How to Become a CAT Scan Technologist in 5 Steps
As a CAT scan technologist, you'd use noninvasive computerized medical exams to take the images that are used to diagnose, evaluate and treat a variety of medical issues. After completing a radiography program and becoming certified, you can be trained in CAT scan technology. Read on to continue exploring the steps to becoming a CAT scan technologist. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a CAT Scan?
A computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan is a high resolution picture of organs, soft tissue and bones. These images are more detailed than an X-ray and can be used to diagnose abnormalities and problems in almost all areas of the body.
Step 1: Research CAT Scan Technologist Duties
Generally, your duties as a CAT scan technologist include preparing and operating diagnostic machines, keeping patient records, and positioning patients so that CAT scan images are clear. If the image is hazy or unclear, you need to perform the procedure again. Before a patient goes through a CAT scan, you describe the procedure in detail and answer any questions they may have.
Since you are a certified radiologist, you may also complete ultrasounds and other radiological procedures. As of May 2011, Salary.com estimates the median salary for CAT scan technologists at $59,031 per year.
Step 2: Obtain a High School Diploma
You need to complete high school before you can enter a radiography degree program. In high school, you benefit from a technical foundation in math, science and computer science. Electives in biology and psychology may also be beneficial.
Step 3: Earn an Associate's Degree
Your career opportunities are better with an associate degree in radiography, diagnostic medical sonography or nuclear medicine technology. These programs train you in medical terminology, healthcare systems, radiology procedures, radiology equipment, patient care and anatomy. These programs also include a clinical practicum.
Step 4: Become a Certified CAT Scan Technologist
A voluntary certification is offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (www.arrt.org). After you complete the initial certification, an annual renewal is required. Certified by the ARRT means you can enroll in a CAT or CT certificate program to become a CAT scan technologist. These programs last from six months to a year. Programs allow students to complete the clinical training requirements needed to sit for the ARRT certification exam.
Step 5: Obtain State Licensure
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states have individual licensing requirements (www.bls.gov). You can seek more information about your state's licensing requirements through the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
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