Radiologic Technologists earn a median annual salary of $52,000. This figure is derived from wage surveys taken in May of 2008. The majority of professionals in radiology earned in the range of $42,000 to $63,000 per year. Fewer than 10% of radiology professionals make less than $35,000 per year. The highest earners in this field make over $74,000 per year. Those in medical and diagnostic laboratories earn approximately $55,000. Others that work for the federal government earn about $53,000 per year. Radiology professionals employed at hospitals and surgical centers make approximately $52,000 per year. Those employed by a physician’s office make $48,000. Salaries in radiology are very lucrative. The amount of education required is less than that of many professions, and the salary is greater than many other jobs requiring more years of education.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Radiologic Technicians perform examinations with radiation. The equipment used by these professionals is used to take images of the human body. Some of the exams performed by these professionals includes the following: mammography, tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. These technicians produce x-ray films that are used to determine if there is disease or an abnormality present in the body. The radiologic technician will prepare the patient for the exam by explaining to the patient what is going to be examined. This professional then removes jewelry and other items that would show up in the x-ray. The technician surrounds other areas with a lead shield; this protects these areas from unnecessary radiation. Sometimes they will adjust the size of the radiation laser beam to limit exposure. The skilled radiologic professional knows how to position the equipment for the best x-ray. Oftentimes, the technologist will measure the area to determine what density, contrast, and detail is needed for the x-ray.
Furthermore, the radiologic technician must follow the instructions of the doctor, and this professional must adhere to regulations set by the radiology boards. This is to protect the radiologist, patients, and co-workers from exposure from dangerous amounts of radiation. Also, the radiologist is responsible for maintaining the x-ray equipment and handling medical records. Some may manage an entire radiology department, make work schedules, and order supplies.
Many radiologists choose to specialize in specific areas of radiology. Many of these areas are more complex than simple x-rays. It is important for a professional in radiology to have good physical endurance. The position requires standing for long periods of time. Also, this professional will have to lift patients with disabilities. Some procedures can be performed at the patient’s bedside. Radiology professionals may have to be mobile. Some have a van and travel to the patient’s location. There is some danger of radiation exposure; however, the exposure can be limited by use of lead aprons and other protective clothing. The radiology professionals wear badges that measure the dosage of radiation, and there are records kept on the lifetime exposure of the professional. Many radiologists work normal 40 hour weeks. However, some work alternate schedules and weekend schedules.
The job outlook in this field is good. Aging patients are increasing; thus, there is a need for more medical professionals to treat patients. The Bureau of Labor indicates that job growth should continue into 2020. People interested in this field that are trained properly should have a good chance of employment. The future looks promising in the field of radiology.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Radiologic Technologist Training and Education Requirements
There are many radiology training programs throughout the country that offer accredited degree programs. A student can obtain a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree in radiology. A certificate program can take between 21 to 24 months to complete. The Joint Review Committee on Radiology is the accrediting body that reviews school programs. There are numerous accredited programs in community colleges, universities, and vocational schools. The coursework consists of clinical and classroom work. Students learn about human anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and many other health related topics.
Radiologic Technologist Certifications
Federal laws and guidelines must be followed when dealing with radiology. The government seeks to protect the public from the hazards of radiology by requiring radiologic technicians to be properly trained. Each state must require a license to practice as a radiologic technician. The American Registry of Radiology Technologists offers opportunities for voluntary certification. In fact, some states require potential radiology professionals to pass this exam. The criteria for this certification includes graduating from an ARRT accredited radiology program. The graduate must then pass an examination to be deemed certified. This credential is helpful to a radiologist’s career; employers tend to prefer professionals with this designation.
Radiologic Technologist Professional Associations
The American Society of Radiology Technologists is one of several professional associations in the field. Professionals can receive increased knowledge in their field by being a member. This organization contributes to the high standards of excellence in radiology. The groups seeks to advance and promote safe radiology practices. The organization acts as an advocate of the profession. In addition, members can network among each other. They can establish professional relationships that can be instrumental in their career.
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