Online Degrees in Medical Technology
Health care is one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation and according to Ferris State University, approximately 70 percent of physician diagnosis and treatment decisions are based upon laboratory results. The people who process these tests? Medical technologists - professionals who are expected to play an integral role in the health care system in the coming years.
Medical technology is an ideal field for individuals interested in health care and problem-solving. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), detail-oriented individuals with strong analytical skills and an ability to work well under pressure are good candidates to work as clinical laboratory technicians and technologists.
For many jobs, a degree in medical technology can provide the knowledge and expertise required by employers. In addition, online degrees in medical technology that combine virtual learning with practical experience are available from both private and public universities.
Oklahoma State University defines medical technology as laboratory science related to detecting, diagnosing and treating diseases. Other institutions refer to their medical technology degree programs as clinical laboratory sciences.
Although some schools offer associate degree and certificate programs in fields such as medical laboratory technology, the BLS indicates that most entry-level technologist jobs in this field require at least a bachelor's degree. Those planning to pursue specialized fields such as pharmacy and microbiology often go on to earn a master's and doctoral degree.
Despite the fact that medical technology is largely a hands-on field, it is possible to earn a degree through distance learning or online school. Students considering online degrees in medical technology should look for programs that are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
Although online programs may be structured differently, many offer virtual learning for subjects such as laboratory operations, immunology and hematology. Then, when it is time for students to gain hands-on experience, online schools often arrange for students to work in clinical laboratories near their homes.
Graduates of medical technology programs have a variety of career choices. Entry-level jobs include medical technologist, blood bank specialist and laboratory technician. With an advanced degree, medical technology professionals can go on to work as biochemists, clinical pathologists or biomedical engineers. Several professional associations such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) offer voluntary certification programs that can also expand job opportunities.
The BLS estimates that in 2008, more than half of all clinical laboratory technician and technologist jobs could be found in hospitals. Other individuals worked in educational or ambulatory health care settings. According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for medical and clinical laboratory technologists in 2010 was $56,870. Pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing was the top-paying industry for medical technologists, with a mean annual wage of $80,390 in 2010.
- Jobs for clinical laboratory technicians and technologists should increase 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- The University of Minnesota projects a national shortage of clinical laboratory science workers, with approximately 25 percent of employees expected to retire in the next 10 years.
- As of 2007, the highest paid entry-level medical technology specialty was that of a cytotechnologist with an hourly wage of $27.55 at hospitals (American Society for Clinical Pathology).
Online Degree Programs in Medical Technology
Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.