognized agencies that accredit Medical Technology programs are The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Ensure that you earn your degree from an accredited program; it could affect your application for Med Tech Certification and licensure later.
Getting Certified as a Med Tech
With your relevant bachelor’s degree in hand from an accredited program, it’s time to register for the med tech certification exam. How long does this step take? It depends on when you register for the exam and the next open test time.
As graduation approaches, most med tech students will begin preparing and schedule an exam date. It’s possible to get general or specialized med tech certification. For example, you could earn a certificate in medical biology, specifically, if you plan to work in that field.
Licensure requirements vary by state, but in most cases, a med tech student can obtain licensure after earning a bachelor’s degree, notes the AMT (American Medical Technologist) . The BLS adds that med tech certification is required for licensure in some states, and also by some employers.
On average, gaining certification takes a little over four years when you count the bachelor’s degree program and prep time needed for the exam. The exam itself takes a few hours. The keys to success are staying prepared, knowing the next step and registering early. That way you can move along seamlessly, and you’ll be a certified medical technologist before you know it.