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Medical Technologists
Significant Points

This series includes positions which require professional knowledge and competence in the field of medical technology. Medical technology involves performing, advising on, or supervising clinical laboratory testing of human blood, urine, and other body fluids or tissues, using manual or automated techniques; confirming test results and developing data which may be used by physicians in determining the presence and extent of disease or in support of medical research; modifying or designing laboratory procedures; establishing and monitoring quality control systems and measures; and providing instruction in the basic theory, technical skills, and application of laboratory test procedures. Medical technology includes work in such areas as hematology, bacteriology, mycology, virology, parasitology, immunology, serology, immunohematology (blood banking), clinical chemistry (including endocrinology and toxicology), and urinalysis as they relate to clinical laboratory practice.

Nature of the Work

Medical technologist positions are found in Federal hospital and outpatient-clinic laboratories; regional and reference laboratories which serve other hospitals, clinics, ships at sea, or foreign stations; research and development organizations; and regulatory and control agencies. Most medical technologists produce test results for use by physicians in the diagnosis and management of disease. Some do research, develop laboratory techniques, teach, or perform administrative or management duties. A few provide consultative and advisory services to State and local health departments, develop standards and regulations controlling laboratories engaged in interstate commerce and/or receiving reimbursement under Medicare, or perform other similar activities.

Although positions classified in this series generally involve testing body fluids or tissues from humans, other duties may sometimes apply. In hospitals where the infection control/environmental surveillance program is supported by the clinical laboratory, medical technologists may test environmental as well as biologic specimens. Where there is no organized nuclear medicine service, they may perform limited nuclear medicine procedures (e.g., in vitro radioimmunoassay tests) in addition to other procedures. In unique situations they may test samples from animals rather than humans (as in setting up and performing quality-controlled hematologic, biochemical, and immunologic laboratory procedures/tests to support pharmacologic studies in laboratory animals).

Medical technology as an applied science is made up of a number of established academic disciplines (microbiology, chemistry, etc.) that are universally defined, recognized, and accepted as professions by academic institutions, industry, and government. Despite a trend toward specialization, medical technology is essentially an integrated or "generalist" profession. Medical technologists must have a knowledge of the whole field, i.e., all four major disciplines of laboratory practice (microbiology, clinical chemistry, hematology, and immunohematology), whether they specialize or not. Medical technologists who choose to specialize may concentrate in one or more clinical disciplines or subdisciplines (specialty areas) and/or in one or more of the following functional areas:

Administration. Medical technologists play a central role in clinical laboratory management. They carry out a wide range of administrative functions (e.g., scheduling laboratory personnel; reviewing/evaluating procedures and instituting remedial action for detected deficiencies/defects; reviewing and approving new test methodologies; selecting equipment to purchase; maintaining quality assurance, preventive maintenance and safety, and other laboratory programs; developing automatic data processing applications; preparing budget and staffing estimates and technical reports; designing technical manuals and forms; developing laboratory guidelines and/or regulations).

Research. Medical technologists participate in medical research and development activities directed at expanding scientific knowledge or developing new or improved methods and techniques (e.g., planning and carrying out studies on the effect of chemicals on erythrocyte sickling or the stability of red cell antigens in experimental anticoagulants for prolonged liquid storage). Working as independent investigators, members of research teams, or research assistants, they may author or coauthor technical reports and articles for scientific journals.

Education. Medical technologists are involved in designing, conducting, and evaluating education programs. (All clinical laboratories are expected to provide continuing/in-service education programs, and some sponsor an accredited medical technology program and/or other recognized education or training programs.) Most medical technologist assignments include some teaching responsibilities; these may involve classroom teaching and/or on-the-job demonstration and laboratory practice. The instruction may be given to medical technologist students, medical technicians, physician residents and/or others. Typically, these duties are in integral part of the basic assignment and do not affect the grade level or the qualifications required for the position. Some medical technologists have education or training work as a primary responsibility (e.g., coordinating the laboratory rotation of students from colleges or universities with which the hospital/laboratory is affiliated, or teaching full time in an accredited program). A few are responsible for directing/administering, under the direction of the pathologist in charge of the laboratory, a structured education program or school where both didactic and clinical training are provided and the school is responsible for admission, curriculum, and academic credit and receives accreditation.

