Medical Technology Programs
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Healthcare is expected to add two million jobs between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022)—more than any other occupational grouping. Demand for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is expected to increase 7 percent by 2031, which is significantly more than the expected average for all careers (5 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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A Guide to Health Information (HI) ProfessionalsJune 2, 2023
Health information can include anything from basic patient information like a home address and date of birth to highly detailed treatment courses or diagnostic information about a particular disease or ailment. The information generated through the increased and ever-increasing digitization of medical data already fills thousands of servers worldwide. Still, for it to be useful, it must be categorized, sorted, and evaluated.
While much of the discussion about the rapidly advancing pace of technological innovation over the past several decades has focused on communication technologies such as broadband internet, smartphones, and related products, the medical field has seen a similar wave of disruption brought on by new technologies. Among the areas in which technology has led to major changes in medicine is in the field of diagnostics.
Administrative costs account for up to a quarter of all US health expenditures, with billing coding costs being one of the top drivers (JAMA 2021). Staffing shortages and coding complexity have worsened matters. But major breakthroughs in automating aspects of the medical coding process may point toward a long-term solution. Already, some provider organizations have implemented autonomous coding in high-volume outpatient specialties such as radiology, pathology, emergency medicine, urgent care, and primary care.
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.
Audiologist & SLP
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for speech-language pathologists will increase by 21 percent between 2021 and 2031, making speech-language pathology one of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation. Audiology is forecasted to grow 10 percent over the same timeframe, a rate that’s twice as fast as the national average (5 percent). Together, both professions have a big role to play in a nation with a rapidly aging population.
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. To start work as a cardiovascular technologist, some background education is necessary. The most prevalent degree program for this field culminates in an associate of science (AS) or an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and takes two years to complete. However, there is an increasing number of cardiovascular technology schools that offer bachelor of science degrees (BS) in cardiovascular technology.
The employment outlook in the U.S. for dental assistants is strong, with faster than average job growth projected; in fact, there’s an 11 percent increase in openings nationally predicted between 2020 and 2030.
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.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
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.
Hearts produce electrical signals recorded through an electrocardiogram (EKG). Trained EKG technicians place electrode patches on a patient’s chest, legs, and arms. While most EKGs are done while a patient is resting, some may be done while a patient is exercising. While this is a painless and quick procedure, EKG technicians must be skilled at their job to ensure accurate results.
EMT & Paramedic
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.
According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, medical assistants 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; greeting patients; coding medical information; processing billing and bookkeeping; coordinating services with other healthcare providers; recording medical histories; collecting lab samples; cleaning examination rooms; and doing basic lab tests.
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.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Becoming a nuclear medicine technologist (NMT) is a unique career for people with technical precision and supportive and pleasant bedside manners. This job leverages a savviness with cutting-edge medical equipment and medicine to treat patients undergoing radiology and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Learn to operate equipment like computed tomography (CT) machines, radiation-sensitive cameras, and dosage meters to help 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.
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 Therapist Assistant & Aide
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.
Psychiatric & Mental Health Technician
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.
Dental Lab Technician
As the profession's name may imply, dental lab technicians 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 Assistant
Medical laboratory assistants are critical members of the healthcare system. They strike a balance of medical care, technology, and science as they are responsible for interacting with patients but also must be able to help a lab run smoothly. Typical duties can include taking blood, gathering specimens, preparing samples for testing, running routine tests, sterilizing equipment, and recording results.
Medical Lab Technician
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.
Because biomedical science explores 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.
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.
Medical Laboratory Scientist
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.
Nutritionist & Dietitian
Nutritionists do more than help people manage chronic health conditions. People seek nutritional help for various health-related reasons, such as addressing digestive problems, athletic performance, and preparing healthy meals for family members. Nutritionists with master’s or doctoral degrees may specialize in nutritional health and are positioned to earn higher salaries in leadership or supervisory roles.
Pathologists’ Assistant (PathA)
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.
The most common majors for pre-vet degree programs are animal science, biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. Many schools also offer specializations, concentrations, and emphases in pre-veterinary science, on top of the awarded degree.
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.
Biomedical Equipment Technician
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 Management
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
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 Billing & Coding
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 Technician
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.