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Hospital Radiology Technologist: Job Duties and Requirements

Mar 21, 2019

Learn about the work responsibilities of a hospital radiology technologist. Discover the education and skills needed as well as salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career choice.

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Career Definition for a Hospital Radiology Technologist

Hospital radiology technologists work with radiologists to diagnose and treat patients using radiologic imaging. They explain procedures to patients, prepare and position patients for tests and perform those tests while following radiologic safety procedures. Hospital radiology technologists also carefully monitor patients, develop film, and maintain and operate specialized equipment. Hospital radiology technologists may find specialized work as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or mammography technologists.

Required Education Associate degree or specialized certificate
Necessary Skills Listening, interpersonal, technology
Median Salary (2017) $60,070 radiologic and MRI technologists
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% growth radiologic and MRI technologists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Most hospital radiology technologists earn an Associate of Science in Radiography or participate in a specialized certificate program, which can take from 12 months to two years to complete. Those interested in administrative positions may pursue bachelor's or master's degrees in radiologic technology. A bachelor's degree typically can be attained in four to five years, and a master's degree requires an additional two years. Courses in a hospital radiology technologist program may include radiation physics, anatomy, medical terminology, patient care and medical ethics. Hospital radiology technologists are encouraged to become certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (www.arrt.org) and may need a state license to practice.

Skills Required

Hospital radiology technologists must be skilled at listening to and interacting with patients. They must be able to operate and understand radiologic technology, including using x-ray machines to get correct and clear scans of the body.

Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), radiologic technologists are expected to enjoy a 12% increase, which is faster than average job growth from 2016-2026 due to an increased reliance on medical imaging. The BLS estimated a median annual wage of $58,440 for radiology technologists in 2017.

Alternative Careers

Some skills necessary to become a hospital radiology technologist will help prepare you for jobs in other areas.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Also engaged in imaging work that is comparable to a radiologic technician career, a nuclear medicine technologist uses radioactive drugs to view abnormalities. After injecting the patient with the drugs, a nuclear medicine technologist uses complex computerized machines to capture images. They also take detailed notes, make sure patients have no adverse reactions, communicate with physicians' offices and keep the equipment in good working condition.

An associate or bachelor's degree in nuclear medicine is how most enter the profession, and many states require licensing of nuclear medicine technologists. Based on projections from the BLS, a 10% increase in the employment of nuclear medicine technologists is expected from 2016-2026. The BLS also measured the median income of these professionals to be $75,660 in 2017.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

For those who want to work with ultrasound imaging technology, becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer may be the right fit. After applying a special gel to the body part being imaged, sonographers move a transducer wand to acquire video and pictures. When spotted, they focus the procedure on abnormalities, collecting data for doctors to review.

To work in this field, an associate degree in sonography is required. However, current healthcare professionals can opt to complete a shorter certificate program. Many employers may also require professional certification of sonographers. According to the BLS, job opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers are predicted to increase by 23% during the 2016-2026 decade. Sonographers earn a median salary of $71,410, as estimated by the BLS in 2017.

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