Want to select between medical technologist and pharmacist career fields? If yes, this post is for you. Here we have compared duties, responsibilities, salary, education qualifications, required skills, etc., of both these job positions. It will give you an idea about whether you should choose a medical technologist or pharmacist as your career.
Don’t let this be your only resource as this is a career you want to commit to the rest of your working life and enjoy it. We have gone out and got the opinions of current/past students of Medical Technologist and Pharmacists to help you with your decision.
Medical technologists are healthcare scientists who assist medical professionals in diagnosing, treat, and prevent diseases by analyzing biological samples. As a medical technologist, you will be responsible for conducting procedures, experiments, laboratory tests, and analyses to get data for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.
Medical technologists conduct a chemical analysis on various body fluids like blood, urine, saliva, and bile. This gives them an idea about the presence of normal and abnormal components. If you want to become a medical technologist, it is imperative to have an idea about the education, skills, duties, responsibilities, etc., of the job position.
Duties & Responsibilities
Here are the duties and responsibilities of medical technologists:
- Conduct chemical analysis of body fluids such as blood, saliva, urine, and bile.
- Analyze blood cells by counting and identifying cells
- Conserve laboratory resources by using equipment
- Prepare blood, plasma, and platelet for transfusion
- Maintain laboratory supplies inventory
- Answering and responding to the patient, physician, and vendor questions and concerns
Education requirement & qualifications
First of all, you need to have a bachelor’s degree. As this career field is based mainly on science, chemistry, and biology, you need to get a bachelor’s degree in medical technology. Completing the bachelor’s degree will take around four years.
Now you know education requirements. It’s imperative to give attention to certification requirements. To work as a medical technologist, it is not compulsory to earn the certification. However, many hospitals and laboratories do give preference to candidates with the licensure. Depending on your state, certification requirements may differ. States that require licensure are California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Here are the skills medical technologists need to have:
- Documentation skills
- Chemistry techniques
- Equipment maintenance
- FDA health regulations
- Use of medical technologies
- Lab environment
- Clinical lab testing
- Attention to detail
Before pursuing medical technology as your career field, it is essential to know about the salary. Your salary as a medical technologist in the United States will differ based on factors like location, experience, skills, etc. The average Medical Technologist salary in the United States ranges between $64,891 and $76,461.
Pharmacists are healthcare professionals responsible for dispensing and reviewing the dispensed medications. Pharmacies are of different types. Depending on your interests and skills, you can select the pharmacy type. It includes a retail pharmacy, ambulatory pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, consulting pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, etc.
As a pharmacist, your job will not be limited to dispensing medication. You will be having direct interaction with patients. Hence, one of your primary responsibilities will be to ensure patients’ safety. You need to make sure whatever medications you dispense are safe for the patient. Pharmacists check each patients’ medication record every time he/she gets a new or refill prescription filled.
Duties & Responsibilities
Here are the duties and responsibilities of pharmacists:
- Preparing medications after reviewing and interpreting patients’ orders
- Dispensing medications by compounding, packaging, and labeling pharmaceuticals
- Develop hospital staff
- Comply with state and federal drug laws
- Manage staff
- Maintain a safe and clean work environment
Education requirements & qualifications
Becoming a pharmacist will take more time than becoming a medical technologist. However, the good thing is you can make more money by becoming a pharmacist than becoming a medical technologist. To become a pharmacist, first, you need to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from a pharmacy program accredited by Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
Once you have the degree, you need to get the licensure. You must pass NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination) by the North Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). Apart from this, most states also require candidates to pass MPJE (Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam).
Here are the skills required in pharmacists:
- Analyzing information
- Administering medications
- Focus on quality
- Attention to detail
- FDA health regulations
- Attention to detail
Although we don’t recommend it, but if you want to choose the career option solely based on the salary, then go ahead with the pharmacy field. Pharmacists make more money than medical technologists. Depending on the type of pharmacy, experience, location, experience, skills, etc., your salary will vary. The average salary of pharmacists in the United States ranges between $129,958 and $146,907.
Medical Technologist Vs Pharmacist
Here we have seen duties, responsibilities, education requirements, qualifications, and salary of medical technologists and pharmacists. Medical technologists are responsible for conducting procedures, experiments, laboratory tests, and analyses to get data for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Talking about pharmacists, they are mainly responsible for dispensing and reviewing dispensed medications. After properly understanding the job description of the job positions, you need to select the right one.
If going for pay Pharmacist is definitely the way to go however you can become an MT while working your way up to getting your PharmD as well. There are many options out there especially if you are willing to relocate. Jobs can be plentiful and pay better in certain areas in the U.S. A quick nationwide search on a site like Monster.com will bring jobs all over and a lot of the time will show your starting pay. Another good sight to get a good feeling of where jobs are is Indeed.com.
