Imaging technicians are also known as diagnostic imaging technicians or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technicians. In addition to learning the principles of imaging, certificate candidates also study anatomy and physiology, patient care and ethics, radiobiology, and pathology. Nearly all programs feature a clinical internship, in which the student works in an imaging department at an affiliated healthcare institution for course credit. These programs are also designed to equip individuals with the knowledge needed to sit for the national imaging certification exam. It generally takes 21-24 months to complete these studies. Most programs require an associate's degree. Nearly all programs feature a drug test and criminal background check as admissions requirements. It is also common for these programs to feature an entrance exam or some sort of standardized testing.
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Certificate in Imaging Technology
Some programs have the prerequisite of an associate's degree in a healthcare field, while other programs offer supplemental coursework for those approaching the field from a non-healthcare background. The exact nature of the courses encountered in this program depends in some degree on the admissions requirements. Programs that require applicants to have an associate's degree in a healthcare field feature an imaging curriculum with no other elective requirements. These programs often consist of 12 months of coursework followed by 12 months of clinical internship. Below are listed some sample course topics.
- Imaging procedures
- Physical principles of imaging
- Clinical knowledge
- Patient diversity
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers were expected to increase at a significantly faster-than-average rate between 2014-2024. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professions were expected to see a 24% increase in jobs over this time period. The Bureau also projected that individuals employed as radiologic technologists may expect to see employment growth in their field of about 9%, a rate still faster than the national average for 2014-2024. The median salary for diagnostic medical sonographers was $68,970 as of May 2015, per the BLS. The Bureau indicated that radiologic technologists earned a median annual salary of $56,670 the same year.
Continuing Education, Training and Certification Information
Individuals who want to continue their education may want to consider a bachelor's or master's degree in radiologic science. These degree programs are designed to prepare individuals for leadership positions within the medical imaging fields.
In addition to completing an education program at an accredited institution, imaging technicians can also expect to undergo a considerable on-the-job training regimen. Healthcare facilities feature different operating procedures for such things as patient care procedures and imaging techniques. The ideal imaging job applicant will be a fast learner and an excellent communicator.
Voluntary certification for medical imaging technicians is available from the American Register of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The certification process consists of graduating from an accredited program and passing a competency examination. Recertification is required every two years.
Certificate programs provide those interested in becoming imaging technicians with a foundation of coursework and clinical experience in anatomy and physiology, patient care and ethics, radiobiology, and pathology. Most programs require some background in the area and certification is available.