What Will I Learn in a Medical Technology Program?

What Will I Learn in a Medical Technology Program?

Mar 17, 2015 | 8:00 am

You’ve already decided that studying samples in a laboratory would be interesting work, and science and math are two of your favorite subjects. So are you ready to dive into a medical technology program? Becoming a med tech might be a great career fit—after all, the field is growing faster than average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What exactly do you learn in a medical technology program? Let’s take a look at what some schools offer.

The Degree You Need

Medical technologists are also called medical laboratory scientists, so you’ll encounter plenty of science classes in a four-year medical technology bachelor’s degree program. American Medical Technologists (AMT) notes that the main subjects covered include: chemistry, microbiology, biology, math and statistics. Other classes will teach skills used in a clinical laboratory.

Some students start out by majoring in a life science or physical science, rather than medical technology. In that case, many colleges, such as the University of California Irvine, offer one-year medical technology programs that provide certificates upon completion.

Whichever degree path you take, ensure the school is recognized as an accredited medical technology program by one of these three associations: The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

The Skills You’ll Learn

Whether you major in one of the sciences and earn a certificate or go directly into a med tech bachelor’s degree program, some of the most important skills you’ll learn in a medical technology program include:

•The principles of laboratory medicine
•Techniques to perform diagnostic procedures
•Operating laboratory equipment and instruments
•Quality assurance best practices
•Communication and professionalism in a clinical environment
•Research methods used in a clinical laboratory

Other classes, such as immunology, pharmacology, clinical chemistry and hematology help to round out the educational requirements, as well as supervised clinical lab practice.

Besides needing these educational requirements to gain certification, licensure and ultimately a job in medical technology, med techs know the importance of these skills to their career satisfaction and personal health. They work with infectious specimens and materials that can produce hazardous fumes, so understanding the proper methods of sterilization, infection control and safety in the lab are both important and necessary. The education learned in a medical technology program all goes to good use…and can lead to a long, happy career.