Medical Technology Programs
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Healthcare is expected to add 2.3 million jobs to the economy through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than any other occupational grouping. Demand for medical technologists and technicians is expected to increase 16% by 2024, which is in line with the projected growth for healthcare overall (19%), and significantly faster than the average for all careers (7%). Better access to health insurance and advances in technology are making once-expensive tests and procedures affordable, and the baby boomer generation is aging and requiring more of them. Furthermore, hospitals and other healthcare facilities generally have to 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. Combine this demand with the relatively short duration and affordability of most medical technologist educational programs, and you have the perfect storm of opportunity that is medical technology.
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.
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.
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.
As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you can help diagnose many different types of medical ailments by taking sophisticated, detailed images of organs and internal systems, and then working with physicians to interpret them. Most ultrasound technician programs are two-year associate degree programs, with options to specialize further in areas like pediatric sonography. Projected job growth for the field, through 2022, is a staggering 46%, one of the highest numbers in medicine today.
Kidney patients often struggle to live healthy lives. Find work as a dialysis technician and you will be able to help those with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal failure to live as comfortably as possible. Complete the necessary training in as little as one semester.
If you have ever dreamed of the thrill of saving lives for a career, consider training to become an emergency medical technician, or EMT. With the right courses, EMTs can start work in just a few months. Learn more about the requirements to become an EMT.
With the expected number of practicing medical assistants expecting to grow from 560,000 to over 720,000 by 2022, it would behoove those considering healthcare as a career to take a look, and understand the educational requirements required to enter the field.
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 2-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.
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.
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.
With an average salary of almost $80,000 per year, radiation therapy is one of the best-paying healthcare technology occupations in the U.S. Not only that, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this field will grow by 24% over the next eight years – much faster than the national average. Although it is a well-paying and captivating field, entry requires significant educational and clinical investment. Fortunately, there are several high-quality, low-tuition schools that provide flexible ways to meet these stringent requirements.
Radiologic technology is a burgeoning field, in which the number of jobs may grow from 199,200 (2012) to 240,800 by 2022, according to the BLS. Aspiring technologists armed with an associate degree from an ARRT-accredited program qualify to sit for a certification exam and, should they pass, may enter this promising field where demand is strong and the median salary hovers around $55,200.
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. Since most surgical technologist programs are designed to take two years or less to complete, and since there are several career paths leading from ST to other more advanced healthcare professions like registered nursing, surgical technology may well be worth considering as an entry point into the healthcare field.
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.
University of Cincinnati
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.
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.
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.
Southern New Hampshire University
University of Saint Mary
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. Demand for health information technicians appears strong, as the field is projected to experience brisk growth (22%, as compared to 11% for all careers) through 2022, according to the BLS.
A healthcare information management degree program equips students to gather healthcare information, manage different healthcare computer programs, and monitor medical records to ensure that they remain secure. Demand for health information management professionals appears strong, as the health information field broadly is projected to grow 22% through 2012, and employers are having 27% more difficulty filling their open health information manager and director positions than they are other positions, according to a 2014 Burning Glass report.
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.
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.
New on MTS
While some aspiring health information management (HIM) professionals pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree on campus, others are turning to distance-based programs. Online health information management degrees can be convenient for working professionals; military personnel; and those living in remote locations.
Much more than filing clerks, registered health information technicians have been called “the brains” of modern medicine because they’re the ones charged with gathering and storing all the moving parts—from insurance codes to billing information to medical terminology—and also filtering out unneeded info.
According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), RTs operate x-rays, CAT scans, and other equipment to assist physicians in making accurate diagnoses. Learn more about online and hybrid programs designed to prepare RTs to enter or advance in the field.
Articles & Interviews
These resource lists, interviews with experts in the field, and focused “how to become” roadmaps for aspiring medical professionals provide eye-opening overviews of the possibilities in medical technology:
Meet the Professors
For prospective students in subfields of medical technology, finding the best professors in one’s field can be a challenge. Using criteria such as number of publications, active thought leadership (e.g., speaking engagements and public relations), and extracurricular involvement, MTS has created qualified, curated lists of top university professors across a range of medical disciplines:
Medical Career Guides
These resource-rich guides provide studies of careers in fields such as healthcare information technology (IT), diagnostic imaging, and medical equipment repair. With research-based particulars such as salary data, projected job growth in the U.S., and necessary certifications, these can serve as a starting point for students interested in specific sectors of medical technology:
Certification & Salary Information
Staff at MTS are regularly updating certification and salary information across careers in medical technology. These in-depth pieces leverage data from reputable sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), established professional organizations, and licensing boards across the country: