Medical Lab Technologists

The role of medical lab technologists (MTs) is evolving as technology such as genetic testing advances. With an aging workforce, it is also anticipated that there will be an increasing number of Western Massachusetts job openings in the coming years.

Medical lab technologists discover the presence or absence of disease and provide data that helps physicians determine the best treatment for the patient.  They perform complex medical tests for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

Medical lab technologists and medical lab technicians have many similar responsibilities, but because technologists have more education, they conduct more advanced testing. Technologists also are more likely to advance to management positions.

Medical lab technologists:

  • Use high technology equipment to test and diagnose patients
  • Use skilled manual techniques to examine and analyze standard complex and specialized medical tests
  • Ensure test accuracy by evaluating results for accuracy and helping to interpret them for the physician

Employment opportunities include:

  • Hospitals
  • Diagnostic labs
  • Clinical labs

Education and training requirements

There are several pathways to become a medical technologist. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and then complete an accredited post-baccalaureate in clinical lab science or medical technology program. You can also obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited medical technology program (Note: Western Mass does not have this type of program).  Please see the American Society for Clinical Pathology overview for more information about lab pathways.  Regardless of your educational pathway, all MTs must pass a certification exam.

Laboratory technicians and technologists are also expected to have:

  • Up-to-date knowledge of laboratory technology
  • Training in chemistry, biology, mathematics and statistics
  • Good communication skills
  • Work well in teams
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Western MA Fast Facts

  • Workers in Pioneer Valley: 300
  • Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree
  • Entry Level Wage:$28/hour
  • Experienced Wage:$37/hour
  • Learn more at VCN.org
Technologists and technicians are different words for the same job.
A
True
B
False
Question 1 Explanation: 
False. Technologists get to perform more advanced procedures and tests because they have more education.