Med techs, also called medical technologists, help analyze body fluids and collected specimens for doctors and others in the medical industry. Medical technologists work in a variety of locations, including hospital labs, doctor’s offices, outpatient facilities and in university and government research facilities. They play important roles in helping make accurate diagnoses, which in turn allows doctors and pathologists to determine an appropriate course of treatment.
Medical technologists must usually have a certain amount of academic training in the fields of medical technology, clinical experience or medical laboratory science before being able to practice. Many medical technologists incorporate hands-on experience by working in real-life field settings as well. Before legally practicing, most med techs must demonstrate a base level of proficiency. They must generally meet educational standards established by federal law, which are governed by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Under CLIA regulations, med techs are typically required to have at least an associate’s degree before practicing.
During the course of their academic careers, med techs take classes that combine classroom lecture and learning with lab and fieldwork. Most med tech programs involve coursework in areas of medicine such as immunology, metabolism, microbiology and urinalysis. Med techs generally obtain certificates in their areas of specialty, and may also be required to hold licenses depending on their geographic location.