We didn’t’ want you to only take our word for it on this huge decision. So we scoured the internet, forums, sub reddits to find responses from past or current people in this profession. This information was curated so nothing has been changed except any spelling or grammar where needed.
1. RxWildCat “Trying to steer wife toward PharmD” – My wife was looking into MT (she graduated in dec. with a BS), but I am trying to steer her towards pharmacy. IMO pharmacy is much more diverse and has many more opportunities.
2. Mike36 “MT to PharmD” – I worked as an MT for two years full time before pharmacy school. The first year has been pretty easy since a lot of it was a review undergrad for me. Also, it will help when they teach lab values next year, since I am the only one in my class that has actually run CBCs, UAs, etc.
I chose to go into pharmacy, because I just couldn’t see myself going up further as a tech. Unless you want to go into supervisory or management roles, there really is not a whole lot you can do as an MT to go higher. There just seemed to be a lot more things that I can do with a PharmD that seemed interesting to me.
It is also nice that I can work less hours than my classmates and make more money as a lab tech.
3. Falkokis “MT great stepping stone” – MT turning Pharmacist right here. Starting in August. I wanted to stay in the medical field because I do enjoy the challenges of it. I actually like the work as a medical technologist, but we are way over educated (or way under paid or both). MTs take more difficult classes and get paid less than any other hospital 4 year degreed employee. It’s not by a small margin either. MTs basically have no upward movement. You are a bench tech or you are management. That’s basically it. It’s rare to get promoted up into higher admin jobs. I also hated having to explain to everyone what a MT was. I hated people thinking I was a phlebotomist. I hated the fact that people thought you didn’t need any degree or brains to do an MTs job. Maybe I had it rough here, but I doubt it. These kind of complaints are common for MT. I’m sure I’ll catch a lot of the same crap, but at least I’ll have more pay and more job options.
I guess I feel the MT degree is a great stepping stone, but a horrible career choice.
4. PharmDiva “Future PharmD from MT” – I’m a medical technologist as well. I am so ready to change careers!!!! I am applying to University of Houston’s program early decision this September. I am still trying to decide if I will continue working after I begin the program. I have gotten mixed reviews on whether it’s a good idea to work. Some say yes, others no. But, I really don’t want to take out more loans than absolutely necessary, and with a mortgage…I will definitely benefit from the added income. What are your plans?
5. Mamaof2 “Pharmacy real career” – I am currently starting my internship for Medical Technology. I just found out that I am on the waiting list at OU college of pharmacy. Medical Technology is my back up plan, but pharmacy is a career that I really want.
6. PharmDusn “Was Med Tech For 10 Years” – I am also a Med tech for almost 10yrs now trying to get into pharmacy. I have looked at the whole picture from front to back and I can say that for me Pharmacy is the best route. As medical Technologists we had to take alot of chem classes inculding org I and II and Qualitative analysis and biochem. I say most med techs can handle pharmacy school and to all of you out there keep your heads up and apply the sky is the limit. Medical Technologist have a very important job to do but the low salaries, lack of respect and intense schooling involved in becoming a med tech makes it not such a worthwhile career atleast for me. Coming out of a 4yr program and having to make $16.50 in Austin, Tx is crazy if you ask me. After taking calc I and II, Physics I and II and a lot of upper level bio course you make $16.50 per hr? LVN’s or LPN’s and AA level RN’s make more than this and I am not putting any profession down but they did not take all these hard classes and spend this much time in school. Something is definately wrong and that’s why Med techs are leaving the field. To all The MT’s out there who want to change to Pharmacy. I say go for it!!
7. QwertyGenius “Med Tech To PharmD as well” – I’m also a med tech for almost 10 years now and am applying to pharmacy school. I was just rejected from the only school that I applied to and will be applying again, but to more schools this time around. When I started in this profession, I made $12.20/hour. The amount of money that they pay you as an MT is pathetic, almost everyone in this career works at another lab part-time or PRN just to survive!
8. Phalosis “Pharmacy All The Way” – Med Tech here also. Pay is horrible to good depending on if you are willing to relocate. I’m applying to Pharm School right now, but for the next year I’m going to work in Miami. I got a 10k sign on bonus and will make $25 an hour there. Pay is going up pretty quick in areas of the country because no one wants to get a degree that is that hard and get paid jack for it. The government has limited what 2 year MLTs can do and that is driving demand for MTs up as the older folks that are mostly MLTs are retiring with no one coming in to replace them. I was offered a supervisor position with less than a year experience at my current hospital but turned it down to go to miami. I don’t mind my job that much, but Pharmacy was always my goal and MT was just a stepping stone like others have said.