FAQ: What Is a Medical Technologist? (Definition and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 August 2022

Published 13 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a medical technologist can be a career to pursue if you desire an occupation that combines elements from the medical and technology industries. It is an occupation that requires technical knowledge about complex scientific computations, technologies and diseases. Becoming more familiar with the details of this profession can help you determine if it aligns with your career goals. In this article, we look at what is a medical technologist and what do they do, including frequently asked questions like what their average salary and most important skills are.

What Is A Medical Technologist?

A medical technologist, also known as a clinical laboratory technologist, is a professional who conducts research and analyses the results of scientific tests involving bodily fluids. They are highly trained individuals who use complex equipment and sophisticated procedures to ensure their findings are accurate and legitimate. They test biological material to discover diseases, illnesses and other similar details and then coordinate with lab directors and physicians to discern specific aspects about the patient. As a technologist, they are the individuals primarily responsible for handling all the technological equipment in a lab.

What Does A Medical Technologist Do?

A medical technologist performs a variety of duties, such as:

  • Preparing cultures: Preparing cultures is an essential part of their daily responsibilities, often drawn from tissue samples. This ensures they can keep a collection of organic cultures for immediate access by medical doctors and other medical personnel.

  • Monitoring programs: These technologists frequently establish and monitor the highly complex programs that other professionals use in the lab. They do this to ensure that any data they receive or gather from test initiatives is accurate and reliable for further use.

  • Examining slides: These professionals use technology to examine slides. Often, the slides have body fluids and other biological matter on them so a technologist can see microscopic species like viruses and diseases.

  • Performing chemical analyses: It is quite common for a medical technologist to perform a chemical analysis on biological fluids like urine or blood. This always them to uncover toxins and other unsafe foreign components that do not originate from inside the human body.

  • Cross matching: When a blood transfusion needs to occur, a technologist has to cross match blood between the involved individuals of the procedure. This ensures that they share the same blood type for safe transfusion.

  • Analysing lab reports: After every lab report they write, medical technologists analyse them for accuracy and clarity. This ensures that they are able to find discrepancies between the documentation and the actual research findings before someone else on their team or a publication receives it.

  • Calibrating equipment: Aside from operating the lab equipment, they calibrate them as well. This ensures that the tools and equipment are always in proper working order at current industry standards when someone needs to use them.

  • Determining morphology: When collecting and examining blood samples, they also check for morphology. This allows them to accurately gauge the shape, size and structure of microorganisms in relation to their connection to the overall blood specimen.

  • Relaying information: After performing a test on a sample, they have to communicate their findings to doctors, physicians and other medical professionals. This ensures that those individuals are able to take the necessary actions regarding their findings.

  • Conducting blood tests: They perform blood tests and a variety of other common medical tests on their patients to discover biological abnormalities. This allows them to assess the condition of their patients based on the blood results.

FAQ About Medical Technologist

Here are some frequently asked questions about working as a medical technologist:

What is the salary for a medical technologist?

The national average salary for a medical technologist is ₹2,43,921 per year. However, this estimate is likely to vary for several reasons, such as the individual's employer, certifications, geographical location, academic achievements and work experience. As you gain more experience, you may be able to use your expertise to negotiate for a higher salary. You might accomplish this whether you're looking for a raise with your current employer or a minimum base salary with a new employer.

Here are the cities that provide medical technologists with the highest salaries:

  • Mumbai, Maharashtra: ₹2,09,637 per year

  • Ahmedabad, Gujarat: ₹2,20,744 per year

  • Chennai, Tamil Nadu: ₹2,13,452 per year

  • Puruliya, West Bengal: ₹2,66,082 per year

  • Howrah, West Bengal: ₹2,82,479 per year

  • Jhargram, West Bengal: ₹2,82,479 per year

  • Kolkata, West Bengal: ₹2,86,280 per year

  • Bengaluru, Karnataka: ₹4,35,415 per year

Related: Salary Negotiation Tips and Examples

What is a medical technologist's work environment?

Most medical technologists work in diagnostic and medical laboratories, but they can also find employment in hospitals, physician practices, care centres and even academic institutions. They generally perform their duties within a laboratory setting. They frequently work with different substances and materials, requiring them to comply with safety protocols like masks, goggles and gloves. These professionals may spend a lot of time on their feet, so some degree of physicality is necessary. The majority of technologists work full time, but may have to work additional hours to meet critical deadlines.

How long does it take to become a medical technologist?

Generally, it takes at least four to five years to become a medical technologist. However, this estimate may vary among individuals depending on their dedication to the course. Factors to consider in this calculation include time taken to complete a bachelor's degree, work experience and certifications. Here is a breakdown of that time:

  • Undergraduate degree: Working as a medical technologist usually requires a bachelor's degree and most of these programs take four years to complete. Some students may take a shorter time if they attend extra courses during each course period, so if you are a part-time university student, that can increase the time it takes to become a medical technologist.

  • Work experience: If you are a student in school, then you may be able to get the necessary work experience in an internship while pursuing your academics. The amount of practical experience required might vary depending on the expectations of the employer, so look for novice positions to help you build some experience.

  • Certification: Whether you need a certification depends on the requirements of the employer, although earning a certification can help to improve your chances of getting a medical technologist job. Certifications can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months to complete, depending on the one you pursue.

What skills does a medical technologist need?

Medical technologist need several skills to perform their duties correctly, including:

Technology skills

Medical technologists regularly employ highly complex tools, computerised equipment and technological devices. Therefore, they should have a moderate to advanced understanding of how these machines and mechanisms work. The more efficient they are at using these tools, the better they can perform their duties and gather accurate results from their testing initiatives.

Critical thinking

These professionals need incredible critical thinking skills in order to review their findings and make knowledgeable correlations between biological matter and microscopic organisms. Their ability to analyse their samples critically ensures they can discover plausible results. They handle different samples every day and therefore, need the ability to apply their fundamental knowledge towards a variety of situations and unique circumstances.

Read more: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples

Problem solving

When a medical technology encounters a problem, they need the ability to be able to solve those issues. There are many ways in which problems can arise, such as results inaccurately coming back false or some kind of fault in the process that impedes their ability to perform efficiently. While they do not need to be able to fix everything, they often work autonomously and therefore, need to resolve problems that might arise when they are working alone.

Read more: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Writing

Medical technologists regularly create reports that detail the findings of their tests and research. As such, they need the ability to write well so they can communicate their results in a manner that is grammatically proper and easy for their colleagues to understand. They also need to be knowledgeable using industry jargon so they can write information that everyone comprehends on a medical, technological and scientific level.

Read more: 10 Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills

Stamina

While they do sit down sometimes, a significant amount of their time is standing up and moving around while they work with samples. Therefore, stamina helps them remain on their feet. They might also have to lift heavy equipment.

Is a medical technologist a good career?

Whether working as a medical technologist is a good career ultimately depends on your personal interests and career goals. If you like working in the medical, science or technology industries, then working as a medical technologist may be right for you since it combines all three of those areas. Also, consider the kind of working environment you want to experience on a regular basis. They frequently work in labs and have to follow critical safety measures, which is an important aspect to consider. Ultimately, it is a suitable and good career if you enjoy the work.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.


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