How To Become a Medical Technician, and What Different Types Are There?

In this post we’ll explore the various different types of medical technicians and the work they do, before discussing the steps you might need to take to become a medical technician.

What Do Medical Technicians Do?

Medical technicians provide essential support to various healthcare specialists, enabling them to make more informed decisions on patient treatment. Medical technicians don’t usually interact directly with patients, yet their work is critical to ensuring high standards of care and good clinical outcomes.

Medical technicians provide vital support to healthcare specialists

The Different Types of Medical Technicians

This is just a small sample of the various different types of medical technicians that exist:

  • Ultrasound Technicians – This involves using specialist equipment to provide a real-time view of a patient’s innards. For most people, ultrasound is synonymous with pregnancy. But ultrasound technicians can also use their equipment to view internal organs for easier diagnosis.
  • Radiology Technician – This is another means of generating detailed images for diagnostic purposes. Radiology technicians might use x-ray machines, mammography devices, CAT scans, and PET scans.
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) – EMTs provide essential care in emergencies, usually in the form of patient transport and critical first aid.
  • Patient Care Technician – This involves supporting doctors and nurses in healthcare settings through monitoring a patient’s progress. A patient care technician might consult ECG readings or record a patient’s eating habits, for example.
  • Surgical Technicians – This involves preparing operating rooms for surgery, assisting surgeons and nurses throughout procedures, and carrying out certain postoperative care functions.
  • Medical Technicians – The term “medical technician” might also be used to broadly refer to operatives who work in medical laboratories, supporting doctors and other specialists through carrying out various diagnostic tests. This role might also be referred to as a “medical technologist”.

As we’ve seen, there are numerous different types of medical technicians. The above list is just a small selection. Medical technicians might also specialise in cardiovascular tests, phlebotomy, administrative tasks, and the preparation of patient medication.

How To Become a Medical Technician

You’ll have to undertake specialist training and gain specific qualifications depending on the type of medical technician you want to work as. So the first step to becoming a medical technician is to identify in which area you want to specialise.

For example, do you want to work on the “frontline” among doctors, nurses, and patients, in a ward or an operating theatre? Or would you rather provide essential diagnostic support in a laboratory or pharmacy?

What Qualifications Do You Need to Work as a Medical Technician?

By way of example, let’s take a quick look at the entry requirements for emergency medical technicians (EMTs):

  • A general standard of education (employers might request a certain number of GCSEs and A-levels)
  • A full UK manual driving licence with a C1 category to qualify you to drive ambulances.
  • Employers might also specify certain personal attributes, including good communication skills, experience of multitasking, and a commitment to ongoing learning.
  • You may also have to complete a fitness assessment.

All of this will qualify you to take a level 4 apprenticeship, which can take up to 18 months to complete. For an EMT, this will involve a combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training. And once you complete this apprenticeship, you’ll have to apply for a full-time EMT role.

Different medical technicians will have different entry criteria. But again, you’ll likely have to complete a formal apprenticeship before you can apply for a full-time role.

What Type of Work is Available for Medical Technicians?

Some medical technicians work as employees of specific healthcare trusts or organisations. Others might work on a self-employed basis, working periodically for numerous different providers.

Becoming a Self-Employed Medical Technician

If you want to establish yourself as a self-employed medical technician, you’ll eventually have to sort out your own insurance cover. Depending on the work you do, you might need either medical malpractice insurance, professional indemnity insurance, or both. Head here to read our full guide to your insurance needs as an independent medical practitioner.

Want to find out more about getting a personal medical malpractice insurance policy? Get in touch to get a free quote in minutes.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options please contact our Tapoly team at You can also call our help line on +44(0)207 846 0108, or try our chat on our website.