How to Become a Radiology Technician in 8 Steps. Thinking about a career in radiology? Here’s everything you need to know about how to become a radiology technician.
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What is Radiology?
Radiology is the science that uses medical imaging to diagnose and sometimes also treat diseases within the body. A variety of imaging techniques such as X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine including positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose or treat diseases. Radiologists are the physicians who interpret medical images.
What is a Radiology Technician?
Radiology technicians are health care professionals who use imaging technologies to diagnose and treat illness and injury. They may work in hospitals, clinics or private practices, and their duties vary depending on their specialty. Some technicians may specialize in CT scans or MRIs, while others may focus on X-rays or ultrasound.
Radiology technicians typically need to complete an accredited Radiology Technician program, which takes about two years to complete. After completing the program, they must pass a national certification exam before they can begin working. Some states also require licensure.
How to Become a Radiology Technician
Radiology technicians are in high demand due to the aging population and the need for diagnostic imaging. A radiology technician is a vital member of the healthcare team who provide diagnostic imaging services. If you are interested in becoming a radiology technician, here is a step-by-step guide on how to become one.
Education and Training
The radiography profession offers a wide variety of educational and training opportunities. The type of program you choose will depend on your career goals and the amount of time you are willing to commit to your education.
Most radiography programs lead to an associate’s degree, although some hospitals offer radiography training programs that result in a certificate or diploma. These programs typically last two years, although some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. Associate’s degree programs typically include coursework in anatomy, physiology, algebra, and physics, as well as more specific radiography coursework.
If you are interested in pursuing a more advanced degree, you can find radiography programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. These programs generally take four years and two years to complete, respectively. In addition to the coursework required for an associate’s degree, bachelor’s and master’s level programs also include coursework in areas such as research methods, healthcare administration, and radiology technology.
Radiology certification is available through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Candidates for certification must first complete an accredited training program and then pass a qualifying exam. Further certification may be required to perform certain types of procedures.
Salary and Job Outlook
Radiology technicians earned a median annual salary of $60,070 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job prospects in the field are projected to be very good, with employment expected to grow by 14% from 2016-2026.