How to Become a Medical Technologist

By | February 7, 2024

As a medical technologist, you’ll be responsible for providing safe and effective treatments to patients. You’ll use your knowledge of technology and science to help patients and doctor’s in a variety of ways. From diagnosing diseases to performing surgeries, you’ll be an essential part of the medical community.

How to Become a Medical Technologist in 2022

Learn About Being a Medical Technologist in 2022


As a medical technologist, you are responsible for ensuring the safe and effective treatment of patients. You work with a variety of patients, from the sick to the healthy, to help them receive the care they need. In order to become a medical technologist, you must first complete an accredited program of medical technology. After completing your program, you will then be able to qualify for licensure in your state.

What Does a Medical Technologist Do?

A medical technologist (MT) is a professional who provides medical care through the use of technology. MTs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. They use a variety of medical technology to diagnose and treat patients. In addition to providing medical care, MTs also play an important role in the development of new medical technologies.

A medical technologist (MT) is a professional who performs medical technology services. They may work in a hospital, clinic, or other health-care setting. In the United States, most MTs are employed by private hospitals and clinics. They use their skills to perform a wide range of medical procedures, including but not limited to: artificial intelligence (AI) treatment, surgery, and microscopy.


A medical technologist, also known as a medical laboratory scientist, performs testing in a laboratory setting, logging results while following established laboratory protocol. While they prepare specimens for examination, the medical technologist may use automated technology as well as specialized instrumentation to complete the test and interpret the results. They also diagnose, troubleshoot and repair issues with laboratory equipment.

Medical technologists may also:

  • Verify that the test result matches the given specimen

  • Perform tests on fluids, tissue and blood

  • Collaborate with laboratory supervisors or physicians while working with patient data

  • Determine the cell count, chemical content, blood type or drug levels in a given specimen

  • Search for the presence of certain microorganisms, parasites or bacteria in a given specimen

Average salary

Medical technologists are typically full-time employees. The typical tenure for a medical technologist is one to three years. Some geographical locations may pay higher wages based on need. Experience and education level can also affect salary. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $28.45 per hour

  • Some salaries range from $7.65 to $56.35 per hour.

Medical technologist requirements

Medical technologists may need to meet certain education and training requirements. Additionally, some states have licensing and certification standards for these professionals.

Related careers

If you want to pursue a career as a registered nurse, you may also be interested in one of these related careers:


Medical technologists need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, while a master’s degree is useful for advancement in the field. Those with master’s degrees typically have a higher chance of becoming laboratory directors. Degree fields could include life sciences, clinical laboratory science or medical laboratory technology.

Common topics studied at a four-year undergraduate program include:

  • Physiology

  • Anatomy

  • Immunology

  • Lab management

  • Clinical microbiology

  • Medical ethics

  • Microbiology

  • Chemistry

  • Statistics

Students learn foundational knowledge of medical technology practices in classroom and laboratory settings, and they often include internships. These undergraduate degrees prepare students to enter the medical technology field as soon as they graduate.


Most of the training a medical technologist receives is during the undergraduate or master’s program. Students typically complete internships in the final half of the program. During an internship, they gain practical experience in a laboratory setting. They learn how to handle specimens, perform tests and analyze results under the guidance of experienced laboratory professionals.


In some states, all professionals who work in a lab, including medical technologists, need to earn a license. The guidelines for licensure vary by state, but most require proof of a bachelor’s degree or higher in medical laboratory technology or a similar field and for candidates to pass an exam.

Many employers prefer to hire a medical technologist who has been professionally certified. These two institutions offer medical technologist certifications:

American Medical Technologists

The AMT offers a medical technologist license for those interested. An MT shows an individual’s ability to apply practical knowledge in a laboratory setting. To earn an MT, applicants must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass an exam. MT certification holders need to renew this credential every three years.

American Society for Clinical Pathology

The ASCP offers several certifications for medical technologists in different specializations. Each certification requires applicants to meet certain educational and experience requirements before sitting for the exam. Certificate holders should renew their credentials according to ASCP’s guidelines.


There are many skills that a medical technologist will need to be successful in their field, including:


Medical technologists often work with other laboratory professionals, so the ability to communicate is important. They should be able to give directions, explain procedures and offer results. Medical technologists also need written communication skills to create reports and deliver findings.

Attention to detail

One of the most important duties of a medical technologist is handling samples and specimens. They may manage multiple samples at the same time, so they need excellent attention to detail to ensure they label items correctly and perform the correct tests.

Time management

These professionals may perform a variety of tests that may take a full day or several days to complete. They should be able to manage their time to ensure they complete each test, record results and report findings. This could involve creating a calendar with a timeline for the progression of each sample.


Medical technologists should be highly organized to reduce mistakes. Their work area should be clean so they can access tools and machinery easily. They should keep samples and specimens organized to ensure they administer the correct tests. Organization includes keeping any electronic files ordered as well.

Medical technologist work environment

Medical technologists usually work in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories or clinics. A typical work environment for a medical technologist includes:

  • Standing or moving while working with equipment

  • Sitting for extended periods while working on a computer

  • Working in a laboratory setting with a workbench

  • Using a variety of tools and equipment

  • Handling potentially hazardous material

  • Wearing protective clothing, such as gloves, closed-toe shoes and goggles

  • Communicating with other laboratory professionals

How to become a medical technologist

You can follow these steps to become a medical technologist:

1. Earn a degree.

A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement to be a medical technologist. You should earn a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory technology or a similar field. If you want to excel in a medical technology career path, consider earning a master’s degree so you can earn promotions.

2. Gain experience.

You’ll need to have some experience in a laboratory setting. Many bachelor’s programs include an internship, which can count toward work experience in an entry-level position. For additional professional experience, you can work as a medical technician before applying to medical technologist jobs.

3. Apply for licensure and certifications.

Depending on the state where you plan to work, you may need a license. It can also be helpful to earn certifications to demonstrate your professionalism in the field, potentially increase your earning potential and expand job opportunities available to you. You can earn certifications from the AMT or ASCP.

Medical technologist job description example

Johnson Clinic is seeking a medical technologist to add to our team. This individual will work with a team of two technologists and three assistants and will report directly to the director.

Job duties:

  • Prepare cultures of tissue samples

  • Establish and monitor programs

  • Ensure data accuracy

  • Examine slides of bodily fluids microscopically

  • Cross-matching blood for transfusions

  • Look for components in fluid

  • Validate lab reports for accuracy

  • Calibrate and operate equipment

  • Deliver results to researchers, patients or physicians

Education requirements:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology

  • Minimum of three years of hands-on experience as a medical technician or similar field

  • American Society of Clinical Pathologists member

  • Licensure from the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners

  • *Up-to-date certifications

Working environment:

The medical technologist will need to assist the appropriate staff during audits and assessment of operations. While there are flexible hours, on-call availability and night shifts may be required.

The medical technologist will need to be comfortable wearing safety gear, such as surgical masks, latex gloves and appropriate laboratory gear. On occasion, earplugs or earmuffs may be needed to dampen the noise of laboratory equipment.


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