Many jobs in the medical field require a background in medical technology. A med tech is, generally speaking, someone who has been certified to perform basic medical tests. Some med techs opt to take on a more scientific role, typically referred to as a lab tech, and work in a laboratory setting. Med techs can also be medical technicians or medical technologists, though there is a distinction made between these two similar-sounding positions. It is typically understood that med techs work directly under medical technologists and that, because of their extra responsibilities, requires more schooling. As a med tech, you have many options available in terms of what you can do. Here are five med tech jobs that also offer several lines of specialization within their respective fields.
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
As an EMT, you might work for a fire department, ambulance service, or hospital. As EMTs are often the first to respond to medical emergencies, you would be the first one to look at a patient and would be responsible for getting the patient transported safely back to the hospital. EMTs require licensure at a state and, often times, national level. There are three designations available to you in this career path: EMT, EMT-B and Paramedical.
Your role as a dental hygienist would principally be assisting dentists during dental procedures, performing x-rays, and performing cleanings.Though you would be in the dental field, you'd still be considered a med tech. The dental field is beginning to categorize dental hygienists, dental assistants and x-ray techs as "dental techs" instead of med techs, but they still fall under the med tech category at present.
The radiology tech is another position that encompasses many potential career paths. You could expect to work specifically with X-rays in medical or dental environments, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasounds, or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, specific fields may be explored that can even lead to a career in nuclear medicine and diagnostic medical technology.
The lab technician is the person most people think about when they hear the words "med tech." As a lab tech, you can expect to draw blood, perform tests and run high-tech equipment behind closed doors. Except for the possibility of collected fluid samples, you would not see patients much.
In most cases, those that work on the equipment are technologists and those collecting fluid samples are technicians, but this depends on the need of the medical facility.
Surgical technicians are trained specifically to work in an operating room environment. As a surgery tech, you would do everything from ordering supplies to prepping patients and operating personnel for surgery. You can eventually become first assistant, which will place you at the operating table, assisting the surgeon and, in some cases, assisting with bandaging or stitching of the patients post-op.
There are many other jobs in the medical field that fall under the med tech category. Although you would have very different duties in each job, you would always play an essential role in the medical community, acting as the eyes, ears and hands of doctors, dentists and surgeons.