If you have heard that becoming a radiologic technologist (often referred to as a radiology technologist or radiology technician) is a promising career, it is true! As the baby boomer generation retires, many medical opportunities will open up for radiologic technologists.
This article will teach you how to get a radiologic technologist job, the requirements, and will help you decide if the career is right for you.
What does a Radiologic Technologist do?
A radiologic technologist performs x-rays on patients using diagnostic imaging equipment while under the guidance and direction of a physician. A physician may order a diagnostic imaging procedure on a patient as a method to diagnose certain medical conditions. The radiologic technologist must prepare the patients for the examination room, position the patients, and develop the images following the examination.
Community colleges, four-year universities, vocational institutions and specific hospitals offer training for aspiring radiologic technologist. Depending on the requirements of the program and what you want to accomplish, you may complete the training within one to four years. If you intend to obtain a degree in the field or radiology and medical sonography, you must undergo a two-year associate’s degree program or a four-year bachelor’s degree program.
In general, most of the programs offered by hospitals and vocational institutions (be careful with for-profit ones) are radiology certification programs. If you’re interested in applying to an educational institution or hospital-based program, you will be required to possess a high school diploma or G.E.D. It is beneficial if in high school you did well in in math, biology, and chemistry courses.
A typical radiology training program includes a combination of classroom training and clinical training. Many of the colleges and universities require students to also complete general educational courses, such as Algebra, English and sociology. Some of the specific courses for a radiography training program are anatomy, radiation safety, physiology, biology, diagnostic imaging, pulmonary diagnostics, patient care procedures, and medical terminology. During the laboratory and clinical courses, students develop skills in using diagnostic equipment, preparing patients for laboratory services, administering medications, radiologic exposure, radiologic physics, and equipment sterilization.
States may have different rules regarding the license requirements, and thus, it is beneficial to contact your state’s health board for additional details. However, most states require candidates for state certification or license to complete the ARRT credentials for certification, run by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. You may also be required to pay a fee to become licensed in your state.
Once you complete an AART-recognized educational program for radiology, you are eligible to sit for the certification exam. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and essay questions. There are also continuing educational requirements for renewal of your AART certification. Don’t forget to renew your certification every two years.
In addition to maintaining a radiologic technologist’s state license and ARRT certification, many employers also require candidates to have experience in the employer’s industry or the physician’s specialty. You may also be required to have a CPR certification or BLS certification from the American Heart Association.
Industry and Work Environment
Radiologic technologist typically work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, diagnostic laboratories and outpatient care systems. They spend a considerable amount of time on their feet. Depending on specialty area of the physician, a radiologic technologist may be required to lift patients who are disabled. Many radiologic technologist work full-time schedules. The work times may vary, especially in hospitals, emergency health care centers and medical laboratories.
A radiologic technologist must be able to pay attention to details when examining the diagnostic imaging results and follow the physician’s instructions. The radiologic technologist must have the ability to communicate effectively with different types of patients and have sensitivity towards patients with certain medical concerns.
In summary, you can complete an accredited training program in radiology that leads to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Most states require radiologic technologist to maintain a state license or certification. The educational programs can also prepare students for certification, if your state requires aspiring radiologic technologist to acquire certification or a license.