The allied health professions are growing rapidly and offer great career opportunities for those looking to make a meaningful impact in the world of medicine. With a solid outlook in terms of jobs and a growing salary, allied health is becoming a top choice for students and professionals looking to make a career switch.
One popular segment of the allied health profession is x-ray technology. A radiologic technologist has the opportunity to work closely with patients and make a real diference in people’s lives, all while earning a great salary.
What a Radiologic Technologist Does
The average day for a technician can be fast-paced and varied. They are responsible for taking x ray and MRI images of patients and preparing them for the procedure. This requires the proper adjustment and operation of highly technical equipment.
A radiologic technologist also works closely with physicians to determine exactly what parts of the body to image. It is important for technicians to pay close attention to safety and properly protect themselves and patients from exposure to excess radiation.
There are many different types and brands of diagnostic imaging equipment used and a good technician will be well versed in X ray, computed tomography and MRI, although many techs choose to specialize in just one of the above mentioned areas.
In terms of the work environment, most radiologic technologists work in hospitals, although a growing number of techs are employed at private clinics and physicians offices. There are also technicians working for medical laboratories and the federal government.
The job takes a certain amount of stamina and dedication. Technicians will spend much of a shift on their feet and must also occasionally move patients into position. Because of the nature of hospitals and emergency rooms, many technicians work evening and overnight shifts.Some overtime may also be required.
Salaries for technicians are on the rise. Today, the median wage is above $54,000 a year, but the top earners make over $76,000.
Wages will largely depend on the experience and education of the technician. Most techs enter the field with a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree. While the average starting wage is quite good, the key to advancement and higher earning potential is gaining valuable experience. Some techs earn certification in other areas to increase their skill set and earn a higher income. For instance, many x ray techs also earn a certificate in diagnostic medical sonograpy, more commonly known as ultrasound.
Another opportunity to increase earning would be pursuing a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes another two years beyond an associate degree.
Becoming a Technologist
Becoming a radiologic technologist involves completing an accredited degree program at one of many colleges and vocational schools.
The guidelines for applying will vary slightly between schools, so it is important to collect any transcripts and supporting documentation that could be needed. Degree programs will also vary, but a two-year degree is enough to get into the industry and start earning money.
Accredited schools will provide the classroom instruction and clinical experience needed to obtain state-level certification that allows technicians to legally work in the field after graduation.