Medical Technologist, GS-0644-09

Nature, range, and complexity of work

Serves as the medical technologist in charge of the night shift in the emergency procedures section of a clinical laboratory, with responsibility for supervising/performing the full range of emergency procedures in the areas of chemistry, urinalysis, hematology, serology, bacteriology, and immunohematology (e.g., blood gas-pH, toxic and therapeutic drug levels, solving CBC problems, body fluid differentials, direct smears, blood cultures, emergency ABO typing, Rh typing and cross matching). The hospital has an organized emergency department that provides definitive emergency care and treatment 24 hours a day.

  • Evaluates requested procedures to determine the suitability of specimen for analysis, requesting new specimen if determined to be unusable. Prepares specimens for analysis, insuring that the physiologic state of the properties is maintained.
  • Prepares reagents and primary reference materials.
  • Selects, performs, evaluates, and monitors the performance of nonroutine and specialized test procedures using manual and/or instrumental techniques in accordance with established protocols. Recognizes and reacts to indicators of malfunction; locates and implements corrections. Obtains analytical data (e.g., color end points, digital read outs, tracings, patterns, agglutinations); converts to prescribed units for reporting; and correlates data to verify results. Writes laboratory reports (identifying sample and stating methods and results); reports results to appropriate individuals.
  • Calibrates, standardizes, adjusts, and maintains instruments. Verifies correct instrument operation using established procedures and quality control checks (e.g, mechanical, optical, scintillation, gasometric, photmetric, electrometric, automated). Identifies the cause of common problems and makes simple repairs.
  • Conducts quality control procedures on equipment, reagents, and products, and maintains proper records for quality control reports.
  • Evaluates and recommends that new tests be incorporated into the emergency list.
  • Instructs medical technicians, residents, and others in emergency techniques, equipment use, test slip requirements, etc.
  • Supervises the work of one or two medical technicians as directed.
  • Medical Technologist, GS-0644-09

    Nature, range, and complexity of work

    Serves as a medical technologist in the hematology section of a clinical laboratory, with responsibility for performing a variety of procedures including complex analyses and infrequently requested tests; evaluating abnormal results; using and maintaining equipment; and setting up and monitoring quality controls.

  • Selects the procedures which are appropriate for the request for service and congruent with patient considerations.
  • Processes specimens using equipment, instruments, or techniques that are necessary to prepare them for specific analysis; controls physical conditions; responds to time factors to insure that the physiologic state of the specimen is maintained.
  • Prepares reagents, assembles equipment, verifies correct instrument operation; standardizes, performs, and calculates results for a variety of complex tests such as bone marrow studies and associated special stains and procedures, lupus erythematous preparations, buffy coat examinations, special cytochemical stains, cell enzyme assays, special tests for hemolytic anemias, special coagulation tests (e.g., factor analysis, prothrombin consumption), and body fluid differentials and smears.
  • Identifies unusual results or discrepancies/conditions which cause erroneous results (instrument malfunctions, conditions of test performance, reaction systems, and/or test procedures used). Takes appropriate action to make corrections and solve problems. Conducts literature search if indicated.
  • Evaluates the validity of data in relation to the test system and assay procedures. Correlates quantitative, biochemical, physiologic, and morphologic data with other laboratory data (e.g., blood smear estimates with leukocyte and platelet counts, RBC appearance with indices) and/or other patient data (e.g., history, physical findings, medications) to verify results. Performs additional tests to clarify or confirm abnormal patient results and reports results.
  • Accepts referrals of abnormal or unusual results and observations from lower-grade laboratory personnel. Advises on course of action to follow when values obtained from standard or control sample values are unacceptable. Examines functions of instruments, rechecks conditions of test performance, evaluates reaction systems and/or procedural techniques utilized, and identifies function with symptom.
  • Sets up and develops protocols for new instruments and procedures from a well-established reference. Tests and develops quality control methods, calculating the mean, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation, and determining statistical significance.
  • Assists in developing, maintaining, and modifying various computer applications. Maintains liaison with technical representatives to correct computer programming and resolves common problems.
  • Plans and conducts a course (including classroom lectures and bench instruction) in clinical hematology (basic principles and practical application) in the hospital's school of medical laboratory technique. Supplements prescribed course content and instructional materials as necessary.
  • Medical Technologist, GS-0644-11

    Nature, range, and complexity of work

    Serves as a medical technologist in the laboratory of a general medical and surgical hospital, with responsibility for developing and maintaining a quality control program for all sections of the laboratory including microbiology, bacteriology and mycology, parasitology, infection control, chemistry, toxicology/drug abuse, urinalysis, hematology, transfusion/coagulation, immunology, and anatomic pathology. Insures compliance with accrediting and regulatory agency requirements.

