Imagine, you’re out having fun dancing, rock climbing, or strolling down your favorite scenic path when “snap!” you break one of your bones. You rush to the hospital and one of the first requests that the physician asks for, is an x-ray to determine the extent of your injury. Just who is that person that is sending radiation through your body to get a peek at your bones? That person is the Radiologic Technologist (Rad Tech). The hospital, however, is not the only place where you may run into a Rad Tech. Rad Techs work in various places and can specialize in several areas. As people get older, they are more likely to require radiation imaging to assess the medical problems they face. A career as a Rad Tech requires schooling and is filled with opportunities for great pay, growth, and options for change.
What exactly is a Rad Tech? “Radiologic Technologists are the medical personnel who perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy treatments.” (“Who Are Radiologic Technologists”). In other words, Rad Techs are trained to operate machines, that use radiation, to provide images of the human anatomy that help doctors diagnosis a patient’s injury or medical problem. They are also trained in patient positioning and radiation safety. Some Rad Techs, such as Radiation Therapists, are even trained to use radiation to help treat cancer. Radiologic Technology is a huge field that encompasses several areas of specialties. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists asserts, “They may specialize in a specific imaging technique such as bone densitometry, cardiovascular-interventional radiography, computed tomography, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine, quality management, sonography or general radiography.” (“Who Are Radiologic Technologists”). These board areas of specialties provide many opportunities for Rad Techs so they may choose the environment in which they like to work in and focus on whichever specialty they prefer. Places Rad Techs may work include hospitals, clinics, and even physicians’ offices. Diversity comes with all these options.
To become a Rad Tech, there are quite a few paths individuals may choose to take. They may study at a trade school, join hospital based programs, or attend college to get an Associate’s and/or Bachelor’s degree. There are many options to help aspiring Rad Techs choose the right path for them. “With nearly 1,000 accredited programs in the United States, there is probably a radiologic technology school near you.” (“Explore Careers in Radiologic Technology”). So, no matter what path one student may choose to take, they should have no problem with finding a Radiologic Technology program that’s the right fit for them. It may be that choosing the right path will be the most difficult decision.
Let’s compare all the different schooling options there are to become a Rad Tech. “Registered Radiologic Technologists — known as “R.T. s” — must complete at least two years of formal education in an accredited hospital-based program or a two- or four-year educational program at an academic institution and must pass a national certification examination.” (“Who Are Radiologic Technologists”). Therefore, one option to become a Rad Tech is to attend a trade school. Trade schools are perfect for students who want to jump right into the Radiologic Technology career field as soon as they can. Although trade schools provide a quick opportunity to enter the field they do not come with a degree which is required to provide further career advancement as a Rad Tech. On the other hand, attending a college will give students the opportunity to receive a degree as well as a certificate at the time of completion, which is highly desirable by medical institutions. There is also hospital based programs that partner with some colleges. Students who choose to take this route receive more hands-on experience in the radiology field due to the amount of time spent in an actual hospital. All these paths provide students the knowledge, information, and preparation needed to become a Rad Tech.
The process in becoming a Rad Tech is rigorous. One program for example is the Arrowhead Regional Center’s program, which is partnered with Crafton Hills College. “The Classroom and Clinical schedule is full time, forty hours per week at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.” (Hunter 5). With those hours, being in this program, which is like others out there, is like holding a full-time job. Throughout the program students learn a variety of information regarding radiologic technology including patient care, as well as subjects like anatomy, physics, computer science, and medical terminology. The primary focus of all Radiologic Technology schools is to prepare Rad Tech professionals. “The mission of the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology is to provide the educational environment necessary to prepare graduates who are competent in diagnostic radiography and possess the professional ethics and practices associated with quality patient care.” (Hunter 2). The Arrowhead Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology is a great example of what radiologic technology programs are designed for and are like.
Radiologic Technologists earn a good salary. “The median annual wage for radiologic and MRI technologists was $58,120 in May 2015.” (“Radiologic and MRI Technologists”). That’s more than the current average persons’ salary in America. Then, with the dedication with wanting to improve and grow, Rad Techs can earn even more. “With experience, additional education or supervisory responsibilities, salaries can reach $65,000 to $85,000 per year, depending on area of specialization.” (“Explore Careers in Radiologic Technology”). These salaries are all dependent on individual improvement that can be achieved and is encouraged in the field of radiology. The pay is good and the job outlook for all fields of Rad Techs is promising. Per the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Employment of radiologic technologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.” (“Radiologic and MRI Technologists”). These statistics show that a career as a Rad Tech is reliable.
