Estimated reading time: 5 mins
X-rays continue to fascinate you since childhood. Today, you reached a point where you are seriously considering a career in the field of radiologic technology.
Interestingly, analysts predict that the radiologic technology industry will continue to grow over the next decade. A 9% growth rate fuels this projection. Despite this promising outlook, one doesn’t become a radiologic technologist overnight.
Apart from getting the right education, you need to fully understand what the job entails. So how do you enter the industry? What type of skill set does the community expect from you?
Continue reading below as we look beyond the X-rays en route to a career path in radiologic technology.
Radiologic Technology: What Is It Exactly?
Before we proceed any further, we must first understand what radiologic technology is. In simple terms, it refers to radiology or X-rays. In essence, it is both the art and science of using radiation to generate images.
These images often show images of important parts of the body. Normally, doctors need X-rays to get a better view of people’s organs, bones, vessels, and soft tissues for diagnosis. The traditional way of securing these images involves the use of an X-ray film.
Because of technological advancements, hospitals and radiologic centers can secure the images using video monitors.
Hence, a radiologic technologist is someone who is in charge of the radiographic examinations.
How Do You Become One?
The next big question is “how do you become a radiologic technologist”? Your enthusiasm for X-rays is important but it is certainly not enough.
There are two paths to consider. First, you need to meet some academic requirements. Ideally, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology. The other route is through an associate’s degree.
The latter is what most people opt for. This is because of the less rigorous academic requirements. Along with the associate’s degree, you must also earn a license or certification before you can practice.
In school, you will go through several clinical and classroom training. You will take up courses such as anatomy, pathology, and physics. You will also take on subjects like imaging evaluation, as well as equipment and safety procedures.
As for the certifications, you may earn them through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. They will give you a certification exam. You will also need to pass their ethics and educational requirements.
Additionally, you need to pursue continuing education to maintain your certification. Click on the link to learn more about CE credits for radiologic technologists.
The Duties of a Radiologic Technologist
If you think the task of radiologic technologists only involves pressing the right buttons, then you cannot be any farther from the truth. But that is normal since several misconceptions are surrounding the profession.
One of the most common notions is that they only take X-rays and nothing else. In reality, radiologic technologists can also perform mammography and sonography.
Another misconception is that they aren’t any different from radio technicians. Essentially, the latter’s main focus is on prepping the patients. They are also in charge of the imaging procedures.
Technologists take care of the analysis and interpretation of the images. Yes, radiological technologists can also perform the MRIs and X-rays, but that’s only the beginning of their duties.
As a technologist, you must know how to operate the machines and equipment. Not only that, you must know how to operate them while ensuring the safety of the patients. This is because X-rays and other equipment emit harmful radiation.
Also, you must be capable of following the doctor’s instructions to the smallest detail. This is crucial since you want the most accurate images possible.
Apart from maintaining and operating equipment, you must also work with the doctors. The latter need your inputs regarding the analysis and interpretation of the images.
Qualities That Matter
Like in any other profession, you need to have the right skills and qualities to succeed. For the skills, you can learn most of them in school. As for the other qualities, some of the most important ones involve your personality.
A good radiologic technologist must have empathy and compassion. This means having the ability to connect with the patients. This is important since some patients feel tense and anxious during procedures.
You must have good communication skills. This is essential because patients may ask you questions regarding the procedure. Hence, you need to respond with clarity.
The quality of your responses and your approachable demeanor will help relax the patients.
Furthermore, you need to have a sense of teamwork. Collaboration is a requirement in the analysis and interpretation of the images. Doctors will expect you to help in creating a treatment plan for the patients.
You must also have lots of patience and resolve. Sometimes, patients line up to the radiology room to get MRIs and X-rays. This means you will be operating the machines continuously.
With all the anxiety of the patients, your job becomes emotionally demanding.
Is It Rewarding?
Working in the medical industry is rewarding in many ways. Before we go to the monetary aspect, a sense of fulfillment comes when you are helping other people. Keep in mind that you are playing an important role in arriving at a treatment for patients.
When it comes to the pay, MRI technologists received a median annual wage of $71,670 in 2018. The highest earners made $99,180 while the lowest received $50,220.
As for the leading industries where you can work, outpatient care centers top the list. Next are the medical and diagnostic laboratories; the private and public hospitals; and private offices of doctors.
We also mentioned earlier the positive outlook for the radiologic technology industry. This is further strengthened by the aging baby-boomer population. As this generation gets older, some will experience different kinds of ailments that require X-rays and MRIs.
Explore Other Opportunities
Becoming a radiologic technologist takes a lot of patience and hard work. You need to go through proper training. You must match your knowledge with the right attitude.
If you have yet to make your final decision, you can still explore the dynamic world of the medical industry. We publish articles that will help you understand opportunities in the industry.