Career Opportunities and Job Requirements for Radiology Techs

If you’re interested in a career in the world of medicine, but do not want to work as a nurse or doctor, one of your options is to earn a radiology tech degree. These programs are relatively short, especially compared to the years of education you’d need to become a doctor, but you’ll still be able to do important work with patients as part of a medical staff that helps diagnose and treat diseases.

Radiology is the field of medicine that uses various types of imaging in order to see inside the patient’s body to diagnose and treat disease. Radiologists produces images through:

  • Projection Radiography: This process uses x-rays and a special device in order to convert these rays into the light that forms an image. It is usually a faster and more affordable process, so it tends to be the go-to form of imaging.
  • Computed Tomography (CT): This process combines the use of x-rays and different algorithms that create images of the body. This is the type of imaging that is used to view details of the brain and arteries, when a contract IV is administered. This method is used in emergency situations to quickly view urgent matters, such as an embolism or hemorrhage.
  • Interventional Radiology: This method of imaging allows medical personnel to treat many disorders. This process allows radiologists to use the images to direct them toward the diseased area. It is a minimally invasive procedure.
  • Fluoroscopy: This is a technique that sues x-rays in conjunction with a radiocontrast agent that is typically swallowed by the patient or injected into their body. This procedure allows radiologists to view the patient’s blood vessels and their gastrointestinal tract.
  • Nuclear Medicine: This type of imaging uses radioactive materials called “tracers” that enable radiologists to view the patient’s heart, lungs, thyroid, liver, gallbladder, and bones. Physiological function can be determined through this process.
  • Ultrasound: As the name states, this process uses sound (sound waves) to show the soft structures of the body, such as a fetus in the womb. The downside to this method is that the images are dependent on the person taking them. Some tissues and fat can cause lower-quality images as well.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRIs are generally used to create 3D images of the body by using radio signals and magnetic fields. These images are useful for diagnosing issues in the musculoskeletal system, as well as in the neurological system.

Job Options

With a radiology tech degree, you have a few options you can consider in terms of a career path. First, you can become a radiology technician, working with x-ray machines to help understand a patient’s medical condition. You can also work as a radiology technologist, working with other types of imagining machines that could help doctors assess a patient. As a radiology tech, you could specialize, which allows you to work with a certain type of advanced machine. For example, MRI technicians work with magnetic resonance imaging while CT technologists work with computerized tomography. This depends on which specialty interests you; in many circumstances, radiology techs who choose to specialize make themselves more appealing to future employers, as well as improve their earnings salary potential.

Daily Tasks as a Radiology Tech

No matter what you position in the field of radiology tech, your primary responsibility will be to maintain and use equipment, which will help patients receive the care they need. Some radiology techs work one-on-one with patients, preparing them to use the machines, positioning their bodies for the best images, and explaining to them the process if necessary. Others work with the machine controls, and still others work with doctors, helping to analyze the results. At larger facilities, you may do just one of these tasks, while at smaller facilities, you may be the only team member in radiology.

Radiology Tech Requirements

Are you interested in working as a radiology tech? If so, getting your degree can take anywhere from one to four years, depending on the program you choose. Most radiology techs join one of the nearly 400 radiology tech associate’s degree programs, though some employers look more favorably on job candidates with a bachelor’s degree in this field. Your classes in this kind of program will cover skills that you need to run the machines, analyze the images, maintain and clean the patients, communicate with patients, and more.

Top Online Radiology Programs

Adventist University of Health Sciences — The Adventist University of Health Sciences' BS in radiological science degree covers everything the professional radiologist needs to know about mammography, computed tomography, MRI, advanced patient care issues, and medical imaging. Coursework also covers issues and trends in health care and case studies, with a focus on providing the tools and insights students need to become marketable job applicants.

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