Medical Technology Programs
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Healthcare is expected to add 2.4 million jobs between 2019 and 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)—more than any other occupational grouping. Demand for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is expected to increase 7 percent by 2029, which is nearly double the average for all careers (4 percent). Better access to health insurance and advances in technology are making once-expensive tests and procedures affordable, and the aging Baby Boomer generation is requiring more of them. Furthermore, hospitals and other healthcare facilities generally pay less for the expertise of a technologist than they would for a registered nurse or physician, making these technologist roles economically desirable for employers. Discover what to expect from a medical technologist program, which is relatively affordable and shorter in duration than the education required for many other roles in the thriving healthcare sector.
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Medical assistants play a vital role in the healthcare industry, providing services for both medical professionals and patients. They can assist with basic medical tasks such as taking vital signs, administering medications per a physician’s orders, or gathering medical history. They also help on the office side of medical clinics by scheduling appointments, billing insurance, and processing paperwork.
Each day, over 4.5 million nursing assistants provide 80 to 90 percent of the direct care received by residents and clients in America’s long-term care facilities. This may include taking vital signs and helping residents with skincare, eating, bathing, and other daily activities; in certain states, it may involve dispensing medication.
The most commonly obtained certification through the DANB is that of the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). Applicants must pass three individual exams to receive a CDA certification through the DANB, which includes the General Chairside Assisting (GC) exam, the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, and the Infection Control (ICE) exam. Learn about how to become a DANB-certified dental assistant, including information about education, testing, and certification.
Patient-Facing Technology Programs
Many, if not most, roles in medical technology offer extensive patient interaction, combining technical mastery with patient empathy and care. For example, phlebotomists draw blood from patients and must not only have the requisite skills to do that safely and effectively, but also must be able to calm and reassure anxious patients who are uncomfortable with the process. Each of these technology programs incorporates a hands-on, practical component to prepare students not only to apply their technological expertise, but also to become comfortable working in a healthcare environment, delivering care to patients in need.
Anesthesia technicians work in fast-paced environments where they play a critical role in saving and improving lives. Learn more about what it takes to become an anesthesia technician and discover the programs that can help you get there.
Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in the medical complexities of communication. Audiologists focus on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of hearing and balance problems. Speech-language pathologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of speech, language, and swallowing disorders.
The human heart is a powerful organ. Cardiovascular technologists deploy technology to identify and diagnose heart-related issues, and can begin work with as little as one year of intensive training. Find out if you have the heart to work in the field.
The requirements to become a dental assistant vary across states. While some call for these professionals to graduate from a program accredited by the ADA’s Commission on Dental Education (CODA) and seek credentialing as a registered or certified dental assistant, others have less stringent academic stipulations and necessitate on-the-job training instead.
In addition to completing a dental hygiene program at an ADA-accredited school, aspiring hygienists must pass state exams on how to provide dental hygiene and education to patients, and (in most states) must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well. Upon receiving their license, hygienists become Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH's) and qualify to enter this high-growth occupation.
Sonographers (i.e., ultrasound technicians) work closely with trained physicians in capturing and interpreting sonographic images. The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) adds that by using high-frequency sound waves to elucidate structures such as organs or blood flow patterns, practitioners get deeper insights into whether a person’s body is functioning properly.
There are many good reasons to pursue a career in healthcare, but perhaps none is so noble as wanting to spend your career helping others live a happier, healthier life. As a dialysis technician, a position also referred to as a hemodialysis technician; you can truly make a difference in the lives of those with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. It is a career in high demand, as the population in the United States continues to age and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, a significant risk factor for kidney disease, continues to climb.
A career as an EMT begins with emergency medical technician training. Most programs only require that students be 18 years of age with either a high school diploma or a GED. EMT courses can take a few months, depending on the school and schedule, and include both classroom and practical instruction on the basics of anatomy, trauma care, and emergency management. At the end of the training, new EMTs are eligible to take the exam given by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Upon passing the exam, candidates are awarded a nationally recognized certification.
The entire field of kinesiology (exercise science) is dedicated to examining how people move, how movement affects wellbeing, and how to help people move better. This broad field encompasses a variety of different careers, including fitness trainers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other movement-related professions. Kinesiologists are employed at hospitals, clinics, gyms, rehab centers, and long term care facilities to help patients and clients reach their mobility and fitness goals.
