Healthcare Technologists

 This chapter features health care technologists. The major occupational groups are:

The first specialty is excerpted along with a sampling of resources from the all new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion!. The remaining occupations are featured in the same format as presented for clinical lab technicians in the text version of Health Care Job Explosion! Occupational groups are divided into primary and related occupations so that individuals can investigate other fields for additional job opportunities.


Health Care Job Explosion features over 1,400 career exploration and job vacancy resources. Resources are grouped with each occupation and a sample of related resources are included with the first two occupations.



Interview With a Radiologic Technologist (R.T.)


Debra Burton PhotoDebra Burton, R.T. (R)(M)(CT) always knew she wanted to work in the medical field. After high school, while working at a local hospital in housekeeping, she took an emergency medical technician course. Soon after that, she was hired as a radiology aid. Her supervisors recognized her potential and encouraged her to go to school in radiologic technology.
While attending school full-time, she was able to work week-ends in radiology departments in small hospitals. She graduated from Fort Hays University in Kansas in 1987 with an Associate’s degree. After passing the boards, she became a registered radiological technologist.


Debra explained that one can get certified in several different specialties in diagnostic imaging. "There are always opportunities and such a variety of imaging modalities to learn." You can also get raises when you earn a new certification. Currently certified in computerized tomography (CT scans) and mammography, Debra is working towards an additional certification in abdominal sonography.


"There are always opportunities in the field," Debra says. She has worked in several hospitals, sometimes as a supervisor. If you would like to work in a certain specialty, she encourages you to go for it. "If there was a certain area of the state I wanted to live in, I would put my application in, and within six months I would usually get a job offer." Debra adds, "It is a job that every hospital needs, so you can go any-where: hospitals, clinics—even x-ray mummies at a university."


Working with different types of technologically sophisticated equipment is a favorite aspect of her career. "There is a lot to do with computers and digital technology. More and more of imaging is going into PACS (Picture Archival Computer Systems)" so images will be put onto DVDs instead of film.


Having worked in both large city hospitals and smaller rural hospitals, Debra prefers the smaller ones. Currently she works at the Ells-worth County Medical Center in a town of 2300 in central Kansas. "I have found one of the best things about working in small hospitals is that I have become part of a family in the workplace." Debra feels that she wouldn’t enjoy working without that family atmosphere. She also likes rural hospitals because they don’t feel as hectic as urban facilities. "You have more control over what you do." The disadvantage in small hospitals is that you are on call more often. "You can get called at 2 AM. When you have kids, you have to have a support system so you can go in to work for emergencies."


Debra really enjoys being a part of the healthcare team. "Radiologic technologists use their skills to greatly assist physicians in diagnosing their patients. A single radiograph can change the course of the way the physician is treating the patient." Much of diagnostic imaging is operator-dependent. In sonography, it is the technologist’s responsibility to point out which abnormalities the physician needs to examine.

Debra gets a lot of meaning and satisfaction from working closely with the physicians to assist in diagnosis. She points out, "Most of our job is routine, but in a split second it can turn into a fast-paced emergency situation."


Working in diagnostic imaging is "almost like an artist at times the way you can demonstrate a human body. You learn skills to obtain radiographs without disturbing a broken leg and causing undue pain to a patient." Debra is very enthusiastic about her career. "It is one-on-one work with the patients. You never know what each new day will bring interesting cases, interesting people, and new experiences."


Note: A complete description of this career choice with resources is available in chapter four of the new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion.




  • Blood Bank Technologists
  • Clinical Chemistry Technologists
  • Cytotechnologists
  • Histology Technicians
  • Immunology Technologists
  • Medical Laboratory Techs
  • Medical Technologists
  • Microbiology Technologists
  • Phlebotomists


  • Analytical & Other Chemists
  • Materials Scientists
  • Crime Laboratory Analysts
  • Food Testers
  • Science Technicians
  • Veterinary Lab Technicians


Significant Points

  • Faster than average employment growth is expected as the volume of laboratory tests continues to increase with both population growth and the development of new types of tests.
  • Clinical laboratory technologists usually have a bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or in one of the life sciences; clinical laboratory technicians generally need either an associate degree or a certificate.
  • Job opportunities are expected to be excellent.
Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp


Nature of the Work

Clinical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Clinical laboratory technologists, also referred to as clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists, and clinical laboratory technicians, also known as medical technicians or medical laboratory technicians, perform most of these tests.

Clinical laboratory personnel examine and analyze body fluids and cells. They look for bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms; analyze the chemical content of fluids; match blood for transfusions; and test for drug levels in the blood to show how a patient is responding to treatment. Technologists also prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids. They use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of per-forming a number of tests simultaneously, as well as microscopes, cell counters, and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. Then they analyze the results and relay them to physicians. With increasing automation and the use of computer technology, the work of technologists and technicians has become less hands-on and more analytical.

The complexity of tests performed, the level of judgment needed, and the amount of responsibility workers assume depend largely on the amount of education and experience they have.