  • Develops quality control procedures for new tests as they are introduced into the laboratory and modifies existing procedures as needs change. Assesses data needed, designs data collection procedures, identifies parameters and determines acceptable range for each parameter.
  • Identifies control samples appropriate to monitor assays/procedures; establishes protocols for evaluating control sample value (e.g., within-day variation, day-to-day variation, trends, shifts); and defines action to be taken when control sample is outside limits.
  • Conducts quality control procedures on equipment, reagents, and products by designing and implementing instrument, reagent, and product check systems, Evaluates results and implements corrective actions when indicated.
  • Establishes and maintains record keeping systems (e.g., specimen accession and retention, instrument maintenance, quality control samples); controls specimen accession through the computer system to insure accuracy of data input and output.
  • Develops and maintains quality control portions of procedural manuals. Designs forms as necessary to comply with regulatory agency and laboratory needs.
  • Responds to external proficiency testing programs. Prepares reports and responds to requests for quality control information from hospital staff and regulatory agencies.
  • Reviews current literature for improved quality control procedures. Evaluates new quality control protocols to determine their suitability for local use.
  • Instructs medical technology students and residents in theoretical and practical aspects of quality assurance.
  • Represents the laboratory on the Utilization Review Committee.
  • Medical Technologist, GS-0644-11

    Nature, range, and complexity of work

    Serves as a medical technologist in the hematology section of a reference laboratory which supports agency hospitals for the diagnosis of hemostatic disorders, with responsibility for performing specialized studies in blood coagulation and the physiology of platelet function, solving highly complex diagnostic problems, and modifying or adapting new methods or techniques to improve or expand services.

  • Determines procedures for hematologic tests to be performed in the section. Develops and implements the use of protocols for performance of tests and evaluation of results. Monitors conformity to protocols.
  • Develops procedures and establishes parameters for correlation of test results and preset troubleshooting protocols.
  • Defines reference values/ranges using statistical methods; sets up and monitors recordkeeping systems and effective quality control procedures. Identifies/implements changes needed in the quality assurance program.
  • Prepares reagents and stores of coagulation factor-deficient plasma for functional and immunologic assays of specific coagulation factors.
  • Performs complex and unusual tests and studies requiring specialized knowledge and skill (e.g., fibrin split products, quantitative and qualitative abnormalities of fibrinogen, platelet life span, platelet procoagulant and aggregation abnormalities, platelet function and nucleotide metabolism in patients on certain antineoplastic drugs).
  • Evaluates the validity of data in relation to the test system and assay procedures. Integrates and correlates test data with other laboratory and patient data to lead to a conclusion about the normality of a system. Creates, uses, or modifies logic schema to determine corrective actions for problems.
  • Determines if additional information is needed for clarification of test results and/or to establish a definitive diagnosis, and confers with physicians on additional tests as necessary.
  • Evaluates, modifies, or adapts new methods or revises standard techniques to improve or expand quantitativeness, accuracy, precision, specificity, or proficiency of analyses (e.g., evaluates new test systems, kits, and equipment for the assessment and quantification of normal and abnormal hemostatic function and for platelet isolation and storage and recommends procurement or adapts for local use). Compares new methods with existing or reference methods by performance (analysis of error types) and suitability (analysis of cost, convenience, efficiency, etc.). Assesses advances in the fields of cellular and molecular biology for relevance to hematologic analysis.
  • Medical Technologist, GS-0644-12

    Nature, range, and complexity of work

    Serves as a medical technologist in an area office of a public health agency, with responsibility for coordinating the full range of clinical laboratory services in agency hospitals, outpatient clinics, and satellite stations throughout a multistate area.

