A radiology technician is also known as a radiographer. There jobs entail a number of tasks; they take X-rays, conduct magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans as well as computed tomography (CT) scans and many other imaging tests that are used to diagnose diseases. They are mainly employed at hospitals as well as imaging centers. The job description of a radiology technician covers not only their duties but also requirements that they need to have for the job.
They are required to have education in the form of a certificate, associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. They also need to complete internship as well as various rotations and then sit the exam that if passed will give them the license to practice.
What does a Radiologic Technician do?
A radiology technician or radiologist technologist as they are sometimes called is a medical professional that is trained in administering the various types of x-rays and radiation therapy as well. This person is supervised by a radiologist who is a specially trained physician that reads the x-rays so as to give a diagnosis and treatment measures.
Requirements for a General Radiology Technician
The technician relates to the client prior to doing the procedure by explaining briefly what they will be doing and what the patient should expect. He or she will also instruct the client to remove any jewelry or other item that may hinder the procedure or that may cause interference with the machines. He or she will also cover parts of the patients body that do not need to be exposed to the x rays with the use of lead shields that are made specifically for this purpose. The radiology technician after doing all of that has to perform their primary duty which is to do the imaging procedure.
They make sure that the machine is at the right place for the type of examination that is to be carried out and will instruct and help the patient to move if it is necessary. When it is necessary the technician will give the client a liquid to drink that will allow for them to be better able to see certain body tissues. Apart from the above mentioned tasks he or she also keeps work schedules as well as inventory of equipment. Although it is the physician that will enlighten the patient the technician will still be able to give a report of what the results entail if necessary and they will be able to advise the client. When working the technician wears gloves and other external paraphernalia such as an apron and shields to protect himself from the harmful radiation that he works with.
Radiology technicians work a regular work week of 40 hours with the exceptions of emergencies where they may be called in especially if they work at a hospital. There are also some that make house calls when there is an emergency or if the patient cannot be moved as per a doctor’s order.
Now you see how demanding the job of a radiology technician is and that there are risks involved in this practice. There are risks involved in this line of work but the benefits of the job will far outweigh the risks. There is an extremely low population of radiology technicians that have become ill because of what they are or have been exposed to at work.
You may be aware of the fact that the medical profession has a lot of jobs that are currently in demand and are projected to continue growing in the months and years to come. A job as a radiology technician is no different. Not only are these jobs always available but they also pay a decent salary. If this last statement has caught your eye here’s a brief introduction before I tell you how much you can earn as a Radiology Technician.
Becoming a Radiology Technician
A Radiology Technician is a person that is qualified as such and uses medical imaging to identify patient’s injuries, evaluate these injuries, and advise on the treatment options for the diagnosed condition or problem.
If you want to become a radiology technician you will want to know about the training involved. It is not a simple process so if you are seeking a profession with quick and easy training then you should probably look to another area of health care. Do not be hasty in making your decision though, at least please read the information here about what you will have to do before you make your decision.
As I said before there is a lot of training involved. You will need to finish a BS of science in radiologic sciences at an accredited university or college which will take you four years full time and more if you are pursuing your degree part time. You will have to complete courses in biology and chemistry as well as other science related courses in order to matriculate for the degree.
There are some persons that opt to do a bachelors degree in another program for example medical assisting as a stepping stone to entering a radiology technician clinical course. When looking for a school look for one that gives student hands on practice with X-rays, MRI’s, CT Scanners and other instruments that they will need to use in their profession. If you will not get hands on experience while in school at least check if you will be able to observe the use of these machines before you graduate. You will also want to look into if the school has an onsite hospital or clinic or is affiliated with any of these.
One of the advantages of doing this is that you will have more to your resume and may stand better chances of being hired. The disadvantage is that you will probably spend more time in school as you will complete a four year degree before specializing. After completing your training you will then need to do an internship that will last for one year. You do not necessarily have to do this depending on the laws of your state so you might want to check that out before hand.
