Medical Technology degrees don't receive the sort of attention that most medical roles receive. Students often tend to veer towards the idea of neurology and microbiology, but Medical Technology roles are starting to become even more prevalent.
In fact, almost all areas of medical technology are essential to the success of other areas in medicine today. MRI and CAT scans have become standard practice and those with a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology or higher are hugely important.
What is a Medical Technology degree?
Medical technology is the creation, manufacturing and general maintenance of medical equipment. Respirators, heart monitors, life support machines, MRIs and CAT scanners are all vitally important, so the creation of this equipment has to be handled with extreme care.
Medical technology encompasses a lot of different scientific disciplines as well, so you will need to have an understanding of things like Biology, Chemistry and Physics beforehand, and Mathematics.
With this degree, the focus will be more centered on carrying out research and focusing on the feedback from patients so as to improve the level of care that they receive.
Medical technology isn’t just focused on the actual machinery, heavy lifting and engineering itself, it’s also focused on aiding doctors and nurses where needed. A Medical technician can help with blood transfusions, tests and can also help with general palliative care.
What can you do with a Medical Technology degree?
Medical Technologists, often referred to as MedTechs, are the most common jobs for those with a Medical Technology degree, however, there are other jobs available too.
One of the most common jobs following the completion of a Medical Technology degree, is to become a Phlebotomist, which is someone who interacts with patients and helps with drawing blood either for tests or for transfusions. They will have a limited interaction with the patients, but a good bedside manner.
As the degree requires you to learn about the maintenance and general upkeep of medical equipment, you will be able to become a Surgical Technician, which is someone who prepares operating rooms ready for surgery.
MRIs are huge machines that need a lot of work and a lot of care and attention and only a select few people can use these machines, and they are known as MRI Technologists, and a Medical Technology degree will stand you in very good stead to help with that too. MRIs need to be maintained, but also the images that they capture, need to be accessed, developed, processed and they also need to be given to the appropriate people. MRI Technologists likely won’t get involved with the general work that a doctor may get involved with, but they likely will still be asked to offer up a second opinion where possible.
There is also a chance to study a Medical Technology degree at a postgraduate-level as well, whether than be doing a Bachelor degree in Medical Technology or even a Masters degree in Medical Technology, there are many people who alo look to study these at a correspondence level, not unlike an online Medical Technology degree, although a Medical Technology Master's degree is more common to study online than a Bachelors.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment for a Medical Technology degree will be very similar to an Engineering degree. You’ll mainly be learning via lectures, lab classes, general group work and one-on-ones with tutors.
You will have the opportunity to pursue industry experience as well via a placement year, which will give you the chance to not only visit a number of important companies but also to forge genuine contacts for when you leave university and also will also help you to gain the all-important work experience.
What skills will I learn?
All degrees give you a chance to learn something new and will provide you with skills that can prepare you for the working world. Medical degrees are slightly different, in that the skills you learn are essential in almost all walks of life, whether you choose to follow a career in the medical sector or not.
Team-work is an essential part of medical practice, despite what TV shows like House might have you think. Second-opinions, collaboration and team effort is common in all forms of medical sciences, so your teamwork skills will be heightened as a result of studying a Medical Technology degree.
Time management is an important factor in medical work, but also in offices, sport and even in general media and your time management will have to be top-notch in a Medical Technology degree. Your time needs to be allocated properly and you will need to be able to work to certain deadlines.
Communication is key as well. The ability to communicate with co-workers and also with patients is vital, especially if you become a Phlebotomist, where you will need to speak to patients in a calm and orderly (pun unintended) manner and will need to communicate to them what it is that you will be doing and how they can potentially help you to do your job correctly.
Will a Medical Technology degree get me a job?
There are no guarantees of finding a job with any degree, but your chances are better if you have a Medical Technology degree, as the degree is in such high demand in employment.
If you have completed a work placement, work will be much easier to come by, and that’s the same for all degrees. People usually end up working the graduate scheme at GlaxoSmithKline or a related company that might have a foot in the door with what you do.
The Medical Technology degree is fairly recent, so there are not too many famous people that have taken this job on, however, there are a number of famous people who will inspire a lot of the modules that appear in a Medical Technology degree, such as Sir John B. Gurdon, who was a developmental biologist, who was one of the forefathers of research in clinking and nuclear transplantation. In fact, Cancer Research UK is also known as The Gurdon Institute in his honour.
Another is Raymond Damadian, the American Physician, who invented the NMR scanner, which has now become the MRI scanner that we all know and although his degree was in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his lasting effect and influence on Medical Technology is still felt today.