The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook has a comprehensive comparison of a few specialties for the Rad Tech. An entry level Rad Tech’s work is minimal compared to that of a Nuclear Medicine Technologist’s, a specialty in which Rad Techs may choose to practice. “Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients.” (“Radiologic and MRI Technologists.”). Rad Techs provide basic scans while Nuclear Medicine Technologist provide more advanced medical treatment. “They prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients. The radioactive drugs cause abnormal areas of the body to appear different from normal areas in the images.” (“Nuclear Medicine Technologists”). With extra schooling and training, Nuclear Medicine Technologists (NMT) are considered more advanced than the traditional Rad Tech. When comparing the two, Rad Techs and NMTs, they greatly differ in the difficulty of work and in salaries. While Rad Techs earn roughly $58,120 per year (“Radiologic and MRI Technologists”), NMTs earn closer to $73,360 per year (“Nuclear Medicine Technologists”). These are just two out of many specialties which Rad Techs may choose from.
Job satisfaction, great pay, and a plethora of career specialty choices makes the opportunities in the radiology field seem almost limitless! Radiologic Technologists are an important part of patient care in the medical field, making them an important role in society. There are plenty of options for one to become a Rad Tech and for those desiring a good career in the medical field, Rad Tech is a good choice. Will you consider becoming a Radiologic Technologist one day?
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Radiologic and MRI Technologists.” Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm. (visited March 3, 2017).
From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a section of their Occupational Outlook Handbook which includes information on Radiologic Technologists. It provides a summary of who Radiologic Technologist are and what they do, as well as what kind of education one needs to become one, and statistics about this career field. I plan on using this source to help me provide a summary of what Radiologic Technologist do. Also, this source provides statistics on job outlook, pay, and more information that I will include in my report. This source is one that is extremely credible because it comes straight from the U.S. Department of Labor. It will help with fact checking the data I provide.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Nuclear Medicine Technologists.” Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nuclear-medicine-technologists.htm. (visited March 3, 2017).
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a section of their Occupational Outlook Handbook which includes information on Nuclear Medicine Technologists. Nuclear Medicine Technology is one specialty, of many, which Radiologic Technologists may branch into. This source includes a variety of information on this specialty. The statistics it contains, are based off an average of the country, which helps cover most, if not all, positions that are held in this field. It is useful to compare Nuclear Medicine Technologists with Radiologic Technologists and other specialties they can choose. To help me compare, I plan on using the statistics on pay and job outlook that this source offers. This source comes straight from the U.S. Department of Labor, which is credible.
“Explore Careers in Radiologic Technology.” American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 2017. https://www.asrt.org/main/careers/careers-in-radiologic-technology/explore-careers. (visited March 3, 2017).
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists is a professional association for people in the Radiologic Technology field. This source comes from the ASRT’s website. It states the different specialties that Radiologic Technologists may choose to practice. This source also helps layout the many opportunities there are in this field and gives the reader an idea of what it would be like to have a career as a Radiologic Technologist. Although it provides minimal information, it still gives great highlighted points which I will be using. The ASRT is the largest certification agency there is for Radiologic Technology related certifications, making this source reliable.
Hunter, Morris. “ARMC School of Radiologic Technology Brochure.” Arrowhead Med Center, 09/27/2016. https://www.arrowheadmedcenter.org/files/RadBrochure.pdf?112016. (visited March 3, 2017).
This source is the brochure from the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology. It provides all the information that you need to know about their school if you are considering to attend. It lists the prerequisites that are required to be accepted into their program. Also, this source explains the courses students take in the program, allowing readers to get a better understanding of what it takes to become a Radiologic Technologist. I plan on using this source to help explain the schooling for Radiologic Technology. This is a reliable source from the ARMC School of Radiologic Technology website.
“Who Are Radiologic Technologists?” American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 2017. https://www.asrt.org/main/careers/careers-in-radiologic-technology/who-are-radiologic-technologists. (visited March 3, 2017).
This is a reliable source from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists’ website. It goes into depth about each specialty there is under Radiologic Technology, and what each position is responsible for. Specialties such as Nuclear Medicine Technologists, Sonographers, and Mammographers just to name a few. This source helps to compare all the specialties there are for this field by explaining the different responsibilities each specialty holds. Also, I plan on using this source to help explain, in detail, what a Radiologic Technologist does.
Picture 1: http://members.issrt.org/
Picture 2: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3w2mm2
Picture 3: https://www.arrowheadmedcenter.org/mpRadGraduation.aspx
Picture 4: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm