Radiology Technician Advancement Opportunities

Jan 02, 2019

Radiology technicians operate X-ray machinery at a hospital to produce images so that doctors can diagnose injury or disease. Radiology techs may wish to progress in their field by specializing in types of imaging as a physician or MRI technician, or by managing others as a director or safety officer.

Career Growth Opportunities for Radiology Technicians

Radiology technicians play a crucial role in helping doctors to diagnose injury and illness. They operate X-ray machines and other diagnostic imaging devices to view internal areas of the body. Radiology technicians typically enter the field with an associate's degree. Some radiology technicians may wish to advance their career in diagnostic imaging. These professionals may want to specialize in forms of imaging at various levels, or may opt to manage imaging or radiation programs. Some examples of careers are presented below.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)** Education or Experience
MRI Technologist $69,930 (2017)** 14% MRI certification
Diagnostic Imaging Director $98,678 20% (medical and health services managers) Bachelor's degree and experience
Radiation Safety Officer $74,289 8% (occupational health and safety specialists) Bachelor's degree
Interventional Radiologist $324,677 11% (physicians and surgeons, all other) Medical degree, residency, and fellowship

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

MRI Technologist

Radiology technicians have extensive experience utilizing imaging equipment. One option for advancement would be to become an MRI technologist. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a different type of way to achieve imaging for medical use. MRIs use powerful magnets. MRI techs inject medical dyes and position patients for appropriate scanning. They then utilize a machine called an MRI scanner. This provides information about soft tissue or organs. MRI technologists must have a thorough understanding of safety procedures involved in administering MRIs to protect the patient and themselves. Individuals can pursue this career by completing a program in MRI technology or by having a primary certification as a radiology technician, having documented education and clinical experience in using MRIs, and obtaining certification.

Diagnostic Imaging Director

Some radiology technicians may wish to advance in their careers by managing others. These individuals might consider becoming a diagnostic imaging director. These managers are responsible for the diagnostic imaging program at a hospital or clinic. Diagnostic imaging directors would plan the goals of the radiology and imaging department. They are responsible for staff management, budgets, safety and compliance. Typically, directors would have a bachelor's degree and extensive experience in the field.

Radiation Safety Officer

Radiology techs must ensure the safety of the equipment that they utilize. Those who are highly concerned regarding these safety procedures should look into advancing their career as a radiation safety officer, which is a position found at hospitals. Radiation safety officers are responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations regarding radiation and look into the facts if an incidence of overexposure occurs. They track materials, oversee safety testing, and are responsible for audits. Most radiation safety officers hold a bachelor's degree in health physics. Certification programs in radiation safety, which take approximately 40 hours, are available.

Interventional Radiologist

Some radiology technicians may wish to undergo extensive training to offer specialized radiology services as a physician. A career as an interventional radiologist may be attractive to these professionals. Interventional radiologists use small probes that can be directed through body tissues or openings to obtain diagnostic imaging information. This allows physicians to treat conditions less invasively than would be required with traditional surgery. To become an interventional radiologist, candidates must first complete a bachelor's degree and then attend medical school. After medical school, they must complete an integrated interventional radiology residency, or a diagnostic radiology residency followed by an interventional radiology fellowship, and become licensed.

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