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Best Degrees for a Career in Medical Technology

People working in the field of medical technology--whether as clinical laboratory technicians or technologists, radiologic technologists, laboratory managers, or researchers--perform critical medical work, often behind the scenes, that physicians depend upon to make accurate diagnoses and administer treatment.

If a career in medical technology interests you, knowing the best degree for the job you aspire to can help you choose the right degree path.

Top Degrees for Technicians

Technicians working in medical technology, including radiologic technicians, clinical laboratory technicians, sonographers, phlebotomists, and histotechnicians, generally perform basic tests and laboratory procedures. If you want to be a competitive job applicant and have little or no work experience, consider an associate's degree, the top college degree for technicians. The best degree programs are approved by a national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Best Degree Programs for Technologists

Many technicians are supervised by technologists, who generally have more experience--and education. Technicians seeking to become technologists or students wanting to enter the medical technology profession with a higher level of responsibility may want to consider a bachelor's degree in medical technology or one of the life sciences, which is generally the best college degree for:

  • Clinical laboratory technologists
  • Cytotechnologists
  • Histotechnologists
  • Immunology technologists
  • Medical technologists
  • Microbiology technologists
  • Molecular biology technologists

Many of these specialties also require that you complete an approved training program in your specialization.

Top Degrees in Medical Technology at a Master's Level

Many medical technology jobs are located in laboratories, some of which are large and employ people with varying levels of responsibility. If you work in a laboratory, advancing your career may require a combination of work experience and education, such as master's degrees.

Some of the top degree programs relating to medical technology include:

  • MS in Medical Technology. This degree can provide a foundation for advanced degrees in medicine or science, or for a career in medical technology-related fields. Common specializations include chemistry, hematology, and microbiology.
  • MS in Clinical Laboratory Science. Sometimes interchangeable with an MS in Medical Technology, this degree can prepare students for positions in supervision and management, clinical research, or teaching.
  • MS in Radiologic Science. This degree can prepare students to work in radiologic administration, radiologic education, and as radiologic assistants.

Furthermore, some professionals choose to pursue master's degrees in the life sciences, another top degree option for laboratory professionals.

Doctorates Are the Best Degrees for Researchers and Directors

Doctoral degrees offer the highest level of education for those in the medical technology field. Laboratory directors, for example, often hold a PhD in laboratory science or related field. A PhD in science or engineering, on the other hand, can prepare students to develop advanced medical devices and diagnostic equipment. Doctoral degrees in the life sciences are often chosen by students who aspire to become researchers or professors.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical technology could be a solid career choice. For example, jobs for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are expected to grow by 14 percent from 2008 through 2018, faster than the average for all occupations.

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