Health technologists and technicians are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patient's medical problems. The field has a variety of specialties and each specialty has specific training levels. Health technologists and technicians often work in collaboration with other health care providers. Health technicians, in some fields, focus primarily on administering medical therapy to patient's.
Health Technologist Schools, Certification and Licensing
The educational requirements vary for health technologist occupations. Some entry level assistant positions may require only a high school diploma, while most positions require certification or an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. Most health care workers need some type of licensure or certification related to their specialty. In specializations that do not require certifications, employers typically prefer certified health technicians. Health technologists that are employed in medical labs typically need to complete an appropriate two-year program.
Most cardiovascular technologists have completed a two-year program. Four year educational programs in the subject are becoming increasingly available. Some states require licensure for cardiovascular technologists. Certification is provided by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International.
Training for diagnostic medical sonographers is provided by hospitals and one-year certificate programs and associate and bachelor's degree programs. Currently, no state requires licensure. Sonographers that are registered by ARDMS are registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists lists a small number of O&P technician associate degree programs that have received accreditation from the National Commission on Orthotic & Prosthetic Education.
Training programs for surgical technologists last from 9 months to two years. Certificates, diplomas and associate degree programs are available. Most employers seek candidates that are certified technologists. Voluntary certification is provided by the Liaison Council on Certification for the Certification for the Surgical Technologist. Candidates for certification need to graduate from a program accredited by the CAAHEP and pass a national certification examination.
Radiologic technologists and technicians education programs are provided by certificate and associate and bachelor's degree programs. The curriculums range in length from one to four years. Two-year associate degree programs are most common. The majority of the states require licensure for practicing radiologic technologists.
Training is provided for Nuclear medicine technologists in one-year certificate programs and associate and bachelor's degree programs. The certificate programs are usually only available to health professionals that have earned an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography or radiologic technology. Education and licensure requirements vary by state. More than half of the states require certification or licensing.
The work hours vary by the specialty. Good communication and interpersonal skills are important for many health technologist and technician positions. Being detailed oriented is important for these occupations.
Some of the specialties for health technologists and technicians are:
- Diagnostic medical sonographers utilize specialized equipment in order to create images of structures inside the human body. These images are used by doctors to make a medical diagnosis. Diagnostic medical sonographers perform diagnostic procedures, analyze technical information and provide a summary of their technical findings to doctors.
- Medical appliance technicians construct, fit, repair and maintain artificial limbs, braces, arch supports, joints and other types of medical and surgical appliances. Some medical appliance technicians are involved with medical appliances that are utilized to correct other medical problems such as hearing aids.
- Cardiovascular technologists and technicians perform cardiovascular procedures under the supervision of a doctor. They perform tasks such as monitoring heart rates, explaining testing procedures and results to patients and reviewing patient files.
- Surgical technologists are members of operating room teams and work under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses and other surgical personnel. They also help prepare the operating room for surgeries. Surgical technologists may also help transport patients to recovery rooms and clean and restock the operating room.
- Radiologic technologists and technicians, also known as radiographers, take x-rays and administer nonradioactive materials into their patent's bloodstream for diagnostic testing.
- Nuclear medicine technologists administer radiopharmacueticals to their patients by injection, by mouth, inhalation or other techniques in order to measure the functions and characteristics of the organs and tissues in which the radiopharmaceuticals concentrate. They also sample serum or blood in order to determine the concentrations of drugs or hormones in the bloodstream.
Resources for Health Technologists and Technicians
- Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
- National Commission and Prosthetic Education
- Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologists
- Association of Surgical Technologists
Major Health Care Employers
The major employers for health technologists and technicians are hospitals and medical clinics.