Is a Med Tech the Same as a Medical Assistant?

Considering a career in the medical field? You might be wondering if a med tech is the same as a medical assistant. Here’s what you need to know.

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Job Description

The job duties of a medical assistant are wide-ranging and varied. They may include anything from taking patient medical histories and performing basic lab tests to scheduling appointments and handling billing and insurance paperwork. Med techs, on the other hand, tend to focus more on the technical aspects of patient care, such as using and maintain sophisticated medical equipment.

Duties of a Med Tech

A medical technologist, also called a med tech, is a health professional who performs laboratory tests on blood and other body fluids to help physicians diagnose and treat diseases. Med techs usually work in hospitals or clinics, but may also work in private laboratories or for public health agencies.

Med techs typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, but some may have a master’s degree or higher. They must also be licensed or certified by a professional organization, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

The duties of a med tech vary depending on their specific job role, but may include collecting and processing samples; performing lab tests; maintaining lab equipment; and keeping records of test results. Med techs may also be responsible for training other health professionals in the use of laboratory equipment and techniques.

Duties of a Medical Assistant

A medical assistant performs many of the routine administrative and clinical tasks in a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. These tasks may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing and coding insurance forms, drawing blood, administering medications and injections, taking vital signs, updating medical histories, and giving routine information to patients about such things as diets and exercise.

Education and Training

There is a lot of overlap in the education and training required for medical assistants and medical technologists. Both careers typically require a high school diploma or equivalent, although some medical assistants may only need a certificate while medical technologists must have at least an associate’s degree.

Education and Training for a Med Tech

Education and training requirements for medical technicians vary by state. In some states, you may need to complete an accredited medical assisting program and pass a standardized exam, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, before you can become a medical technician. In other states, there may not be any formal education or training requirements; you may be able to learn on the job.

The duties of a medical technician may include performing laboratory tests, such as blood or urine tests; taking and recording patients’ vital signs; and providing patient care, such as wound dressing and specimen collection. You may also be responsible for scheduling appointments, handling billing and insurance paperwork, and maintaining medical records.

Education and Training for a Medical Assistant

Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Others may have an associate degree in medical assisting. Employers increasingly prefer medical assistants who have completed formal education programs.

Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Others may have an associate degree in medical assisting. Employers increasingly prefer medical assistants who have completed formal education programs. Many accredited community colleges, technical schools, vocational schools, and universities offer medical assistant programs. Some programs take as little as 1 year to complete, but most take 2 years or longer. A small number of institutions offer 4-year bachelor’s degrees in medical assisting, but this is less common.

Licensure is not currently required for medical assistants, although certain states have certification requirements for certain tasks delegated to them by physicians, such as administering injections and managing medications within a physician’s office. In addition, some employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants.

The Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants awards the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential to candidates who pass a computer-based exam and meet experience and educational requirements. To maintain certification, CMAs must recertify every 60 months by earning continuing education credits and paying a fee. The National Healthcareer Association offers the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential to candidates who pass an exam and meet experience requirements


There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the title of medical assistant and medical technologist. For the most part, both jobs are relatively the same. Both positions will have you working in a medical setting, under the supervision of a physician.

Certification for a Med Tech

There are a few different ways to become a certified medical technologist (MT) or medical laboratory technologist (MLT). One way is to earn a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from an accredited school and then pass a national certification exam, such as the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Alternatively, you can complete a two-year associate degree or certificate program in medical laboratory technology and then pass the ASCP certification exam.

Certification for a Medical Assistant

In order to work as a medical assistant, one must have a certification that proves they have the necessary skills and knowledge for the job. There are many different certifying organizations, each with their own requirements, but most will require the completion of an accredited program and passing of a standardized exam. Some states also have additional requirements, such as passing a criminal background check. Once certified, medical assistants must keep up with any changes in their field by renewing their certification every few years.


The median salary for a Med Tech is about $32,000. The median salary for a Medical Assistant is about $30,000.

Salary for a Med Tech

The salary for a medical technologist (med tech) is quite good. Med techs can expect to earn an average salary of $66,000 per year. The median salary for a med tech is $63,000 per year. The top 10% of med techs earn an average salary of $78,000 per year.

Salary for a Medical Assistant

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for medical assistants as of May 2016 was $31,540 per year, or $15.20 per hour. The lowest 10 percent of medical assistants earned less than $21,860 annually, while the highest 10 percent earned salaries exceeding $45,310.

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