Radiology Technician Review
Radiology technicians must be capable of working with advanced imaging technology and communicating effectively with others. The job can be physically strenuous at times, so not everyone may be interested in the abundance of opportunities in this field.
Perfect for those who work well with technology and people
As a radiology technician, you spend a lot of time working with machines, patients, and other medical professionals. Strong people skills are needed to set the patients at ease and communicate effectively with the doctors who’ve ordered the diagnostic imaging. At the same time, you must understand how to use and maintain the technology needed to produce the images. This requires a completely different skill set, but one that’s equally important to being successful as a radiology technician. Individuals who excel in both of these areas should have no trouble succeeding at their job.
Stand out by specializing
Once you’ve gained some experience as a radiology technician, consider specializing in order to enhance your skills and improve your job prospects. There are several areas you can choose from: X-rays, mammography, CT scanning, or MRI technology. Becoming an MRI technologist requires more training and years of experience in the field, but you also make more on average than a radiology technician specializing in one of these other areas. All specializations require you to be certified or licensed to ensure you know how to properly deliver care and protect the patient from overexposure to radiation. And should you choose to do so, you also have the option to get certified in more than one specialty, which makes you even more valuable to prospective employers.
Plenty of job opportunities
The number of radiology technicians in the country is expected to grow by about 21% in the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This amounts to over 40,000 new job openings. In today’s economy, this indicates you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job once you’ve secured the proper degree and certifications. Remember that those who have experience with more than one type of diagnostic imaging technology will have more job opportunities to choose from than those who are only certified in one area.
Get started with just a certificate
Though most radiology technicians pursue an associate’s degree, you’re able to get started in the field with just a postsecondary certificate. These programs are offered at hospitals and medical centers as well as community colleges around the country. The length of the program varies, but most take between a year and a half and two years to complete. Many states require that you graduate from an accredited program to become licensed as a radiology technician. If you’re not sure whether the programs available in your area are accredited or not, check out the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology’s website. They provide a tool that helps you locate accredited programs in your area.
Frequent exposure to radiation
Working around radiation is part of the day-to-day activities for radiology technicians, so it’s important to cautiously follow all safety procedures. In order to ensure the safety of workers, hospitals monitor the amount of radiation people are exposed to. In addition, technicians wear protective gear and ensure patients are also protected from excessive amounts of radiation. As long as you follow the recommended safety procedures, you shouldn’t have to worry about overexposure to radiation, though this is something you should bear in mind when considering a career as a radiology technician.
Physically demanding job
As a radiology technician, most of your day is spent on your feet. You may also have to lift or transport patients who are disabled or otherwise immobile. This type of physical activity is common among vocational medical careers, but it may not appeal to everyone. If this is a problem for you, consider some other vocational careers that require less physical activity.
- Career Growth (2012-2022): 21%
- Median Pay: $54,620
- Number of Jobs: 199,200
- Number of New Jobs (2012-2022): 41,500