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Medical technology, sometimes called clinical laboratory science, prepares students to contribute to the study, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The field has grown to include the evaluation of technical procedures and the development and use of new, complex medical instruments. Bachelor’s degrees in medical technology cover topics such as clinical laboratory science, principles of biology, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, instrument analysis, quantitative analysis and physics. Most programs also include a clinical component that features hands-on training in a hospital or clinical setting. Upon graduation, students can enter careers in clinical laboratory work, academic research, public health, teaching and the pharmaceutical industry.
A medical technologist, also known as a medical laboratory scientist or a clinical laboratory technician, collects samples of blood, urine and body tissue to analyze and detect normal and abnormal findings. They operate sophisticated lab equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters, and discuss their findings with physicians and other medical professionals. They also keep detailed records of tests administered and their results. They may also supervise lab technicians.
Biological technicians conduct scientific tests, experiments and analyses under the supervision of biologists or other scientists who direct and evaluate their work. They set up, maintain and clean laboratory equipment; gather and prepare samples of substances that can include blood, food or bacteria; and conduct biological tests and experiments. They document their work, observations and findings and interpret the results. Biological technicians also write reports and present their findings to other scientists and laboratory staff.
Natural Sciences Manager
A natural sciences manager supervises the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They assist in planning and directing research and development projects. They also coordinate laboratory activities, such as testing and quality control. They provide technical assistance to scientists and technicians, and monitor the progress of projects as they move through research and testing. Most natural sciences managers begin their career as technologists or scientists and move into management and leadership positions after gaining experience conducting their own experiments.
Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to help scientists and engineers research, develop and produce chemical products and processes. They monitor chemical processes, test the quality of products, set up and maintain laboratory equipment and conduct experiments and tests. They analyze their findings and prepare technical reports that interpret the results of their studies.
- Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences: B.S. in Medical Technology
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Biological Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Natural Sciences Managers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Chemical Technicians
Laura La Bella has worked as a marketing communications writer and editor in the fields of advertising, development and higher education for more than 15 years. She has authored more than two dozen nonfiction books for young adults, covering biographies of socially relevant people, timely social issues and career paths.
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