Radiology Technician, Imaging Technician, X-Ray Technician, Radiographer, CT Technician, MRI Technician
A radiologic technician performs imaging, such as X-rays, of the human body for diagnosis or treating medical problems.
A radiologic technologist is a radiology technician that specializes in one of more of the following modalities: Computerized tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), mammography, bone densitometry, and fluoroscopes (imaging of various soft tissues within the body).
- Getting to help people!
- Good pay
- Job security
- Prepares patients for exams, explains the x-ray procedure, preps patients properly for the x-ray, and positions patients so that the correct part of the body can be radiographed.
- Takes the x-rays, develops them, and passes them along to a radiologist (a physician who interprets radiographs) for diagnosis.
- Performs arthrograms - assisting the radiologist with injecting contrast or dye into joints for evaluation. Performs myelograms - assisting the radiologist with injecting contrast into the spinal canal.
- Keeps patient records and adjust and maintains equipment. They also may prepare work schedules, evaluate equipment purchases or manage a radiology department.
- Communication skills
- Patient handling: Must be able to calm the patient through the process.
- Physical strength: Work on your feet and must assist and lift patients who need help.
- Science and math skills
- Compassion: passion for a patient’s well-being.
- Ability to multi-task
- Organizational skills
- Flexible: It is not always the way it is as shown in the books. Must be able to modify each exam to fit the needs of different patient’s limitations.
- Per diem: Work when they need you on a daily basis, no set hours, no set days.
- Temp-to-perm: Temporary employee that could turn into a permanent position.
- Full-time permanent: 40 hours per week at a hospital or facility.
- Works in hospitals, imaging clinics, medical laboratories and private practice.
- Schedules constantly change at most facilities.
- Work weekends and holidays.
- Shift work: days, evenings and graveyard (overnight) shift.
- Not much upward mobility without bachelors or masters degree.
Current graduating students might have to get multiple per diem jobs and then one of them might become a full time position at one of the facilities. There are not a lot of full time positions for new graduates but there are many different options to get in the door, just not the traditional full-time positions.
“I was a very active child. I did not spend much time indoors. I rode bikes with neighborhood kids, played soccer, did Greek dancing, cheerleading, competitive swimming, basketball, softball, hiking, and camping. I'm not able to sit still for very long, so a desk job was not an option for me. I need to be on my feet and constantly moving around to keep myself stimulated and alert.” Ashley, X-ray Technician
- HS Diploma mandatory.
- Prerequisites in high school: Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Medical Terminology, Physics, Algebra.
- Post secondary education needed: Formal training program that leads to a certificate, Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree in Radiology Technology or Radiography.
- Length: 21 to 24 months to complete.
- Certification: Certification through American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
- Licensed: Must be licensed in your state. So if you move states, you need to get re-licensed in that state.
- Maintain Certification: Must have 24 hours of continuing education credits every 2 year.
- To become radiologic technologist: Need more certifications in the modalities you want to pursue.
- To be a manager: Need a bachelor’s degree.
- 9% with HS Diploma
- 45% with Associate’s
- 19.4% with Bachelor’s
- 2.2% with Master’s
- 2.3% with Doctoral
- Intern!: While you are a student, you will have an opportunity to intern at multiple facilities. During your clinical rotations, you should make a good impression and make good relationships. Even if you do not get hired at the hospital you intern at, the hospitals communicate with each other and internships are good on your resume.
- Volunteer: A lot of the programs are not requiring applicants to do volunteer hours in order to get a feel for the hospital setting. Do as many volunteer hours as possible because you will have a good opportunity to network and show your professionalism, get a reference and eventually a job.
- Job Sites: Indeed.com, Monster.com, Radworking.com
- Be flexible: Might start off as per-diem employee or temporary employee, make a good impression and they might hire you as a full-time employee.
- More certifications/specializations you have, the more employable you are: CT (on the job training), MRI (on the job training), mammography (additional schooling), ultrasound (additional schooling, separate license)…etc.
- Attend conferences.
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologist
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists
Alternate careers: Instructor or director in radiologic technology programs, Sales representatives or instructors with equipment manufacturers, Radiation therapists (more certification), Sonographers (more certification).