Radiologic Technologist and Technician

Pros


  • This is a job that helps people who are experiencing medical problems, and through diagnostics that can be performed, treatment may be possible.
  • Those who are interested in computers, as well as working with their hands may find working with this type of equipment enjoyable.
  • Projected employment growth in this field is expected to be good.

Cons

  • This type of work has some physical requirements. You may need to assist patients, and you might have to spend a good amount of time on your feet.
  • You must be a people person to work in this job, and many of the patients that you work with may be in pain.
  • Attention to detail is important in this work as you will be dealing with equipment that can be dangerous if not used properly.

Overview

Radiological technologists and technicians work under the supervision of a radiologist working with special diagnostic equipment. This equipment is used on patients in order to further diagnose medical problems that a patient may have. Some of the equipment used can include x-rays, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They generate work under the direction of a physician who needs the expertise of a radiological technologist or technician in order to get proper diagnostic results which they then analyze in order to propose a proper method of treatment for a patient.

Also known as radiographers, radiological technologists and technicians spend their time explaining procedures to patients, as well as preparing them for examination. This requires removing articles such as jewelry and other clothing that cannot be used in an x-ray machine. They will protect themselves and patients by using special protective clothing. Once ready for examination, radiological technologists and technicians then use special machinery to run scans of a patient’s affected area. Once a scan has been complete, they will spend time analyzing the results to pinpoint areas of interest that a doctor needs to review.

Along with these tasks, radiological technologists and technicians spend their time keeping records, maintaining equipment and reviewing inventories to purchase additional supplies. Although most of them can be found in hospitals, there are radiological technologists and technicians that work in private medical centers or in traveling diagnostic services that go from clinic to clinic.

Education

Those who are interested in getting a job in this occupation will need to become properly trained in radiography. This can be completed by obtaining a certificate, an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. This is generally what separates a technologist from a technician. While a technologist usually has a bachelor’s degree, technicians usually have a certificate or an associate’s degree. Because the equipment that is used in this work could potentially be dangerous, most states regulate who can operate radiographic machinery, although it depends upon the particular state.

Job Prospects

There are projected to be good prospects for those who are interested in this type of career as job growth is expected. Technological progress has allowed diagnostic equipment to become more elaborate and capable of helping to diagnose more medical problems. This is beneficial to the aging population demographic, and bodes well for those who hope to pursue a career as a radiologic technologist or technician because of the ensuing increase in demand for these types of services.

Advancement Opportunities

There are some advancement capabilities in this field. Technologists can continue with educational opportunities to become certified in a concentration to become a radiological specialist. They can also pass a voluntary examination known as the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) that can offer more opportunities. Some in this field will also use their knowledge to teach or to work toward eventually becoming radiologists themselves.