How to Be a Radiology Tech

A radiology technologist is a health care professional who uses imaging technology to diagnose and treat patients. If you are interested in a career in radiology, read on to learn how to be a radiology technologist.

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What is a Radiology Tech?

Radiology techs are trained medical professionals who specialize in performing diagnostic imaging procedures, such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. They work closely with radiologists, who are physicians who specialize in interpreting diagnostic images.

Radiology techs must complete an accredited radiology technology program and pass a national certification exam. Most states also require radiology techs to be licensed. Radiology techs typically work in hospitals, but may also work in outpatient centers, clinics, or private practices.

Radiology techs must be able to follow precise instructions and maintain a high level of attention to detail. They must also be able to work well under pressure and have excellent problem-solving skills.

The Job Description

Radiology techs are responsible for using imaging technologies to create diagnostic images of the human body. These images are then used by physicians to make decisions about patient care. As a radiology tech, you will work closely with patients and medical staff to ensure that diagnostic images are of the highest quality.

In order to become a radiology tech, you will need to complete an accredited radiology technology program. Once you have completed your training, you will be eligible to take the national certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). After passing the exam, you will be required to maintain your certification through continued education and participation in ARRT-approved activities.

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What You Need to Succeed

Becoming a radiology tech requires completing a specialized training program. Programs typically last anywhere from eighteen months to four years, and may be offered at community colleges, technical schools, and four-year universities. You’ll also need to obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Once you have completed these steps, you’ll be on your way to a successful career in radiology.

Education

Radiologic technologists must complete an accredited educational program in diagnostic imaging, which typically leads to an associate’s degree. Some technologists may choose to complete a bachelor’s degree program in radiologic technology.

While in school, students take courses such as mathematics, anatomy, physiology, physics and medical ethics. They also receive clinical training, which takes place in hospitals or other medical facilities. Upon graduation, they must pass an examination administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to earn their license.

Continuing education is important for radiologic technologists to keep up with the latest advances in technology and maintain their licensure. The ARRT requires technologists to complete 24 credits of continuing education every two years.

Certification

Radiology techs can become certified through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certification is not required in all states, but it may be preferred or even required by employers. The ARRT certification process includes completing an accredited program and passing a national exam. Once certified, techs must complete continuing education credits to maintain their registration.

Skills

A radiology tech must be able to handle the administrative and clerical responsibilities of the job, as well as the technical skills. They need to have customer service skills to deal with patients and provide them with information about their procedures. They also need to be able to work well under pressure, as they will often be working with time-sensitive images that need to be interpreted quickly and accurately. Finally, they need to have good physical stamina, as they will be on their feet for long periods of time and may have to lift and move patients.

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The Work Environment

Radiology techs usually work in hospitals, but they may also be employed in clinics, physician’s offices, and outpatient care centers. They generally work full time, but may be required to work evenings or weekends. Many radiology techs are on their feet for long periods of time and may be required to lift or move patients.

The Salary

Radiologic technologists earned a median annual salary of $60,070 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, radiologic technologists earned a 25th percentile salary of $50,340, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $70,700, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 224,300 people were employed in the U.S. as radiologic technologists.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for radiology techs is growing at a rate of about 9% per year, which is slightly faster than the average for all occupations. This means that there will be approximately 27,600 new jobs available in the field over the next ten years.

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