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) reports that these professionals typically work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers. They’re responsible for both clinical and administrative tasks, taking on varied responsibilities such as answering phones; managing appointment schedules; maintaining patient records; and even drawing blood or helping with simple procedures.
MRI technologists are in high demand. Find schools that offer accredited MRI technologist programs, learn how to get certified, and discover what the career outlook is for this exciting and advanced technology career.
Most aspiring neurodiagnostic technicians (NDTs) opt to pursue two-year AAS degrees, although seasoned healthcare professionals may pursue a shorter certification program instead. Both certification and degree programs prepare students to perform neurological scans, capture brain information, and analyze it in order to help those with neurological disorders.
Learn to operate equipment like computed tomography (CT) machines, radiation-sensitive cameras, and dosage meters to help both young and old patients get the care they need for potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Ophthalmic technicians have completed training and education in patient care, eye care, eye anatomy, and lens dispensing. They are critical to the smooth running of an eye care clinic as they prepare patients for meeting with the physician by administering basic tests and taking patient health histories. In some offices, ophthalmic technicians may also assist with procedures.
For better or worse, pharmaceuticals are increasingly relied upon to treat and cure what ails us. As pharmaceutical companies continue to innovate, and the population continues to age, demand for prescription medication continues to rise. Pharmacy technicians are uniquely positioned to serve this demand, and in a matter of months aspiring pharmacy techs can be certified to assist pharmacists in measuring and distributing essential medications to patients in need.
Phlebotomy programs tend to be year-long programs, although that may vary by school and state. A handful of states require certification as well, which generally entails not only completing an accredited program from a phlebotomy school, but also gaining some clinical experience (e.g., externship), and then taking a certification exam involving a written portion and a practical component to demonstrate efficacy at drawing blood.
Physical therapy is the treatment of injuries, disorders, and other issues by using non-surgical methods, such as massage, heat treatment, exercises, assistive equipment (such as walkers), and more. Accordingly, PTAs and PT aides may work with patients of all ages and abilities.
Learn how you can help mental health patients and the developmentally disabled as a psychiatric or mental health technician. While the field is not projected to grow too quickly, those projections may change as more Americans gain access to healthcare that covers mental health treatment.
Radiation therapists help patients who are undergoing radiation therapy by explaining procedures, calibrating machinery to proper doses, and ensure that everyone is safe from improper levels of exposure. Students who complete a program that qualifies them for certification through the American Registry of Radiology Technologists (ARRT) must have completed at minimum an associate’s degree in any field and an educational program in radiation therapy.
These radiologic professionals may specialize in various methods and types of treatment, including radiation therapy, medical dosimetry, mammography, bone densitometry, cardiovascular-interventional radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, or sonography.
Respiratory therapy students have several educational options: they may begin with an accredited two-year associate degree, which allows them to receive the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) certification, complete a four-year degree and attain the higher Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) designation, or even pursue a master’s degree in Respiratory Management or Education.
Surgical technologists (STs), or "scrubs", are an integral part of a surgical team that also includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, and registered nurses. Amongst other responsibilities, STs are commonly responsible for preparing operating rooms and handing tools and instruments to surgical assistants and surgeons.
Laboratory Technology programs
Not all medical technology programs focus on preparing you to work directly with patients (although all positions are ultimately aimed at working towards the best outcomes for those patients). Some programs focus more on preparing you for laboratory work. These programs incorporate practical experience in real laboratory environments with a focus on applying medical technology to diagnose illnesses, run routine lab tests, and even help with important medical research.
Many students interested in cytotechnology decide in college to complete a bachelor’s degree in cytotechnology while others get degrees in related disciplines and then complete a post-baccalaureate cytotechnology certificate. Aspiring cytogenetic technologists may have to complete a more rigorous course of study to be able to delve more deeply into whether DNA or chromosomal structures genetically predispose patients for specific conditions.
As the name of the profession may imply, dental lab technicians actually work in laboratories, where they help to create restorative devices for individuals’ teeth. The role involves a high degree of precision and attention to detail. The dental lab tech programs profiled help prepare students who are so inclined for entry into the career.
