Technology is helping improve medical diagnostics, treatment, and care. If you want to contribute to these cutting-edge advances, a career in medical technology is for you. Jobs in the field are diverse, ranging from medical records specialists needing just a high school diploma to physician assistants needing an advanced degree.
Curious about the various medical technology jobs available? We’ve got you covered. Read on for a guide to getting into medical technology, plus an overview of some top med tech job titles on Handshake right now.
Is medical technology a good career path for you?
The medical technology field offers a lot of promise. Top jobs, like clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, are anticipated to grow at a rate of 7% through 2031. In general, the health care industry is growing at a rate of 13%.
But is medical technology the right career path for you? Here are some skills you should have if you want to go this route:
- Friendly. A lot of medical tech jobs, like sonography and radiography, require direct patient contact. A personable bedside manner is a must.
- Team player. Medical technology professionals work with doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other med tech experts to provide the best patient care. Teamwork is a must.
- Detail-oriented. A lot of med tech jobs require keen attention to detail. For example, a medical assistant or physician’s assistant must keep careful patient records.
- Leadership skills. Good leadership abilities are a must if you want to advance in the medical technology field. For example, you could work as a clinical laboratory scientist, overseeing more junior medical or clinical lab technicians.
Best degrees for medical technology
Medical technology careers usually require a science degree and hands-on health care experience. Here are some degree options that can help you get a gig:
- High school diploma. It’s true: You don’t need a college degree to work in med tech. Medical records specialists can enter the field with just a high school diploma.
- Science. Science fields like biology, chemistry, and biochemistry can pave the path toward careers like medical laboratory technician, medical assistant, physician’s assistant, or medical lab technologist. Biomedical engineering is another option.
- Specialty certifications. On top of a Bachelor of Science degree, special certifications can open more doors. For example, sonographers need a certificate in diagnostic medical sonography, while surgical technicians must be certified by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
Industries where you can build a medical tech career
Medical technology jobs are available in diverse health care settings, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab care facilities. Don’t feel like dealing with patients? You can also work in laboratories, for example, for government research institutes or private pharmaceutical companies.
Scroll down for a list of companies hiring in med tech on Handshake.
Top 10 entry-level jobs in medical technology
If you think a medical technology job is for you, you’ve got many options. Here are some popular entry-level career paths.
1. Clinical laboratory scientist
Clinical laboratory scientists, also called medical laboratory scientists, may work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, or diagnostic labs. They take samples, like body fluids and tissues, and analyze them to support medical diagnostics. A clinical laboratory scientist generally has more education than a medical or clinical laboratory technician and can perform more complex lab work and analyses.
Average salary: $70,649 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in medical technology or clinical laboratory science preferred; bachelor’s degree in a science- or health-related field like microbiology or chemistry also possible
- National certification as a clinical laboratory scientist (CLS) or medical laboratory scientist (MLS)
- Leadership skills
- Good project management skills
- Excellent communication abilities
2. Medical laboratory technician
Medical laboratory technologists often work under the supervision of clinical laboratory scientists. They perform ordinary tasks, like collecting and processing samples, while clinical laboratory scientists may do more in-depth analyses, report writing, and results presentations.
Average salary: $47,850 per year
- Associate degree in microbiology, chemistry, or similar
- National certification as a medical technologist (MT) preferable for most medical technologist jobs
- Good project management skills
- Multitasking abilities
3. Radiologic technologist
Health care professionals use imaging tools like X-rays to diagnose various ailments, from broken bones to cancer. Radiologic technologists are the individuals responsible for taking and reviewing these images. They deal with patients directly.
Average salary: $64,801 per year
- Complete a two-year radiologic technology program
- Pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) radiography exam
- Keen eye for detail
- Good bedside manner
4. Medical lab technologist
Medical laboratory technologists are similar to medical laboratory technicians. They both work in labs and perform duties like preparing lab equipment, analyzing biological samples, and recording test results. However, a medical laboratory technologist is slightly more advanced, performing more complicated tests and analyses. They may also supervise other team members.
Average salary: $58,001 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in microbiology, chemistry, biology, or similar
- National certification as a medical technologist (MT)
- Leadership abilities
- Attention to detail
- Project management abilities
5. MRI technologist
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners are used in medical diagnostics. MRI technologists help take MRI images, ensuring patient comfort and good-quality images. They may also administer contrast solutions by IV, enter patient data into tech systems, and explain MRI procedures.
Average salary: $80,090 per year
- Associate in MRI technology or radiography
- Certification from the ARRT preferred
- Friendly and compassionate
- Clear communicator
- Good time management
6. Surgical technician
Surgical technicians or technologists assist surgeons and nurses in the operating room. They may sterilize equipment, prep patients for surgery, gather and count surgical tools and equipment, and help keep the operating room sterile.
Average salary: $50,600 per year
- Associate degree, plus a specialized surgical technologist training program (two-year programs combine the associate and surgical tech certification, and one-year programs cover surgical tech if you already have an associate degree)
- Certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) preferred
- Highly organized
- Keen eye for detail
- Team player
7. Medical records specialist
Organizations like hospitals, physicians’ practices, nursing homes, and rehab centers must collect, secure, and organize extensive patient data. Medical records specialists help compile and process patient files and ensure safe storage.
Average salary: $46,660 per year
- High school diploma minimum; associate degree or equivalent in medical records preferable
- Highly organized
- Good communication skills
8. Medical assistant
Medical assistants may work in clinics, hospitals, rehab centers, behavioral health clinics, and physician’s offices. They handle administrative and clinical tasks, from taking patient records to taking blood pressure.
Average salary: $39,003 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry
- Certification like Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CMAC)
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Friendly bedside manner
9. Physician assistant
Physician assistants are health care providers licensed to diagnose and treat patients and prescribe medications. They might work in hospitals, outpatient medical centers, doctor’s offices, clinics, rehab facilities, and nursing homes.
Average salary: $116,162 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in biology, neuroscience, chemistry, or similar, plus graduation from an accredited Physicians Assistant (PA) program
- Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) for licensure
- Great eye for detail
- Excellent time management
Sonography equipment uses sound waves to create images of body parts, known as ultrasounds. Diagnostic medical sonographers are responsible for administering this equipment and creating and analyzing ultrasound scans. You probably know them as the people who create ultrasounds for pregnant women, but it’s also possible to create ultrasounds of the heart and other organs.
Average salary: $80,500 per year
- Associate or bachelor’s degree in the sciences
- Certificate in diagnostic medical sonography
- Ability to multitask
Find medical technology jobs on Handshake
Medical technology is a constantly evolving field, with new opportunities always popping up. There’s truly something for everyone. If you thrive in high-pressure environments, ER tech jobs might be your calling. A job like medical lab technician might be the right fit if you like things more low-key.
If the thought of being on the cutting edge of health care innovation excites you, it’s a field worth exploring. With Handshake, getting your first job in the field is easy. Create your profile and set up job alerts. Both full-time and part-time opportunities are available, plus internships.