Dear Medical Technology/Cytotechnology student,
I feel that I need to address some important considerations for your MT and CT programs, as several changes are taking place that will impact your program of study and your clinical internship applications, and to put to rest any unfounded rumors and speculation which often arise through informal conversation.
The Medical Technology and Cytotechnology programs are currently enjoying consistent success, and for this reason, have also seen significant growth in the past 6 months alone. Without a doubt, the current economy has played a role in this, as more people seek to enter fields with high prospects of employment. A glance at the “Graduates and Interns” link on the Medical Technology or Cytotechnology pages on my web site will show you that, through 2008, we were averaging ~ 4 - 5 MT interns per year and 0 – 2 CT interns per year. This is about to change:
There are, at this moment, 28 MT majors and 14 CT majors here at Plattsburgh.
Another recent concern is the availability of internship slots, particularly in Cytotechnology. Several of our affiliates have closed or restricted their programs: Berkshire Medical Center discontinued their cytotechnology program in 2010; The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center restricts their program to a local affiliate and will no longer accept Plattsburgh applicants; Danbury Hospital will discontinue its MT clinical internship in 2014. In addition, the existing clinical sites have seen a significant increase in applications from other schools, and therefore competition for internships has been greater than in the past.
How does this impact you?
First and foremost, please understand that the clinical internships will likely go to students who are intent on working in the major after graduation. Students who wish to immediately go on to graduate or professional schools should elect to do this through an alternate major, such as Biology (BS) or Biochemistry. Medical Technology and Cytotechnology are not intended to be pre-med majors!
Secondly, students in these two majors should work hard to maintain a good GPA. In the past, with internship positions still available, even marginal students have found internships. In the coming years, however, this will become harder. To be successful, students should have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and a GPA of 3.5 or higher would be best. This is especially true for major courses and lab courses.
Thirdly, the clinical internship programs look for students who are highly motivated and interested in their field. Students will be interviewed by prospective clinical staff, and those who come across as only “wanting a good job”, “good pay”, or “didn’t know what else to do with their life” will likely not get beyond the interview stage. Clinical sites are looking for people who have a good chance of succeeding, have a positive attitude, work well with others, and are enthusiastic.
In other words – be prepared! Your preparation starts in your first semester in the program with a willingness to put in a 100% effort, an interest in learning more about the field, and preparing yourself for your internship application by meeting the program representatives (when on our campus) and preparing yourself for your interview.
What if don’t get in?
If you know that MT or CT is what you want to do, and you are determined to get there, there will usually be a way. Here are some avenues to pursue:
What else is being done to help the MT and CT majors find placement?
I have intensified my efforts to find clinical placements for our students as the surge in students hit our programs. I continue to maintain contacts with numerous non-affiliated clinical sites in MT, and have begun to search for new CT opportunities. A number of clinical program openings have been brought to my attention just through inquiring about these through list servers. There are often late opportunities for an internship as someone drops out. I usually either hear about these or can find out about these if someone lets me know they still need to find a place.
Last but not least, some MT and CT programs are now available at the Master’s Degree level at some universities. Albany College of Pharmacy offers, for example, a BS/MS program in Cytotechnology. If anyone is seriously interested in these opportunities, please contact me.
Dr. J. de Ondarza