Radiology Technician: Career Summary, Occupational Outlook, and Educational Requirements
Radiology technicians administer X-rays and other radiological medical procedures to patients. Continue reading to learn more about the job duties of radiology technicians, and find out what education and certification is required for this career. Read about the typical salary for these technicians. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Do Radiology Technicians Do?
Radiology technicians perform X-rays on patients in order to diagnose diseases. As a radiology technician, you help adjust the equipment to ensure quality exams, prepare patients for radiological imaging procedures, follow safety precautions and review patient records. Besides X-rays, experienced radiology technicians perform mammograms and fluoroscopies, which allow doctors to view the patient's soft tissues.
What Degree Should I Get?
There are a number of programs that prepare you for a career in radiology technology. Popular programs include a 2-year associate's degree or a 4-year bachelor's degree program in radiography.
An associate's degree typically takes two years to complete. The curriculum covers topics involving human anatomy and physiology. You also learn how to work with patients by taking courses in psychology, methods of patient care and patient assessment. Additionally, you gain experience with medical equipment by studying practical radiographic procedures, medical terminology, radiation protection and radiographic imaging.
The bachelor's degree in radiography covers topics in anatomy, radiation physics, medical terminology, medical ethics, radiobiology and pathology. This advanced 4-year degree prepares you to handle more complex and specialized procedures such as MRI and CT procedures, as well as addressing problems in medical imaging.
If you already hold a medical degree in nursing or a related field, you can also prepare for a career in radiology by earning a professional certificate in radiology.
What Other Requirements Do I Need?
Federal requirements require radiologists to be licensed; however, the requirements for the license depend on the state. Check with your state to find out more about the specific requirements for the license.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers radiology technologists professional certification. Although the certification is not required, it offers employers proof of professional knowledge and standards. Radiology technicians who work in hospitals and other critical care facilities may also be required to obtain a Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) card.
What is the Outlook for my Career and Wages?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, the middle half of radiology technicians earned $42,710-$63,010 a year (www.bls.gov). Medical and surgical hospitals and diagnostic laboratories employ most radiology technicians.
From 2008-2018, employment prospects for radiology technologists were expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations, reports the BLS. As radiological procedures become less expensive, they will become a much more common part of treatment for various medical conditions for a growing number of aging baby boomers.
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