The Ultimate Guide to the Radiology Technician Career – Job Prospects, Salary, and More

Radiology technologists pertain to the imaging of internal organs and other parts of the human body by administering non radioactive elements into a patient’s bloodstream or through the use of various imagine machines. This role consists of preparing a patient for a radiological examination by explaining the procedures carefully. A Radiology technician must follow instructions given by the doctor as to protect themselves, patients, and coworkers from unnecessary exposure to radiation. Other than taking x-rays and operating radiography equipment, they also keep patient records. Experienced radiographers will perform more complex tasks such as fluoroscopes and computed tomography; they can also specialize in mammography.

Work environment: As for the working atmosphere for a radiologist, it becomes very necessary for them to have a strong physical stamina as they remain on their feet for long periods of time; they may also have to turn or lift disabled or injured patients. Some radiographers even travel to patients in packed vans with sophisticated diagnostic equipment. Though there are chances of exposure to the radiation, they minimize these hazards by wearing lead aprons, gloves, and other shielding devices, as well as instruments that keep track of radiation levels. Most radiological technologists work an average of 40 hours per week.

Training and Courses: The time period for training in radiography ranges from one to four years and provides the student with either a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree; however, two-year associate degree programs are the most common in this field. This is the most widely sought after program for those interested in becoming ex-ray technicians. For students who are looking for a quicker option, a certificate can be obtained with one year of training, though pay and job responsibilities will be more limited with this route. These certificate programs also cater to those who may already be working in the medical field, but are looking to change areas of study. For administrative positions, teaching, or supervisory roles, a master’s degree in radiology is usually required.

License and Certification: In order to prevent unnecessary exposure to medical and dental radiation, there is federal legislation in place that ensures that operators of radiology equipment are properly trained and certified. For this reason, the federal government has set certain standards for states for accrediting various training programs. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) provides voluntary certification for radiologic technologists; 35 states use ARRT-administered exams for their state licensing. For certification, radiographers must have degree from an accredited program and should pass the licensing examination. The proper license and certification is crucial in the job market.

Job Outlook: Many surveys conducted by radiologic technologists project that job opportunities will increase by 15 percent for radiologic technologists; as the population grows, the need for more trained medical personnel and technicians will increase as well.

Earnings: The median salary for radiologic technologists is estimated around $57,940.

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