Medical Lab Tech job question?

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I’ve got a BS degree in Marketing but I’m looking for a career change and want to get into the medical field (more job security!). I tried Nursing but I’m not having any luck getting into a program because my GPA was a 3.1 and they said it’s too low and would have to go back and retake classes I got a B in and try to get an A? What the freak! I am a male, and my wife suggested Medical Lab Tech. I have no idea what I’d be doing, but there is a program here in my small town that I can start in April. Looks like 18-20 hr here to start in Middle Tennessee which isn’t that bad for this area but not great. It’s a 18 month program and I’ve looked online and have a “little” idea of what I’d be doing. Testing blood, stool, etc,. My question is, is this a good or decent career field? I’d like to maybe have a answer from someone like me (34, wife and 3 kids) who’s made a career change in the Medical field and is a Medical lab tech. Do you like you job? What pay do you top out at and how many “years” of experience does it take to be more marketable?

Thanks for any advice!


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Medical Technologists (also known as Clinical Laboratory Scientists) perform, control, establish, and supervise all levels of clinical laboratory testing in hospital and clinical laboratories. They work in the areas of microbiology, hematology, chemistry, immunohematology (blood bank) and immunology.

Schools and internships that prepare individuals for careers in health care are very competitive. Medical Technology would be a great career choice with definite advancement prospects, but the medical technology internships (the “med tech” programs) are just as competitive and selective as nursing schools. Students looking to enter this field have to complete a clinical internship under actual hospital conditions during their senior year towards a B.S. degree in Medical Technology or as a post-baccalaureate internship. These programs are closing down all over the U.S. due to low support and funding and now the number of students looking to enter the field far outnumber those accepted. I’m not saying its impossible, but very competitive. Considering you have a degree in a completely unrelated field and I’m assuming no experience you’d have to start over at square one since very little or none of your marketing courses will apply to medical laboratory technology.

But, there are two levels of “med lab techs.” The one I’ve been refering to is the medical technologist (MT). Generally, MTs hold a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or one of the life sciences, and must complete the 1 year clinical internship and pass a national board certifying exam administered by either the ASCP (American Society for Clinical Pathology) or NCA (National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel). MTs generally make between 40K and 60K per year depending on experience, location, and setting. I don’t have any kids myself, but this would likely be the most promising clinical laboratory career for someone trying to support a family. At the moment, MTs are a little underpaid as compared to other healthcare professionals who complete the same level of training and education, but the future of the field is very bright. The two major certifying bodies, the ASCP and the NCA, are currently coordinating a merge that will form a new and larger agency aimed at bringing new respect and recognition to the field as well as better standardization regarding entry. Also, there is a huge shortage of medical technologists due to a retiring majority. If you find your niche within the field, then you will never find your work boring. I have been working as an MT in a large hospital microbiology lab for four years and still find the field fascinating and fullfilling. There is always something new to hold my interest (a new case or organism, etc.) I highly recommend this field given that it is right for you, if it is. You need to have an aptitude for biology and the medical sciences. If not, you will likely not enjoy the work and not survive or advance within the field.

The prerequisites include biology, chemistry I and II, physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, and organic chem I and II among others. The actual internship includes rotations through and education in clinical chemistry, hematology, bacteriology, urinalysis, immunology, immunohematology, parasitology, mycology, and molecular biology.

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