Technology is advancing at an alarming rate, and the medical field is no exception to this surge in technological growth. This means that there are many opportunities for those who wish to enter the field of medical technology. However, in order to become qualified and certified, you must undergo intensive training as these instruments are highly specialized and someone's life is often at stake depending on the type of medical technology you specialize in. While the requirements may seem daunting, the financial and personal payoff is extremely rewarding for many people. Before you consider entering this field, there are a few things you need to know.
While those who specialize in medical technology do not require the same amount of school and training as a physician, you must invest a great deal of time in school and there are other qualifications that you may not immediately realize are important in this line of work. Not only must you be technologically savvy in your desired area of expertise, but you must also possess great interpersonal skills as you will have to communicate with doctors, nurses etc. and in some cases, the patients themselves.
A basic overview will help you to get a better picture of what may lay in store for you in the field of medical technology.
Medical laboratory technologists are largely removed from the hospital atmosphere and tend to work in medical laboratories alongside physicians. Their goal is to identify symptoms and help to diagnose patients' ailments. Their role in the medical field is crucial, because without this expertise, going about curing people would be an extremely difficult task. Physicians use the information a medical laboratory technologist provides in order to properly treat their patients. They are expected to conduct such work as determining a patient's blood type to identifying diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
In order to be a certified medical laboratory technologist, you must complete a bachelor's degree (preferably in the sciences) and then must receive a degree from an accredited medical technologist program. A national certification exam is then required as this job required you to not only know how to use various instruments such as cell counters and microscopes, but you must also be able to properly analyze results.
On the other side of the spectrum, radiologic technologists often work directly with patients and their skill sets and qualifications vary from a medical laboratory technologist. Also known as radiographers, they perform X-rays in order to help physicians diagnose and treat their patients.
Because the equipment radiographers use are potentially very harmful, those who wish to pursue this career must graduate from an accredited training program that requires anywhere from one to four years to complete. Upon completion, many states require a certification exam from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Note that while an individual may choose to specialize in a variety of areas such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, many radiographers must speak with patients on a day-to-day basis, making interpersonal skills a very important asset.
Another interesting career currently booming in the field of medical technology is that of the cardiovascular technologist. They specialize in heart and blood vessels in order to treat related ailments. From monitoring a patient's heart rate to performing ultrasounds, this position requires a great deal of technological expertise and devotion. Cardiovascular technologists may choose to specialize in vascular technology, echocardiography, or invasive cardiology.
In any case, those who wish to aspire to this position must complete a two-year junior or community college program followed by certification from either the Cardiovascular Credentialing International or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. Similar to radiographers, a cardiovascular technologist works predominantly in hospitals, so strong communication skills are extremely valuable.
As the population swells with an elderly demographic and technology advances at a stupendous rate, the opportunities in the field of medical technology are skyrocketing.
This job market is ideal for those with a strong interest in technology and helping patients overcome diseases or comfortably live with as-yet incurable illnesses.
Find out more about medical technologist jobs from Lisa Jenkins, who covers the topic on JobMonkey - a free careers website. If you're interested in a job in healthcare then see what Jenkins has to say about mental health professions, fitness careers, and much more.