A gastrointestinal technician (GI) assists a nurse or a doctor in GI procedures, such as esophagogastroduodenoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, bronchoscopies, and endoscopic ultrasound. The technician also performs tool and equipment maintenance. Once certified, the job outlook for this profession is good, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Procedures that the GI technician may perform, under the supervision of a doctor, include the placing of stents, liver biopsies, balloon dilating, fine needle aspirations, and cannulating.
The technician is responsible for tool and equipment setup prior to an exam and the cleanup and maintenance of equipment after an exam, according to the policies stated by the Society for Gastrointestinal Nurses and Associates. If any equipment must be sent out for repair, the GI technician is responsible for filing a repair report and ensuring that the work is performed.
The GI technician must exhibit strong interpersonal communication and team-working skills. The ability to thrive in a fast-paced and sometimes stressful environment is essential.
Education and Work Experience
A GI technician must be a nursing assistant certified by the state board or be a medical assistant certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants.
At least one year of GI/Pulmonary work experience is necessary.
To obtain nursing assistant certification, a high school degree is required and a six- to twelve-week certified nursing assistant program must be completed at a community college or medical facility. At the end of the program, a state board exam must be satisfactorily completed in order to obtain certification.
To obtain medical assistant certification, a medical assistant course must be completed prior to taking the certified medical assistant (CMA) exam. Certification is good for 60 months, and a re-certification application must be submitted at least 90 days before certification expires. Re-certification is granted after completing 60 continuing education points or passing the CMA again.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected job growth for medical assistants of 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than average job growth. Demand will be high for those holding valid certifications.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for a medical assistant was $29,370 , as of 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,080, and the highest 10 percent took home more than $41,570. Salaries vary greatly depending upon location, experience, and skill level.
2016 Salary Information for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $31,540 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, medical assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $26,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $37,760, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 634,400 people were employed in the U.S. as medical assistants.