Radiologic Technologist and Technician

What Does a Radiologic Technologist and Technician Do?
Medical technology has advanced rapidly within the past two decades, allowing physicians to make more accurate diagnoses of various patient conditions. Diagnostic technology comes in many forms, ranging from ultrasonography to using radiopharmaceuticals to obtain information about the progression or manifestation of disease. Radiologic technologists and technicians are experts in the use of specific diagnostic imaging technology. Radiologic technicians work with x-rays, which is most often used to look at the contents of the digestive tract or to analyze bone structure and health. The technicians follow physician orders regarding the x-ray technology and must adhere to safety precautions while using the equipment to minimize the risk of overexposure to radiation. Radiologic technologists, on the other hand, are responsible for handling more complex imaging procedures, such as fluoroscopies, which allows for physicians to analyze the soft tissues of the patient, or computed tomographies, commonly known as CT scans, which create 3D images of the body.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Radiologic Technologist and Technician?
Health care is one of the most stable and prosperous industries in the work force today. It is inherently recession-proof, as no matter what state the economy is in, there will always be a need for health care professionals due to the complexity of treating the human body, the unpredictability of disease, and the inevitability of aging. Due to this continual need, health-related jobs will continue to rise as the population grows and medical technology advances. In particular, job openings for radiologic technologists and technicians are rapidly increasing. In fact, employment opportunities for radiologic technologists and technicians are projected to improve 17 percent through 2018, which is faster than the national job growth rate average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary of radiologic technologists and technicians is substantial as well, with those working in the field earning an average of $52,210 annually, according to the latest information available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Radiologic Technologist and Technician?
Aspiring radiologic technologists and technicians must first obtain an associate degree or bachelorís degree in radiology. Most radiologic technologists and technicians opt to earn an associate degree, according to the Bureau, and it is often substantial enough for employment. An associate degree program typically lasts about two years, during which time students take courses in physiology, medical terminology, medical imaging, and other classes that will help them to understand the demands of the field. In addition to classroom education, students are also required to participate in outside clinical work in order to gain hands-on experience working alongside professionals in a real health care setting. Upon graduation, prospective radiologic technologists and technicians can choose to seek licensure and certification if they wish. Some states require licensure while others do not. Oftentimes, technologists are subject to more certification and licensure restrictions due to the more complex nature of their work as compared to technicians.