A radiologist technician, perhaps more commonly known as an x ray tech, plays an important role in the hospital setting.
Most radiologist technicians work in hospitals, labs and private health clinics, where they operate x ray equipment. X ray imaging allows physicians to look inside a patient’s body to help diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Technologists do more than simply take x ray images. They prepare patients for the imaging procedure by explaining the process and providing protective equipment, such as lead shields that limit exposure to radiation.
Primary Responsibilities of a Radiologist Technician
Technicians are responsible for operating and maintaining x ray equipment. They also work closely with patients to prepare them for the procedure. They must know how to get the best possible image of any particular are of the body. The equipment must be held at the proper height and the controls on the x ray machine must be set properly.
Technicians have a lot of responsibility and must be able to provide high quality images to avoid misdiagnosis by a physician. There are also strict rules concerning the concerning the use of radiation and those regulations are put in place to protect the technician as well as patients from necessary exposure to radiation.
Most radiologist technicians hold an Associate of Applied Science degree (A.A.S). At most colleges and vocational schools, the program takes about two years to complete, however some institutions offer accelerated courses that could be completed in one year. Most hospitals and clinics will only hire technicians who attended an accredited program and earned the necessary certification.
Typical training includes courses on procedures, terminology, radiation and other important aspects of the job. Students who are well versed in science and mathematics will have a much easier time completing the required coursework.
Most technicians are able to analyze and understand x ray readings, however only a physician is allowed to discuss image results with patients. A technician’s job is to properly prepare the patient and produce the highest quality images possible. It is always up to the physician to to interpret an x ray, make a diagnosis and recommend the proper course of treatment.
The job outlook is looking good for radiologist technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to rise steadily through 2020. The increased need is largely attributed to a growing population of elderly people. The median salary for radiologist technicians is around $48,000 per year. Payment is based primarily on education and experience. Technicians who peruse a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunity to earn a higher salary and move into leadership roles. A good education is key to a long and rewarding career as a radiology technician.
Becoming a radiologist technician is a viable option to go into a field with growing prospects and job security. While most technicians currently work in hospitals, there will be more opportunities outside of the traditional hospital setting in coming years. More opportunities are expected to become available in private clinics and laboratories.