How to Become a Radiologic Technologist

Become a Radiologic Technologist

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A radiologic technologist is the professional who takes medical x-rays. If you like the idea of working with patients and have ever thought about entering the medical profession, retraining as a radiologic technologist could be an interesting career path for you to consider.

What Does it Take? Career Skills for Radiologic Technologists

A radiologic technologist needs a variety of career skills to carry out the sometimes complicated procedures involved in taking x-rays. Some radiographers take a number of types of images including: CT scans, MRIs, and mammograms. If you decide to retrain to enter this field, you could be the front-line person for diagnosis that depends on using x-rays. Part of the job includes making a patient feel comfortable by thoroughly explaining the procedure as well as helping the patient to position him or herself appropriately. You would operate x-ray machinery and keep proper records as an important member of a diagnostic team.

To do well in this career, a radiologic technologist is comfortable with x-ray machinery, can put patients at ease, is detail-oriented, and works well with a team of medical professionals. The technologist also understands how to ensure the safety of patients through using special protective gear and follow regulations governing radiation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for skilled radiologic technologists is expected to grow faster than average. In 2008, radiologic technologists had mean annual wages of $53,230.

Career Advice--Radiology

Typically, a radiologic technologist has an associate's degree, although a bachelor's degree or higher is generally necessary for supervisory or management positions. One year certificates are also available, usually for those already in the medical field who want to upgrade their skills. If you think you would enjoy helping patients through x-ray procedures, have manual dexterity, are detail-oriented, and work well on a team, this growing field may be an interesting match for you. Both campus and online training is available to help you gain the career skills you need for a career in radiology.

Career Outlook

  • Median Annual Salary. In May 2013, the Radiologic and MRI Technologists earned a median annual salary of $56,760 with top 10% making more than $78,440.
  • Top Paying States. California, Alaska, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Rhode Island.
  • States with Highest Employment. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania.
  • Where the Jobs Are. Around 59 percent of all radiologists are employed by hospitals. Most new jobs will occur in hospitals, but radiologists can also find jobs in physicians' offices and at diagnostic imaging centers
  • The Training You Need. Grads of career training programs in radiography typically hold a certificate, an associate or bachelor's degree, with two-year associate's degrees leading in graduates. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology accredited more than 600 radiography programs in 2007
  • Registration and Licensure. Thirty-five states use exams of The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists for licensing their professional radiologists and technicians
  • Radiologist Employment Outlook. Federal projections call for a 21 percent job growth in positions for radiologic technologists during the 2012-2022 decade
  • Specializations for Radiologists. Common specializations in the field include: computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imagery (MRI), and mammography

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Radiologic and MRI Technologists
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Radiologic and MRI Technologists, May 2013 Wages