Radiologic technologists play an important part in the diagnostic area of medical treatment. The occupation is projected to increase at a rate somewhat faster than the national average rate of all occupations. Licensure may be required and certification can enhance your standing in the profession.
Radiologist technology professionals, also known as radiologic technologists, perform tomography, mammography and magnetic resonance imaging procedures. They are responsible for operating radiography imaging equipment in hospitals, physician offices and outpatient care centers. Radiologist technology professionals are required to complete a postsecondary training program and, in many states, earn licensure.
|Required Education||Associate's degree is most common; certificates and bachelor's degrees also available|
|Licensure||Required in most states|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||9%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$56,670|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Radiologist Technology Professional Career Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 59 percent of radiologist technologists in 2014 were employed by hospitals, though others found positions within medical and diagnostic laboratories or imaging centers, physicians office and outpatient care facilities. The median annual salary for radiologic technologists in May 2015 was $56,670, as reported by the BLS.
Due to projected the growth of aging populations and an increase in the use of diagnostic imaging to track patient treatment, the BLS predicted a 9 percent employment growth for radiologic technology professionals between 2014-2024. Employment opportunities were expected to be best for radiologist professionals who are trained in multiple types of diagnostic imaging.
While licensure is not required in every state, it's standard in most states and preferred by many employers. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers a certification exam, open to graduates of an accredited diagnostic medical imaging program, and which many states use as the state licensure exam. In order to maintain registration and licensure, candidates must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education training every two years.
Radiologist technology professionals produce images of organs and bones, which are used to treat and diagnose patients. Within the field, radiologic technologists may specialize in a specific type of imaging, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or mammography. CT technologists operate scanners that take a series of cross-sectional x-ray images to create three-dimensional models of internal body parts. MRI technologists use non-ionizing radio frequencies to produce two-dimensional images that show differences between various types of body tissues. Mammographers take x-rays of breast tissue for potential diagnoses.
Radiologic technologists are expected to operate and maintain imaging equipment as well as to troubleshoot malfunctions. They must have excellent patient care skills to thoroughly explain procedures to patients and position them for imaging procedures. Additionally, radiologic professionals must also be able to communicate well with supervising physicians who analyze these images.
An associate's degree from a program that has been accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is the most common method of entry into the career field. Most states require radiologic technologists to hold a license, which is obtained by sitting for a certification examination, administered by the ARRT or the individual state. You may choose to specialize in areas such as mammography, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.