In the histotechnology field, educational options range from histotechnician (HT) or histology technician programs, which are typically certificate or associate degree programs, to bachelor's degree programs for aspiring histotechnologists (HTLs), or even master's degree programs for more advanced histological study.
Medical lab technicians, or MLTs, conduct a variety of lab tests that can help with the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of various conditions and diseases. While MLTs typically need to complete a two-year associate degree program to obtain entry-level work in the field, some fast-track programs may be available to students who have already received training in a related healthcare field, such as nursing.
Natural & Clinical Lab Science Programs
If you prefer the hands-on thrill of scientific discovery over administrative functions, you can consider an academic program in fields such as biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, clinical and medical lab science, or health sciences. Natural and clinical laboratory scientists push the frontiers of what’s known about observable phenomena and serve an invaluable role in scientific investigations, medical diagnoses, and the overall advancement of knowledge.
With a degree in biology or biochemistry, one can have a significant impact on the physical world as well as improve the everyday lives of thousands of people. Many students who major in biology or biochemistry for their undergraduate degree may plan to go on to become doctors, scientists, or researchers.
Biomedical science explores the knowledge, practices, and technologies related to diagnosing, analyzing, and treating disease. The number of specializations and practical applications of a biomedical science degree are vast.
Depending on each student's career path, aspirations, professional experience, academic background, and time-commitment, students can choose to enroll in a bachelor's or master's program in biotechnology that can be completed online, on-campus, or as a hybrid of both.
A bachelor's degree is typically required to pursue a career as a medical laboratory scientist, and there are MLS programs available in states ranging from Washington to Vermont, as well as online programs specifically developed to help the working MLT become an MLS.
Health science includes a multitude of healthcare specialties and subspecialties, including biotechnology research and development, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services, and therapeutic services, among many other subfields.
Nutritionists help people improve their health, save money, and live longer, healthier, and happier lives. Read on to learn more about degree programs, career outlook, and required certifications to become a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
Pathologists’ assistants have a deep understanding of human anatomy and diseases. Through education and training, they learned specialized clinical skills to assist in autopsies and examinations.
Medical IT & Administrative Programs
If you would prefer to focus your education on medical information technology or medical equipment technology rather than treatment and diagnosis, then consider one of these medical IT or equipment-centric programs. Medical IT and administrative technology programs focus on preparing students to manage technology and medical information and in some cases prepare or maintain it. In the end, even these very technology-focused roles have a medical aim, which is to facilitate and ensure the delivery of superior patient care.
Working with machinery may call to mind the idea of loud warehouses or greasy garages. The world of biomedical technicians, although also focused on machinery repair and maintenance, is generally much more sterile. Studying to become a biomedical technician is a great way to use your mechanical knowledge to improve the lives of patients while working closely with other medical personnel in an exciting healthcare environment.
A healthcare informatics degree program equips students to gather healthcare information, manage different healthcare computer programs, and monitor medical records to ensure that they remain secure. American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the most prestigious and well-known licensing body for healthcare informatics, and they provide students with a standardized test to demonstrate their mastery of the field.
Health information managers often work closely with information technology staff as well as clinical staff to ensure workflows that maximize the efficacy of data collection. Health information managers are able to weigh in on how to improve patient outcomes as well as clinical efficiency by analyzing the data available to them and applying their knowledge.
Health information technology as field is booming due not only to the aging of the population, but also to the complexity of medical records compliance, accuracy, and security. Learn more about the educational programs that help prepare you to enter this growing field.
Healthcare administration is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States. With a large aging population and increased access to healthcare with the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the field of healthcare administration is predicted to grow rapidly in the next ten years.
Medical billers and coders ensure that health services, diagnoses, and clinical procedures are recorded properly in patients’ health records. Their important work requires a thorough and working knowledge of the unique codes used for patient care, insurance, and billing documentation.
Nursing informatics programs prepare students to manage complex healthcare delivery systems, integrating nursing and science with communication and information technology.
Sterile processing technicians assist in preparing, sterilizing, and distributing medical instruments and devices so that contagion is contained and medical supplies are free of contamination. Sterile processing tech programs generally culiminate in a certificate, and in some cases include a clinical internship for real-world training.