  • Evaluates the quality of area laboratory services and adequacy of equipment, personnel, and working accommodations through onsite inspections and/or review of reports. Assesses laboratory needs and explores sources and methods of obtaining necessary resources. Assures compliance with quality control and proficiency testing programs, safety standards, accreditation requirements, and agency policies. Plans for and implements laboratory improvement programs.
  • Plans, implements, and coordinates quality control programs and assures participation in acceptable proficiency testing programs in all areas of laboratory medicine.
  • Plans, implements, and coordinates preventive maintenance programs and reviews record-keeping.
  • Coordinates procurement of supplies, equipment, and instrumentation and assures compliance with budgetary and geographic limitations. Evaluates and advises on contract services.
  • Coordinates recruitment, placement, and other personnel actions. Develops and maintains a career development program for laboratory personnel; identifies training needs and arranges for/personally conducts in-service training.
  • Assesses operating costs and develops budget input. Writes summaries, reports, position papers, and issue papers on topics concerning laboratory services and quality assurance. Analyzes historical data and trends.
  • Plans and conducts studies on technical and administrative problems involving personnel shortages, organizational structure, new technology, program deficiencies, reporting systems, etc.; recommends changes based on findings.
  • Serves as a consultant and advisor to area officials and laboratory personnel on various aspects of laboratory management and testing. Interprets agency policies and directives, prepares guidelines governing laboratory operations, and advises supervisors on the preparation, maintenance, review, and revision of procedural manuals.
  • Establishes and maintains liaison with other Federal and State agencies, accrediting organizations, academic institutions, commercial and private laboratory facilities, professional organizations, and Indian communities to keep abreast of new developments, obtain services, and develop and coordinate mutually beneficial projects.
  • Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

    Degree: medical technology, chemistry, or biology that included or was supplemented by at least:

    -16 semester hours of biological science of which one course was in microbiology and one course was in immunology. (NOTE: If there is no mention of immunology or immunobiology in the course title, the requirement for a course in immunology may be met by any course that covers the following topic areas: (1) definition and relationships of antigens and antibodies; (2) host-antigen interactions; (3) bursal and thymic influences on lymphoid cells; and (4) humoral and cellular response mechanisms.) The remaining biology courses must have been in general biology, zoology, or any of the areas listed below under "Evaluation of Education and Experience;" -16 semester hours of chemistry of which one course was in organic or biochemistry. The remaining chemistry courses must have been in general chemistry, qualitative analysis, qualitative chemistry, quantitative chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, or any of the areas listed below under "Evaluation of Education and Experience;" and 3 semester hours of college mathematics.

    OR

    A full 4-year course of study that included or was supplemented by at least 12 months in a college or hospital-based medical technology program or medical technology school approved by a recognized accrediting organization. The professional medical technology curriculum may have consisted of a 1-year post-baccalaureate certificate program or the last 1 or 2 years of a 4-year program of study culminating in a bachelor's in medical technology.

    OR

    A combination of (1) at least 35 semester hours of biological science, chemistry, and mathematics as described in paragraph A above and (2) additional appropriate education and/or experience totaling 4 years. This combination of education and experience must have provided knowledge of the theories, principles, and practices of medical technology equivalent to that provided by the full 4-year course of study described in A or B above. All science and mathematics courses must have been acceptable for credit toward meeting the requirements for a science major at an accredited college or university. Acceptable experience is responsible professional or technician experience in a hospital laboratory, health agency, industrial medical laboratory, or pharmaceutical house; or teaching, test development, or medical research program experience that provided an understanding of the methods and techniques applied in performing professional clinical laboratory work. Certification/licensure as a medical technologist (generalist) obtained through written examination by a nationally recognized credentialing agency or State licensing body is a good indication that the quality of experience is acceptable.

    Evaluation of Education and Experience: The four major areas of clinical laboratory science are microbiology, clinical chemistry, hematology, and immunohematology (blood banking). Qualifying course work in these areas includes bacteriology, mycology, mycobacteriology, tissue culture, virology, parasitology, endocrinology, enzymology, toxicology, urinalysis, coagulation, hemostasis, cell morphology, immunology, serology, immunoserology, immuno-deficiency, hemolysis, histocompatibility, cyto-genetics, and similar disciplines or areas of laboratory practice.

    Related fields include physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, cell biology, embryology, pathology, genetics, pharmacology, histology, cytology, nuclear medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, infection control, physics, statistics, and similar areas of science where the work is directly related to the position to be filled. Experience or graduate education must have been in (1) the general field of medical technology, (2) one of the disciplines or specialized areas of medical technology, or (3) a field directly related and applicable to medical technology or the position to be filled.

    Sources of Additional Information

    Information on obtaining Medical Technologists positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.usajobs.gov or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.

    Sources:

    • Office of Personnel Management, Position Classification Standards.

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