Clinical laboratory technologists perform complex chemical, bio-logical, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological tests. Technologists microscopically examine blood and other body flu-ids. They make cultures of body fluid and tissue samples, to determine the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites, or other microorganisms. Clinical laboratory technologists analyze samples for chemical content or a chemical reaction and determine concentrations of compounds such as blood glucose and cholesterol levels. They also type and cross match blood samples for transfusions.


Clinical laboratory technologists evaluate test results, develop and modify procedures, and establish and monitor programs, to ensure the accuracy of tests. Some technologists supervise clinical laboratory technicians.

Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests, whereas those in large laboratories generally specialize. Technologists who prepare specimens and analyze the chemical and hormonal con-tents of body fluids are called clinical chemistry technologists. Those who examine and identify bacteria and other microorganisms are microbiology technologists. Blood bank technologists, or immunohe-matology technologists, collect, type, and prepare blood and its components for transfusions. Immunology technologists examine elements of the human immune system and its response to foreign bodies. Cytotechnologists prepare slides of body cells and examine these cells microscopically for abnormalities that may signal the beginning of a cancerous growth. Molecular biology technologists perform complex protein and nucleic acid testing on cell samples.

Clinical laboratory technicians perform less complex tests and laboratory procedures than technologists perform. Technicians may prepare specimens and operate automated analyzers, for example, or they may perform manual tests in accordance with detailed instructions. Like technologists, they may work in several areas of the clinical laboratory or specialize in just one. Histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for microscopic examination by pathologists, and phlebotomists collect blood samples. They usually work under the supervision of medical and clinical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers.


Working Conditions

Hours and other working conditions of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians vary with the size and type of employment setting. In large hospitals or in independent laboratories that operate continuously, personnel usually work the day, evening, or night shift and may work weekends and holidays. Laboratory personnel in small facilities may work on rotating shifts, rather than on a regular shift. In some facilities, laboratory personnel are on call several nights a week or on weekends, in case of an emergency.

Clinical laboratory personnel are trained to work with infectious specimens. When proper methods of infection control and sterilization are followed, few hazards exist. Protective masks, gloves, and goggles are often necessary to ensure the safety of laboratory personnel.

Laboratories usually are well lighted and clean; however, specimens, solutions, and reagents used in the laboratory sometimes produce fumes. Laboratory workers may spend a great deal of time on their feet.



Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians held about 302,000 jobs in 2004. More than half of these jobs were in hospitals. Most of the remaining jobs were in offices of physicians and in medical and diagnostic laboratories. A small proportion were in educational services and in all other ambulatory health care services.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp


Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Educational Opportunities - Healthcare degree & certificate programs

The usual requirement for an entry-level position as a clinical laboratory technologist is a bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or in one of the life sciences; although it is possible to qualify through a combination of education, on-the-job, and specialized training. Universities and hospitals offer medical technology programs.

Bachelor’s degree programs in medical technology include courses in chemistry, biological sciences, microbiology, mathematics, and statistics, as well as specialized courses devoted to knowledge and skills used in the clinical laboratory. Many programs also offer or require courses in management, business, and computer applications. The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act requires technologists who perform highly complex tests to have at least an associate degree. 

Scholarships / Tuition Help

Medical and clinical laboratory technicians generally have either an associate degree from a community or junior college or a certificate from a hospital, a vocational or technical school, or one of the U.S. Armed Forces. A few technicians learn their skills on the job.

The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) fully accredits 469 programs for medical and clinical laboratory technologists, medical and clinical laboratory technicians, histotechnologists and histotechnicians, cytogenetic technologists, and diagnostic molecular scientists. NAACLS also approves 57 programs in phlebotomy and clinical assisting. Other nationally recognized accrediting agencies that accredit specific areas for clinical laboratory workers include the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed or registered. Information on licensure is available from state departments of health or boards of occupational licensing. Certification is a voluntary process by which a nongovernmental organization, such as a professional society or certifying agency, grants recognition to an individual whose professional competence meets prescribed standards. Widely accepted by employers in the health care industry, certification is a prerequisite for most jobs and often is necessary for advancement. Agencies certifying medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians include the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the American Medical Technologists, the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel, and the Board of Registry of the American Association of Bioanalysts. These agencies have different requirements for certification and different organizational sponsors.


Clinical laboratory personnel need good analytical judgment and the ability to work under pressure. Close attention to detail is essential, because small differences or changes in test substances or numerical readouts can be crucial for patient care. Manual dexterity and normal color vision are highly desirable. With the widespread use of automated laboratory equipment, computer skills are important. In addition, technologists in particular are expected to be good at problem solving.

Technologists may advance to supervisory positions in laboratory work or may become chief medical or clinical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers in hospitals. Manufacturers of home diagnostic testing kits and laboratory equipment and supplies seek experienced technologists to work in product development, marketing, and sales. A graduate degree in medical technology, one of the biological sciences, chemistry, management, or education usually speeds advancement. A doctorate is needed to become a laboratory director; however, federal regulation allows directors of moderately complex laboratories to have either a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, combined with the appropriate amount of training and experience. Technicians can become technologists through additional education and experience.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp


Job Outlook

Employment of clinical laboratory workers is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through the year 2014, as the volume of laboratory tests continues to increase with both population growth and the development of new types of tests.

