The main factors that affect a medical technologist's salary are the specimen types, examination techniques, employment locations, and hours of work. Medical technologist job duties are widely varied, such as analyzing blood or urine. Generally, specimens that require more examinations than others will increase a medical technologist's salary.
Human tissue, blood, and other bodily fluids are examined for cell counts, chemical composition, and even drug levels. Each sample examined has a different level of difficulty associated with the task, which warrants various salary amounts. A simple blood typing procedure should not be especially challenging for the medical technologist; however, analyzing certain tissues for microorganisms that cause disease will normally require more skill and effort, and the medical technologist's salary is therefore higher. The technologist must be able to manipulate the specimen and operate the examination instrumentation for the most accurate results.
Examination techniques are often relatively simple for the lower-salaried technologist, such as performing a basic complete blood count. Simple tools, like dipsticks, are placed in a liquid specimen, and react by producing a color. This color change indicates specific traits about the specimen, such as high cholesterol or sugars in blood work. Some techniques are much more involved, like experimenting on tissue to find signs of allergy or disease. These specialized experimentation technologists warrant higher salaries since they are involved in researching and concluding their results as scientific professionals.
Employment location can also affect a medical technologist's salary. Workers can be employed in a large or small laboratory, as well as a hospital. Large laboratories and hospital settings usually have a number of different medical technologists working on various specimens. Each salary will be based on the different job duty levels of each worker.
Smaller laboratories may only employ a few technologists, requiring them to cover many different specimen examination procedures. As a result, a medical technologist's salary may be higher in these facilities since more job duties are required of each person. Each worker must be well versed in all the examination instrumentation and procedures, rather than specializing in one area.
Work hours are another factor that may result in different pay rates for a medical technologist. Many large hospitals and facilities have 24 hour patient services which require one or several technologists to be working at all times. Night shifts normally offer higher salaries so that the position is more attractive for applicants. Some employers also offer revolving shifts so that workers are not working either nights or days exclusively.