For those interested in working in the medical field, choosing to become a radiology technician can be very rewarding. This is an especially good choice for those who have a limited amount of money and time, and plan on engaging their educational pursuits as quickly and efficiently as possible. It can be a very exciting and interesting job, with a steady outlook and reasonable educational requirements. It can provide driven individuals with many opportunities for career advancement and specialization, all at relatively low introductory education costs. Consider some of the following things if you are interested in pursuing a career as a radiology technician.
Radiology is a speciality field of medicine that focuses on using visual diagnostic equipment to visualize, identify, and help treat a variety of conditions in affected patients. At a glance, many prospective students may think that the term radiology technician applies to the same career path as an x ray technician. While the terms are often used interchangeably, they do not entail the same career. As a radiology technician, taking x rays may become one of your duties, but the job is not solely limited to that function.
Depending on how you choose to work and where you specialize, you may also be required to handle ultrasound equipment, MRI equipment, and any number of other imaging interfaces. Learning how to manage imaging techniques and utilize each article of technology to the best of your abilities is vital and expected. Interested individuals are strongly encouraged to consider whether they want to specialize in a certain type of equipment, or become well versed in all types for their career. Usually, things such as personal interests, ease of use, and occupational location can all play a role in this decision. Regardless of your career path, you will be required to participate in the same introductory classes in order to receive your rudimentary accreditation.
How to Enter the Field
Much like most careers in medicine, you will need to have the appropriate accreditation and training before you can begin. The first thing that you will want to do is look into local training programs. Find a speciality school that will offer you a formal training program, one that will allow you to receive your associate’s or bachelor’s at a comfortable pace. How much education you plan on pursuing will depend on your plans for growth. Higher degree programs mean that you will get the chance to start out with a higher salary, but you will end up paying more for your introductory education. What many people may choose to do is pay for a basic degree, and then pursue further growth opportunities once they are established in the field.
If you are not worried about your salary and want to start working as soon as possible, it can be a good idea to simply study for a certificate. A basic piece of certification will only take between six months to a year for you to receive. During this time, you will be completing classroom work in addition to clinical training. You will study related topics, such as anatomy, radiation, image interpretation, pathology, and general patient care. You may choose to pursue an associate’s degree, which may take a couple of years for you to complete, or a bachelor’s degree, which usually involves a four year educational plan.
Radiology Technician Salary and Opportunities
Some of the biggest things that attract people to this job are the salary projections and growth opportunities. According to a 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the average annual salary was $56,760. The average salary per hour was $27.29. This number may vary based on any number of factors, including general expertise, hours, tasks, and work environment. There is a lot of career stability to look forward to as well. Radiology technicians are an important part of any medical environment, and will be held in high demand for this reason.
Before you enter the field, it can be a good idea to research what locations have higher job demands, and what amount of work you are expecting. Sometimes developing in a specialization can help make your services more valuable and raise your salary by extension. The top ten percent of radiology technicians make $77,000 on average, while the bottom ten percent earned $36,000 on average. This is a particularly lucrative salary for all types of technicians, even if they only meet the minimal educational requirements. With a variety of opportunities for growth, an attractive starting salary, and the chance to help people, studying under a radiology technician program can be an excellent choice for your vocation.
Is it Right for You?
Working as a radiology technician means you will have the chance to work directly with your patients. This means that you will be able to make a real difference in other peoples’ lives for the better. If you enjoy working with people and developing your bedside manner, this could be the right job for you. It is different from many other traditional jobs in the medical field because it also involves working with raw technical data. For those who have always wanted to combine the personal side of medicine with a passion for analysis, this career can be ideal. In addition to such personal aspects to look forward to, there are numerous other benefits that come with the job.
Unlike most medical careers, becoming a radiology technician can be very easy, as it requires a relatively minimal educational investment. Individuals who pursue this field can expect to enjoy steady work and advancement opportunities. Thanks to the needs of an aging population that is beginning to live longer, all types of healthcare are projected to rise in the future. This means that those with an associate’s degree in this field will be very valuable. You can expect to work in a variety of different settings, including hospital, clinic, surgical center, and any other variety of medical environments. Your average work day may be fast paced, with some days being more demanding than others, depending on where you work.