Radiology Technician – Nature of Work
Radiology Technicians are the persons who are engaged in taking medical imaging of patients for diagnostic purposes. They are also called as radiographers or x-ray techs. The Radiology technicians use radiation equipment to help diagnose medical problems. Different sub-types of radiology include but not limited to X-rays, Mammograms, Computerized Tomography (CT or CAT scans), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
The role of the Radiology Technicians is to prepare the patients for X-rays, operate/maintain the X-ray equipment, maintain patient records, and take forward the radiology department. The main responsibility for them is to prevent any unnecessary radiation exposure to their patients, coworkers, or themselves. The Radiologic Technologists are required to be knowledgeable in all terminology related to radiography, anatomy, pathology, and has to possess strong interpersonal skills.
In The Article
How to Become a Radiology Technician
To become a Radiology Technician, the candidate should complete education requirements, Pass national ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) certification, and Qualify for state licensing, wherever applicable. Since Radiology technicians use radiation equipment to help diagnose medical problems, they should have many technical job responsibilities.
The candidate has to study courses such as:
- Patient care
- Medical ethics
- Radiation physics and protection
- Image evaluation
Is Radiology Career Right For You?
Radiologic technologists are in a unique position, so before stepping into this carrier, the candidates have to find out whether this Radiology Technician Carrier is best suited for them.
Some of the Basic Requirements are listed below:
- Must have both high-tech skills and have soft people skills
- Must have good Manual dexterity
- Must have Stress tolerance to help people in a significant manner.
- Must have good physical health and have good stamina to work for inconsistent work hours and off-hours repair calls
- Must have excellent critical and Analytical thinking skill and Attention to Detail
- Experience with electronic equipment repair or assembly can be helpful since you have to operate several types of equipment that help physicians diagnose medical conditions. Equipment includes but not limited to Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT), Mammography, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and X-ray
- Must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Must have a supportive and caring disposition
- Must have self-motivation and the ability to work under pressure
- Must organizational and decision-making skills
- Must have the ability to work as part of a team
- Should have confidence in using leading-edge technologies
- Should have basic IT skills
- Should have a high level of emotional intelligence to manage the emotional and distressing situations
- Radiology technicians need to clearly explain all preparations involved with a procedure to ensure everything occurs smoothly.
Radiology Technician Programs
Radiology Technician candidates have to find the right Radiology training program. Colleges and universities help the candidates to train them in the Radiology tech training program. Candidates can choose from certificate, associate’s and bachelor’s programs to enter the field as a radiology technician. Always chose the colleges or schools which are recognized by ARRT.
It is mandatory for a radiology technician to successfully pass an associate degree so as to work in this profession. However, there are bachelor level degrees in this field that can elevate them to higher positions. It is necessary for aspiring students in this field to only undergo a graduate program that is duly accredited. However, voluntary professional certificate course could even be studied by radiology technicians, if they desire to do so.
Three options exist for pursuing a career as a radiology tech: a certificate program that takes one to two years, a two-year associate’s degree, or a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Radiology tech training program options include the following:
- A 20 to 24-month certificate program
- A two-year associate degree
- A four four-year bachelor`s degree
1. Professional Certification
Most professional certification in this field is voluntary, although some employers either require candidates to be certified to be hired or simply prefer to hire such individuals. The earning of the professional certification provides a valuable opportunity for radiology technicians to have contact with one another and to be known for the latest developments in this line of work. Some employers may prefer candidates with Certification courses.
One of the primary certifying agencies within this field is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Certification courses are available for individuals who have graduated from programs that have been accredited by an ARRT-approved accrediting agency. Applicants will also need to pass an examination.
2. Associate Degrees for Radiology Technicians
Students who are willing to become a radiology technician must definitely pass an associate degree since it is a compulsory stipulation. By undergoing this course level, radiology technicians will become equipped to conduct diagnostic imaging examinations that could range from computed tomography, x-rays, mammography and magnetic resonance imaging. The technicians will be becoming well aware of the complications involved in the process of generating x-rays on different organs of the body of human beings while working on diagnosing various medical conditions. Other than giving appropriate counseling to patients about the X-rays process, radiology technicians will also become masters in positioning the patients accordingly and protect the surrounding areas from not getting radiated by means of using the necessary devices. These technicians will be even able to reduce the size of the x-ray towards assuring that no dangers arise.