Technological advances will continue to have two opposing effects on employment. On the one hand, new, increasingly powerful diagnostic tests will encourage additional testing and spur employment. On the other hand, research and development efforts targeted at simplifying routine testing procedures may enhance the ability of non-laboratory personnel—physicians and patients in particular—to perform tests now conducted in laboratories. Although hospitals are expected to continue to be the major employer of clinical laboratory workers, employment is expected to grow faster in medical and diagnostic laboratories, offices of physicians, and all other ambulatory health care services.

Although significant, job growth will not be the only source of opportunities. As in most occupations, many openings will result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or stop working for some other reason.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp



Median annual earnings of medical and clinical laboratory technologists were $45,730 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,740 and $54,310. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,240, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $63,120. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical and clinical laboratory technologists in May 2004 were as follows: General medical and surgical hospitals, $46,020; Medical and diagnostic laboratories, $45,840; Offices of physicians, $41,070.

Median annual earnings of medical and clinical laboratory technicians were $30,840 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,890 and $37,770. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,680. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical and clinical laboratory technicians in May 2004 were as follows: Colleges, universities, and professional schools, $32,410; General medical and surgical hospitals, $31,830; Offices of physicians, $29,620; Medical and diagnostic laboratories, $29,220; Other ambulatory health care services, $28,130.

According to the American Society for Clinical Pathology, median hourly wages of staff clinical laboratory technologists and technicians in 2003 varied by specialty and laboratory type as follows: Cytotechnoligists, $24.07 to $25.66; Histotechnologists, $19.22 to $20.50; Medical technologists, $19.00 to $20.40; Histotechnicians, $16.13 to $20.00; Medical laboratory technicians, $14.75 to $16.12; Phlebotomists, $10.50 to $11.13.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp


Resources for Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians (Partial Listing)

There are 171 total resources are presented in the paperback version of Health Care Job Explosion! 4th edition by Dennis V. Damp for this occupational group. Resources include Job Ads, Job Hotlines, Job Fairs, Placement services, Associations, Books, Directories and Internet (Web) Sites. Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 at your local bookstore or order through our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only).

ADVANCE Newsmagazines - 650 Park Avenue West, Box 61556, King of Prussia, PA 19406-0956; 800/355-1088. The web site http://www.advanceweb.com/ is packed with resources. Publishes ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals and ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory: free for professionals, many job ads.

American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) - 8101 Glenbrook Road, Bethesda, MD 20814-2749; 301/907-6977. Accredits blood banks and sponsors workshops. Web site allows you to view job ads, post your résumé and receive email job alerts. Provides networking for members through Special Interest Groups. http://www.aabb.org, aabb@aabb.org

American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) - Suite 202, 2101 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037; 800/892-1400, 202/857-0717. http://www.aacc.org, info@aacc.org Web site has a job center, career information, email networking and many other excellent resources.

American Medical Technologists ( AMT) - 710 Higgins Rd., Park Ridge, IL 60068, 847/823-5169. http://www.amt1.com The AMT provides certification for several laboratory careers. The Web site has a career center with job ads, scholarship information and a list of accredited schools.

American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), 6701 Democracy Blvd., Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20817; 301-657-2768. http://www.ascls.org, ascls@ascls.org Online Career Center to research information on many laboratory careers, find scholarship information, view job ads, post a résumé or receive email job alerts.

American Society for Clinical Pathology ( ASCP) - 2100 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612; 312/738-1336. http://www.ascp.org, info@ascp.org The ASCP has certification information. Their web site has career and scholarship information. Post your résumé, view job ads or request email job alerts.

American Society for Cytotechnology (ASCT) - 1500 Sunday Drive, Suite 102, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607; 919/861-5571; 800/948-3947. http://www.asct.com, info@asct.com Job ads and links to cytology information on web site.

American Society for Microbiology - 1752 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202/737-3600. http://www.asm.org. The ASM web site has career information and a minority mentoring program. Online you can read job ads, post a résumé and receive email job alerts.

Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) - 989 Old Eagle School Road, Suite 815, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087-1704; 610/995-9580. http://www.clma.org, support@clma.org  Career Opportunities section of the web site has job ads for management. technicians and technologists.

Laboratory Jobs on All Healthcare Jobs - Search job ads, post your résumé or receive email job alerts from a link on the main web page at http://www.allhealthcarejobs.com.

National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) - 4201 Northview Drive, Suite 502, Bowie, MD 20716-2604; 301/262-6221. http://www.nsh.org, histo@nsh.org Employment section of web site lists jobs. Request a free brochure on the profession or rent a video. Online directory of state societies, training programs and scholarship information.

Opportunities in Medical Technology Careers by Karen R. Karni, Hardcover, $14.95. Published by VGM Career Horizons, 1996.

Resume Writing Service -  Professionally package your health care resume for entry level, standard, and executive positions.



Other Occupations


The following health technologist occupations are featured in the all new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion!. Each of the following occupations are featured exactly like the clinical laboratory technologists and technicians occupational description on this page and includes resources for each listing. Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus $5.75 shipping with all major credit cards from our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only).