The primary job of radiologic technologists is to facilitate physicians in identifying injuries and illnesses by using different diagnostic imaging equipment and techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray equipment, computed tomography, mammography, etc. They are often specialized in one or several types of diagnostic imaging technologies and receive titles according to that particular technique (McKay). Further, their duties and responsibilities are to receive specific instructions from the physicians about which parts of the body need to be scanned and operate the imaging equipment accordingly; explain the detailed procedure to patients; position patients and equipment for optimal operation; follow strict procedures to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation and keep a complete record of patients.
In this way, radiologic technologists collaborate closely with physicians to effectively diagnose the patient’s medical conditions and initiate proper treatment. It implies that they must have essential skills to position patients and use equipment precisely to work on high-quality diagnostic images. Moreover, a dependable personality with a caring and mature nature is also required to offer services in various settings, for example, healthcare facilities, hospitals, mobile imaging companies, research centers, and industrial plants. Marketing positions and commercial sales are available positions for radiologic technologists. They can also pursue their careers as researchers, educators, consultants, and administrators depending upon their preferences and goals (AHRA). However, irrespective of the field of services, radiologic technologists must possess excellent communication skills, empathy and patience, physical stamina, and mathematical ability to accurately and passionately perform their duties.
WAGES AND EARNINGS
In 2018, radiologic technologists were highest-paid by the federal government on an hourly basis at the rate of about $31.3. It was higher than the average salary of $28.6/hour for all radiologic technologists. Moreover, the highest and lowest salary of the top and bottom 10% were $86,350 and $40,630 which is equal to $41.51/hour and $19.53/hour, respectively (McKay). However, the most recent data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the annual salary of radiologic technologists is increasing continuously at a rate of 0.3%. Therefore, it was $30.34 per hour on an average basis in 2019 (Radiologic Technologists). Moreover, the hiring of radiologic technologists will rise significantly by 12% in 2026 due to the increased number of elderly patients and the growing demand for diagnostics of severe fractures and breaks caused by osteoporosis (“Radiologic Technologists”). This rate of growth is 5% higher than the average growth of all occupations in the country.
The career starts with the relevant associate degree certified by a specific radiology program and then the license of specialization in the chosen field. Therefore, the common entry point is the bachelor’s degree for radiologist assistants while the master’s degree is the prerequisite for advanced careers in radiology assisting, developing, designing, and testing radiologic equipment. The most common specializations include CT scan, X-Ray, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, and Radiation Therapy. Therefore, the entry-level job is quite different from an advanced-level job where radiologic technologists work only in a specified area and perform technically complex jobs.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
The fundamental requirement for securing a job as a radiologic technologist is to attain an associate degree accredited by a particular radiography program. These programs have different coursework classes to teach image evaluation, pathology, anatomy, and radiation physics. However, the preparation for this career can begin at high school by taking science courses i.e. biology, chemistry, physics, advanced mathematics, and anatomy.
But some states also have a requirement of license for radiologic technologists that have a prerequisite of an associate degree program duly endorsed by “the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology” and a written examination offered by the “American Registry of Radiologic Technologists”. In addition, appropriate training and experience are mandatory to perform different diagnostic procedures such as CT scans that involve the collection of X-ray images to inspect the object without any surgical intervention.
Moreover, to specialize in a specific diagnostic test such as mammography, cardiac interventional radiography, bone densitometry, and vascular sonography, additional training, and ARRT certification are also required. Once the desired specialization is acquired, radiologic technologists can work solely in the specialized area upon extensive work experience. However, disregard the particular imaging technology, a radiologic technologist must have the relevant educational background to follow the precise instructions and operate equipment accordingly along with maintaining a positive attitude of helping patients to the best of his capabilities.
Center for Student Success provided me an insight into relevant resources and skills required to gain success on my career path. More importantly, the platform helped me to establish contact with several healthcare professionals to understand better the requirements of the field and workplace. After having different sessions with the professionals at the center of student success, I am much more confident and determined to pursue my career as a radiologic technologist. Also, it helped me identify the different core skills and knowledge that I must acquire during my college to earn a relevant degree and certificate in the later stages of my career.
Moreover, the various seminars organized by the center provided me a relative assessment of different professions in terms of their scope and economic benefits that further developed my career goals.
AHRA. “A World of Career Opportunities in Radiologic Technology.” Www.Ahra.org, 2018, www.ahra.org/AHRA/Careers/A_World_of_Career_Opportunities.aspx.
McKay, Dawn Rosenberg. “Radiologic Technologist Job Description: Salary, Skills, & More.” The Balance Careers, 2019, www.thebalancecareers.com/radiologic-technologist-526061#:~:text=Radiologic%20technologists%20use%20diagnostic%20imaging. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.
“Radiologic Technologists.” Bls.Gov, 9 Sept. 2008, www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292034.htm.