It is noted that the syllabus for radiology subject in the associate degree programs and bachelor degree and certificate courses are almost the same. However, theory classes and laboratory (practical) sessions are there for subjects like radiation physics, radiation protection, physiology and anatomy, patient care procedures, principles of imaging, pathology, the position of patients, medical terminology and medical ethics. Students at the high school level willing to do a post-secondary education program in radiology can take high school classes in math, physics, chemistry, and biology.
3. Bachelor’s Degree in Radiology Technicians
Students who are willing to study the bachelor degree program in radiology have the opportunity of picking out from a list of choices. This degree program will direct the students towards the radiology technician profession upon successful completion. The bachelor degree study will even make students heighten their knowledge level such that they grow to great heights in the radiation technician profession and become a specialist in various areas.
The positions that students who have finished their bachelor degree studies could be promoted are chief radiology technologist, director, department administrator, and supervisor. It is most probably sought for positions like a director that the relevant applicant needs to be a graduate. While keeping this point in mind, the bachelor’s degree in radiology will be the right course for a person who wishes to pursue a higher level of education can do so only after successful completion of the bachelor degree course.
The subjects that will be taught in the syllabus covering one of these degree courses are medical imaging in the digital environment, issues, and trends in healthcare and management principles for imaging professionals. MRI or CT scanning could be the other areas of specialization that a student can gain. The eligibility for a student to enroll in this bachelor degree course are to submit a high school certificate or equivalent and also the admissions essay or statement of purpose.
In addition to radiology specific skills, be sure your education will give you a strong understanding of the foundational topics, such as patient care, ethics, pathology, anatomy, image analysis, and more.
Both undergraduate and postgraduate training consists of a mix of study and clinical placement, approximately 50% of each. Subjects covered include anatomy, ethics, management, physiology, physics, the practice and science of imaging, and sociology. To maintain their certification, radiology technician must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years.
Salary & Job Outlook
According to 2017 data, Radiology technologists can expect to earn an average salary of $56,670 per year.
Average salaries according to the industry are listed below:
|1||General medical and surgical hospitals||$59,820|
|2||Offices of physicians||$54,290|
|3||Medical and diagnostic laboratories||$57,830|
|4||Outpatient care centers||$60,510|
|5||Federal executive branch||$61,100|
Average salaries according to the industry are listed below:
|6||District of Columbia||$74,910|
Mostly radiology technicians work in a hospital setting. Some other locations include but not limited to physician offices, medical and diagnostic labs, outpatient centers, and even within the federal government. Emergencies may happen at any time of the day, so radiology technicians have to work around the clock shifts.
Career advancement is most powerful employee motivator. Radiology technicians usually move up the career ladder by accepting management positions in radiology and medical imaging departments. Spending one to two years in the role as a radiology technician prior to an entering a special modality program will increase the chance of success.
After passing out their degree course, candidates must take 24 hours of continuing education credits on an annual basis to ensure that their license stays valid. The respective employer who hires them will be paying or sponsoring their continuing education credits. The benefit of gaining knowledge and specialization in the subjects like ultrasound technology, administering tests that require liquid to be ingested by the patient and mammography will be earned by the candidates after completing these certificate courses stated in the three fields. It is also obligatory for candidates to clear the criminal background verification process, that will be conducted.
With experience, you may have the opportunity to get involved in management, teaching, and research. A career as a radiologist can lead to several areas of opportunity including managing a radiology department, teaching at a college, and pursuing additional education to become a radiologist assistant.
Negatives of Radiology Technician Career
The ideal radiology the body shape and health of a radiology technologist must be in line with the specifications in order to qualify. The radiology technician is mostly required to withstand the pressures of daylong standing and positioning and also to lift the patient accordingly to obtain the ideal image. It is imperative for the job applicants to display their skills in concentrating to various details given alongside emulate the safety conditions that are laid down to save the patient, himself/herself and the medical team.
The radiology technicians are normally seen to work in close coordination with other radiologists, technicians, doctors and patients. The basic trait of a radiology technician is to possess excellent communication skills so that the existence of a congenial work atmosphere and top-class care to patients will happen.
The job can be physically strenuous as it involves moving and lifting both patients and equipment. You’ll need to feel comfortable working in a high-pressure environment.
