Radiology techs are an important part of the healthcare team. They use imaging technologies to help diagnose and treat patients.
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The Job of a Radiology Tech
Radiology techs are responsible for operating X-ray machines and other equipment to create images of patients’ bones, organs, and other tissues. They work closely with radiologists, who are physicians who interpret the images. Radiology techs must follow the radiologists’ instructions and take high-quality images to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Duties and Responsibilities
Radiology techs, also known as radiographers, are responsible for performing imaging exams and providing patient care. They operate x-ray machines and other imaging equipment to create diagnostic images, which are then interpreted by physicians.
Radiology techs must be able to position patients correctly in order to get the best possible image. They must also be able to explain the procedure to patients and answer any questions they may have.
In addition to operating imaging equipment, radiography techs are responsible for maintaining it. This includes cleaning the equipment and making sure it is properly calibrated. They may also be responsible for ordering supplies and keeping track of inventory.
Radiography techs typically work in hospitals or clinics, but they may also work in private practices or imaging centers. They usually work full time, but some may work part time or on an as-needed basis. Some radiography techs may be required to work evenings or weekends, or they may be on call for nights and weekends.
Education and Training
Radiology techs must complete an accredited radiology technology program. These programs typically last two years and lead to an associate’s degree, although some may last four years and result in a bachelor’s degree. Programs include both classroom and clinical instruction and cover topics such as biology, anatomy, physiology, physics, and safety procedures.
Graduates of two-year programs are eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) examination to become certified radiologic technologists. