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Medical technology is challenging, says Prof. Kay Doyle, but it’s a fascinating field that pays well and will continue to grow and grow.
Medical technology is one of three options within the Clinical Lab Sciences degree program ߝ along with Clinical Science and Nutritional Science.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by the year 2012 we will need 69,000 more clinical lab technologists than there were in 2002. Doyle, who chairs the Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences Department, says the average age of medical technologists is in the mid to late 40s, and a large number will be retiring in the next few years.
“The shortage now will become critical,” she says.
Of the 20 to 25 students who graduate each year with a clinical sciences degree, about 10 or 15 major in medical technology. Their job prospects obviously are excellent.
“Graduates in last year’s class found salaries of $46,000 to $54,000. That’s with no evening or weekend work. Those who wish to work weekends or evening shifts earn even more money. A Boston hospital called me last month and said their starting salary would be $27 an hour ߝ that’s about $56,000 a year. That’s a lot of money. It’s a very responsible job but it’s still an awful lot of money for someone right out of school.
“This is a huge field. There are some 25,000 different lab tests that can be performed. Every hospital does thousands of them, and others are sent to outside laboratories that serve a number of hospitals. Seventy to 80 percent of diagnoses that doctors make are based on these tests.”
Another thing that’s good about the medical technology field, Doyle says, is that a graduate can work in any one of several areas in addition to medical laboratory work. UML alumni also are employed in forensics work or in veterinary medicine, or as sales representatives, clinical research associates, or as quality control personnel in various biomedical, biotechnical and pharmaceutical companies.
“This field will just grow and grow and grow. The challenge is to get people interested in science, and, in America, that’s a problem. It’s a hard major but it’s fascinating and the job market is great.”