Radiology Technician Job Overview
Radiology technicians are responsible for taking images of human body for diagnosing and treating medical problems. As a radiology technician, you must be highly efficient in performing various radiologic technology machines and procedures, such as diagnostic radiology, sonography, fluroscopy, CT scan, MRI scan, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy, mammography, etc.
Responsibilities of Radiology Technicians
If you want to become a radiology technician, you must be aware of the duties and responsibilities involved in a Radiology technician job. You need to evaluate and review the developed x-rays, computer generated information, or video tapes for determining whether the images can be used for diagnostic purposes or not. In order to ensure the safety of patients, you and the other staff, you must strictly follow the radiation safety measures and should use the protection devices. You need to observe patients during scanning and explain them its procedures for ensuring their safety and comfort. Radiology technician job description also includes:
Position patients on examination table Position imaging equipment Adjust the machine for setting exposure time and distance as per specification Enter data and key commands in to computer Specify scan sequences Adjust receivers and transmitters Take photograph of certain images Monitor the video display of the area to be scanned Adjust contrast or density of scan image to improve the quality of pictures Monitor the reactions and conditions of patients If there are abnormal signs, report it to physicians Set up examination room to ensure all necessary equipment is ready Administer injected or oral contrast media to patients Take medical history of patients accurately and thoroughly Remove and process films Perform minor emergency repairs and scheduled maintenance on radiographic equipment Undertake administrative duties Work with the other healthcare members for conducting special vascular procedures or angiography Help patients in dressing if they are seriously injured, ill, or disabled Provide technical assistance to the other team members Process, record, and maintain the data and treatment records of patients, etc.
Radiology technicians mostly handle cancer patients and the chance of exposure to radiation is also very high. However, you can prevent it if you use protective devices, like lead shields. It is also essential to check the amount of radiation exposure frequently to avoid adverse side effects due to it.
Educational Requirements for Radiology Technicians
You can enroll in a number of formal training programs to get a Radiology technician job. You can get an entry level job in this field if you have an associate degree or a certificate. However, employees with a bachelor degree in radiology can earn more salary and reputation. In order to enroll in a radiology training program, you must have a high school diploma, high scores in an entrance examination and must be free from criminal activities.
Certificate Program in Radiology
You need to devote 1-2 years for getting a certificate in radiology. The program empowers students with clinical training, classroom instructions, and technical skills necessary for handling entry level positions in radiology technology. Coursework include patient care, image processing, radiology equipment, etc. You will also get clinical training under the supervision of a radiologist.
Associate Degree in Radiology
The duration of Associate Degree programs in Radiology is around two years. The program consists of clinical training, classroom teachings, and general education in science and communication. Usually, technical schools and community colleges are conducting these training programs. You can take courses in radiation protection, radiographic physics, and imaging procedures and analysis.
Some universities and colleges offer bachelor degree in radiologic technology programs to the student who wants to get a Radiology technician job. The duration of this program is 4 years and it emphasizes patient care, diagnostics, advanced technology, which are essential for you to perform your duties as a radiology technician in clinics, hospitals, laboratories, and other healthcare facilities. You will also get classroom studies and clinical training. The program covers topics such as:
Principles of radiological imaging
General and nuclear physics
Medical imaging techniques
Emergency medical procedure
Medical imaging science and diagnosis
Some of the top schools, which conduct radiologic technology training programs are University of Charleston, University of Iowa, University of St Francis, etc.
If you want to work as a radiology technician, you must earn a state licensure. Though the health boards of the respective states are the determining authority for licensing requirements, you must pass a licensing examination to obtain a licensure. You can seek Radiology technician job in some states, if you have a certification from the ARRT (American Registration of Radiologic Technologists). It can be obtained by earning high scores in a state licensing examination.
Certification is not mandatory to work as a radiology technician. However, if you have a certification, it means that you are highly qualified for doing Radiology technician job. Employers also prefer to hire people with professional certification in radiology technology, which is issued by the ARRT. You are eligible for getting a certification if you have completed an ARRT accredited formal training program successfully. You must also obtain high scores in a primary certification examination. The radiology technicians who seek primary certification from January 1, 2015 must have at least an associate degree.
Radiology Technician Salary
The salary of a radiology technician depends on various factors, such as education qualification, certification, experience, geographical location, etc. However, as per the estimates of Salary.com, an entry level technician can earn around $30,000 per year. The annual median salary of an experienced radiology technician is around $90,000.
Prospects of Radiology Technician Job
Employment opportunities for radiology technicians are very bright. The growth rate in radiology technician job is 28% and it is expected that this tendency will continue till 2020. Compared to the growth rate of all other occupations, it is really very fast. The old age population is increasing and they need more medical care and attention due to fractures and breaks. Radiology technicians are essential for the proper diagnosis of the health problem in such circumstances. Modern lifestyle also contributes a major part for new illnesses. This is also favorable for those who seek radiology technician job.