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How to Become a Medical Technologist

By an allied health world contributing writer

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What steps do I take to become a medical technologist?

  1. Job shadow other medical technologists in both a lab and hospital setting to gain a thorough understanding of the job and to learn which setting you’d prefer to work in.
  2. Enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in medical technology.
  3. After graduating from a medical technology program and finishing the required clinical hours, sit for the Medical Technology Board Exam offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
  4. After passing the board exam and earning the Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) credential, apply for state licensure if applicable (only a few states have this requirement)
  5. Find a job in the field as a medical tech.
  6. Complete the necessary continuing education requirements of 30 credits every three years.


According to Medical Technologist Becky Brtva, “That’s one of the things I really like about this field is that you definitely have that How to become a medical technologistfulfillment of helping a patient with their treatment, especially when there are days that you are incremental in saving that person’s life. Even if you’re not at the bedside you still reap the benefits by helping them. Every day I go back because I’m doing something to help someone with a diagnosis or help them get treated.”

What personality traits would make someone a good fit for this profession?

To succeed as a medical technologist one must be organized, able to multitask, and have excellent critical thinking skills. In this profession, depending on the shift assigned, one may spend most of their time working independently. This can be a profession with a high amount of pressure so MTs must be able to use sound judgment and have excellent problem solving skills.

What are the benefits of a job in this field?

While this field does not involve a lot of patient contact, and is more of a “behind the scenes” healthcare profession, the work medical technologists do has a direct effect on people. With every result they turn around, there is a person attached to it. This valuable information they provide determines the course of treatment or the type of medication prescribed by a physician.

Are there any current hot topics in the field?

With the swine flu creating such an epidemic in this country and the world, there is a lot of molecular diagnostics surrounding this to determine how to better test and treat it. Also, there is currently talk in the field of a possible HIV vaccine in the future. Other topics of discussion in this field focus on the ability to test for and examine bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens on the genetic (DNA) level.

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