The daily tasks of a radiology technologist require precise work and attention to detail as well as adherence to strict safety procedures. Many times, physicians will confer with technologists in the evaluation process of a patient’s condition. A large part of the job requires giving instructions to patients who may be a bit nervous with the various radiography procedures. A well-trained technologist will be able to give straightforward instructions as well as foster a sense of comfort and confidence to patients.
If you want to help people who are ill or injured and have a background in a health or science-related subject, diagnostic radiography could be the career for you
As a diagnostic radiographer you’ll use x-ray and ultrasound machines, as well as other forms of imaging technology, to look inside a patient’s body and find out what’s causing their illness.
Working in a range of hospital departments, you’ll acquire images to help with the diagnosis of illnesses and injuries. With experience, you may also contribute towards interpreting images, establishing treatment plans and helping with intervention procedures, for example the removal of kidney stones.
As a diagnostic radiographer, you’ll need to:
- To diagnose the patients and work out on the treatment to be given such as the type of radiographic methods to be applied
- Conduct a series of radiographic tests on the patients so that you can generate supreme quality images
- You must show commitment in being vigilant in not allowing radiation to happen in the premises and exhaustive check done on the relevant devices for detecting problems, if any.
- Try to effectively handle patients while referring them so that they do not definitely receive even the minimal additional radiation dose.
- Keep monitoring the patients and staff who move in the places where radiation avoidance work is going
- Show more coordinated work approach at the time of complicated radiological tests that are conducted by surgeons and other radiologists
- Try to render utmost help and reassurance to patients after studying their physical and psychology requirements.
- Closely monitor the work of imaging and radiography support staff
- You must make yourself updated about the health and safety regulations applicable to various areas inclusive of ionizing radiation so that you can help you and all others.
Based on the requirements of each department, the activities of job sharing and part-time could be done. You could look out for a career break but it must be understood by you that it is mandatory for you to keep yourself updated with the latest technologies. This could call for more training or analysis from your end before you return.
The task of enhancing one’s skills must always be an ongoing process. It is imperative for you to build your skillset to outperform others in this radiology technology field and stand out as a fantabulous radiologist.
Here are the some of the qualities that you should possess and improve:
- Getting the perfect images for diagnosing the diseases of your patients and treating them correctly can be possible for you only after completely understanding the given instructions and applying them.
- It is a prerequisite for every individual aspirant to have comprehensive knowledge and skills in the subjects like anatomy, physiology and other sciences
- A person who desires to be in this profession must be well equipped to work with the complicated machinery that is in place.
Radiology Technician Schools & Programs
Schools and colleges that offer Radiology Technician courses are listed below:
- Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR – Oregon Health & Science University is home to the Dotter Interventional Institute for interventional radiology research.
- The University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA – Mock oral board exam helps students prepare for the American Board of Radiology certification exam.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham – The school’s Heart & Vascular Center has 13 labs with state-of-the-art technology.
- Baylor University in Dallas, TX – Residents in this program learn about oncologic imaging through an on-site cancer center.
- Emory University in Atlanta, GA, offers a Global Health Radiology elective program for diagnostic radiology residents.
- At Ohio State University in Columbus, residents in the Diagnostic Radiology Residency program receive a monthly progress report.
- At the University of California – Davis in Sacramento, CA, all students must take part in a 4-week course at the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology.
- The University of Kansas in Kansas City, KS, is home to the state’s only teaching and research hospital.
- At the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, residents train at four medical centers.
- Yale University graduates have gone on to work at some of the most prestigious universities and hospitals in the country. The school is located in New Haven, CT.
Some other colleges that offer these courses are listed below:
- Stanford University
- Duke University
- University of Chicago
- Vanderbilt University
- Georgetown University
- Northwestern University
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
- University of Southern California
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Wake Forest University
- Boston University
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
Some tips for getting hired provided by the experts include:
Different employers may require additional sets of skills and abilities, which vary depending on the industry
- Work hard to prove your value during clinical rotations.
- Start your professional networking early.
- Seek out a colleague or friend who has experience with different equipment and ask them to help you learn more.
- Be persistent.
- Always send a thank-you note to the interviewer.
- Join your state affiliate society and network with imaging professionals who may know of job opportunities.
- Acquire an additional modality beyond radiography.
- Make sure you are very well prepared for the interview.