What does it take to become a radiology technician? Not that much for the huge benefits that come with pursuing the career path. Radiology technicians perform imaging examinations on patients, and help doctors diagnose patients based on the results of the examinations.
They use x-rays, computerized axial tomography scans (better known as CAT), positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, and breast scanners. During examinations, the technician must guide the patient through the procedure to guarantee quality images.
The field of radiology is quickly becoming one of the most popular fields of study and it’s easy to see why. While the increased popularity means that there will be heavy competition for entrance into radiology education programs and careers, statistics show a healthy rate of job-growth for the foreseeable future.
If you like working with your hands and being active during your time on the job, this career path may be right choice for you. You will be operating sophisticated machinery, mixing chemicals for imaging, positioning patients, and active in every process you must accomplish.
You won't be confined to a desk and a computer--even though you will work at both. You can move around and interact with different patients and experience new situations, which can help stave off monotony.
While starting out you may have to work the graveyard shift, but radiology technicians usually get long periods of time off after their inception into the field. Many work three 12 hour shifts and usually one more to make 40 hours, followed by 3 days off. If you clock enough time at a hospital, you could potentially get normal weekends off as well.
Sometimes your weekend might be Monday thru Wednesday, but there aren't many jobs around that will give you 3 days off. If you enjoy free time and don't mind being flexible with your schedule, then this job is for you. It definitely beats the 9-to-5 drag.
Many radiology technicians can work alone as the job offers a great level of autonomy, allowing you to make decisions for yourself and practically be your own boss-- even though you will have to answer to others. Although you'll be functioning as part of a team, there will be plenty of time where you might be alone and left to your own skills.
However, if you like working with people, you have that opportunity as well. You'll constantly be working with patients and ensuring their care. There are also doctors, radiologists, and other techs that you'll coordinate and work alongside to ensure the highest quality of care. Its a great position if you're someone who enjoys working in conjunction with others, but not constantly.
You can have a profound impact on patients and are in a great position to facilitate healing, discern aliments, and save lives. This job will make you feel important and needed. It will add to your overall satisfaction to know you're a fundamental component of a healthcare team and are making a true difference, as opposed to working a desk job where your contribution goes unseen.
Helping others, in turn, helps you. When you impact the lives of others, you gain a sense of pride, providing you with a degree of value that compensation simply cannot. Additionally, your contributions come without the blood and body fluids like other healthcare jobs.
Since there are so many jobs that need filled, you'll have a broad spectrum of choices as to where you'd like to be employed. There aren't many fields you can pursue with the knowledge that you can move wherever you'd like and prospects largely will remain the same. Becoming a radiology technician will almost guarantee that you'll find a position in any area.
However, as with any healthcare professional just starting out, avoiding small towns may be wise as their facilities have few openings. Many cities in the U.S. are hotbeds for the healthcare industry and ought to be considered before most others. You will have no problem transferring to another hospital once you've gained the necessary experience and a rapport.
Having more credentials will make you more valuable in a myriad of locations around the U.S.. You will have very little difficulty finding a job once you have all the proper credentials completed. Since the outlook is so positive, there are many positions that need to be filled. In fact, hospitals are having trouble filling new positions since the influx of newly-covered patients initiated by the Affordable Care Act.
There has been such a large number of new patients that hospitals have had to staff-up quickly and has dramatically increased the demand for talented candidates.
Although the future career prospects for aspiring radiology technicians seem promising, there are several other careers that could be pursued that are similar in many ways. These careers include diagnostic medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, and nuclear medicine technologists.
All of these careers entail operating various imaging equipment and helping doctors properly diagnose medical conditions. Although, while similar in practice, these careers all have different requirements, some of which may vary from state to state.
Another point to take into account when considering this career field is job growth. Employment for radiology technicians is projected to increase 21 percent by the year 2022, which equates to nearly 50,000 new openings.
Prospects look particularly promising due to the aging Baby Boomer population, in which technicians manage breaks and fractures caused by osteoporosis and other factors as they age. As unfortunate as future health prospects are, they will translate into a secure professional and financial outlook for many looking to get into the medical field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a radiology technician is $55,910, which breaks down to about $26.88 per hour. The average starting salary is a solid $46,500 per year and almost all employees receive great benefits. For some, the salary and the benefits alone are enough to make the leap into the field of radiology.
If you decide to specialize in different areas, like medical dosimetry, you can make upwards of $100,000. If you decide to go on to get a bachelor's degree and become a radiologist, you can make upwards of $500,000, while the median salary is around $300,000-- still not too shabby.
A two-year associate’s degree is the most common route to becoming a radiology technician, with some states also requiring a license. There are also specializations you can learn, the most common being the MRI specialization. MRI specialists usually begin as radiology technicians, before specializing later in their careers.
While becoming a radiology technician only requires a two-year associate’s degree, the areas of study are anything but a breeze. These include anatomy, pathology, image evaluation, radiation physics and protection, and patient care. Education programs combine both classroom and clinical training, allowing students to learn and fulfill their academic requirements while gaining valuable experience.
All things considered, radiology is a career path that offers projected growth, security, a competitive salary, and benefits. A majority of radiologic and MRI technicians work in hospitals, while the remaining work in other health care facilities. Regardless of where one decides to work, their primary responsibility is caring for their patients.
However, with all of the responsibilities that come with this position, one thing is clear: for anyone willing to put in the time and effort, the sacrifices can lead to great rewards and are worth making.