After completing the above, your first couple months of work will be another method of training, hands on training. You can do various rotations in different fields to get a feel of what each field is like. Later on you may want to specialize which will require you to get another certification. When you are done with the above then you can sit your areas radiologist technician board certification. Upon passing this exam you will receive your license to practice.
Radiology technician training cannot be taken lightly, there is quite a bit of work involved both in school and afterwards when doing internship and rotations. You will need to have a good amount of time to dedicate to your studies so think carefully before making your decision.
Radiology Technician Jobs
Jobs in this filed are in very high demand and it is projected that it will continue to be so for a while. Because persons with this certification are in such high demand, places with openings are offering competitive salary and attractive benefit packages. The demand is even higher and the offerings more lucrative and attractive if you have some area of specialty. There are a variety of areas of specialty that you can go into, here are just a few and what the job entails. You will find more jobs as you do your research so you are not limited to the list here. And as the future creates more technological advances there will be more and newer positions that are not currently in existence.
A bone densitometry technologist – these professionals measure bone mineral density at various sites in the body as directed by your physician, which is usually to calculate ones bone loss especially for those who have osteoporosis. This is also done to see the rate of bone loss over a period of time so as to make an estimate of the likelihood that one can have a fracture.
A Cardiovascular Interventional Radiographer – these professionals take x-rays images that are used to diagnose vascular disease as well as other disease of the arteries and veins such as coronary artery disease.
A Computed Tomography Technologist – this profession uses a computer along with radiation to take cross-sectional images of the patient. They will sometimes be required to inject the patient with the fluid that enables the images to be visual.
A Magnetic Resonance Technologist – these professionals do not use x-rays but instead use radio waves as well as magnetic fields and a computer to show images of the tissues in body.
A Mammographer or Mammography Technician– uses radiation to create images for screening and diagnostics of diseases (especially cancer) of the breasts. They at times will provide health education as it results to the breasts.
A Nuclear Medical Technologists– administers radiopharmaceuticals to create images so as to diagnose disorders such as thyroid cancer.
Other general tasks that are performed by Radiologic technicians are preparing patients for their exams, allowing and helping patients to remove their jewellery and other articles which may interfere with the process of the x-ray. They also instruct the patients on how to position for the procedure and sometimes help patients into position. They also position the equipment so that it is at the right angle and distance away from the patient and so as to reduce the risk of unnecessary exposure of the client to the x-rays. They also adjust controls on the equipment so that the desired penetration levels are met so that the images displayed are of the correct details and density.
These are just a few of the radiological technician jobs that are available. These are specialist jobs but you can also find general jobs that do not require additional training once you finish school.
How Much Do Radiologic Technicians Earn?
There are salary differences depending on which state or region you work in but the average starting salary for radiologic technicians just coming out of school and new to the work place is around $18 per hour. For those persons who have been working in radiation therapy, the starting pay is around $25 per hour. If you have additional practice, education and other responsibilities your potential earnings can be up to $30 per hour. Depending on your specialty (Nuclear radiology technicians) you can earn up to $90, 000 a year. You will find too that your salary may be different depending on what sector you work in, whether private or public. On average though, most radiology technicians make around 40 – 45 thousand dollars per year. And this is set to increase in coming years. I have mentioned that if you have added education or training you may get paid more, here are some of the added areas I was speaking of;
- Areas that you can specialize in after earning your degree are sonography, nuclear medicine, mammography, bone densitometry, general radiography, magnetic resonance imaging and cardiovascular-interventional radiography.
- You can specialize in radiation therapy where you would administer radiation to cancer patients.
- You can also qualify for better pay if you have more educational background in the sense of another degree. So if you did a degree in medical assisting as a stepping stone to your radiology technician training then you would earn more based on this additional qualification.
This field is indeed a well paying one especially if you have related experience, an area of specialty or additional education in a health care science. As this career will continue to have a demand for years to come, even if you haven’t started yet you still can begin the journey. By the time you have finished your education these figures could have increased significantly. What are you waiting for? Find yourself a school that offers an accredited program and apply as soon as possible. You know you will not have t worry about job security in the future.