Radiologic Technologist Careers

A career in radiologic technology can be highly rewarding, challenging, and lucrative. There are a number of exciting different specialization options in this field which can be tailored to your career goals. Radiologic technicians work daily with the cutting edge of science and technology to help patients get the diagnosis and the treatment they need.

Benefits of a Career in Radiologic Technology

This field offers a wide array of choices to the professionals who choose it. You may use your talents to detect heart blockages, help patients fight cancer, or help bring happy, health babies into the world. The range of choice ensures you won’t easily get bored in this field.The salaries in radiological technology are also highly competitive. Many entry level positions start around $44,000 a year and may go up to $85,000 a year. Most people entering this profession have far fewer student loans than other health care professionals starting out, meaning it’s easier to save for yourself and your family.

There are also quite a few schools that offer radiologic technology degrees. You may choose to pursue either an associate’s or a four year bachelor’s degree in this field. Either will qualify you for jobs in the field. There are currently nearly 1,000 accredited programs in this field in the United States, meaning you probably don’t have to travel very far from home to start your career in this field.

Radiological Technologists should have a close attention to detail and a love of math and science. They will encounter a need for these skills in their daily lives, both in running the machines and in determining what steps might be next.

Strong interpersonal skills are also a huge asset to a Radiological Technologist. Patients who need to be scanned or diagnosed are often fearful, uncomfortable, or in pain, and most scanning machines require them to hold absolutely still to get a clear picture. Being able to clearly communicate what the procedure will be like and keep the patient relaxed and calm are crucial components of the job. You will also be working in close consort with the doctors to form a diagnosis and must be comfortable working as part of a team.

You should also be in decent physical shape. Many professionals in this field spend most or all of the day on their feet running tests and ensuring the results get where they need to go. This does require a degree of stamina on the part of the technologist.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Professionals in this specialization use imaging equipment that is based on sound waves to determine a medical diagnosis. They are frequently further specialized by area, working in abdominal, breast, musculoskeletal, neurological, or obstetric and gynocologic sonography. They examine everything from organs and tumor growth to the healthy growth and development of a fetus in the womb.

You can begin a career in this specialization with either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, and can expect to make around $64,380 a year.

X-Ray Technician
Also known as radiologic technologists, these professionals administer and interpret x-ray scans to help determine if a bone has been broken, dislocated, or otherwise damaged. They can also sometimes also help diagnose a chest infection. People in this career typically have an associate’s degree and are licensed by the state they work in. You can expect to make around $54,340 a year in this job.

MRI Technician
An MRI Technician employs a magnetic resonance device in order to get a more detailed and accurate scan of a patient’s body. An MRI can help diagnose everything from heart defects and embolisms to strokes and brain tumors. It is a more involved process than taking an x-ray, and requires a close attention to detail. It also helps if you have a good bedside manner, since both the procedure itself and the possible diagnoses that can come from it may be frightening to patients. MRI technicians may have either their associate’s or bachelor’s degree, and must be registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). You can expect to make around $58,000 a year in this field.

Cardiovascular Technologist
Professionals in this specialization help doctors diagnose diseases and deformities of the heart and vascular system. They may also be a part of treating patients for blood clots. Their work may include noninvasive procedures, such as sonograms, or invasive procedures, such as inserting a catheter into an artery. They may also make use of an EKG and administer stress tests. Technicians in this field may either be trained on the job or more commonly, through an associate’s degree program. You can expect to make around $49,410 a year in this field.

Radiation Therapist
Radiation Therapists work with patients who have cancer. They use machinery, computers, and diagnostic tests to deliver a precise amount of radiation to the precise location of the cancerous cells in an effort to destroy them without harming the patient. They must keep extremely thorough records and may use and x-ray machine to pinpoint the precise location of a tumor for more accurate treatment. They are also responsible for determining if a patient is having an unusual or adverse reaction to the treatment.

Professionals in this field must have either a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in radiation therapy and must meet the licensure requirements for their individual state. Radiation Therapists make an average of $74,980 per year.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Nuclear Medicine Technologists use radioactive solutions, which are either injected into or ingested by the patient in order to diagnose certain diseases, such as cancer. Since the body has different uptake rates of radiation in abnormal areas than it does in normal areas, either more or less, the technologist can locate tumors and other abnormalities using this radioactive dye.

Professionals in this field must carefully observe all safety precautions and keep detailed record on their personal radiation exposure in order to keep themselves safe. They typically have an associate’s degree in nuclear medical technology and make an average yearly salary of $68,560.

There are a number of different professional organizations you can join, depending on your education level and career path in this field.

Those interested in the general field of Radiologic Technology may be interested in the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology in order to find an accredited school in the field orASRT Education and Research Foundation, which has a number of scholarships available to people about to start a career in the field.. They may also be interested in the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

For students and professionals interested in sonography, there is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, which has a list of accredited programs in the field. TheSociety of Diagnostic Medical Sonograph offers a society for already established professionals. They do have advice for those looking to break into the field, however.

Those looking to get into nuclear medicine may find interest in the list of accredited schools from theJoint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology. The Society of Nuclear Medicine is available to those who are already professionals in the field.

Radiological Technology can result in a solid, in demand, well paying career that both challenges the professional and offers immeasurable help and comfort the the patient. It is not for everyone, so be sure to do your research into what the job entails before committing to a program, but if you enjoy science and technology and love helping people, radiologic technology might be a good choice for you.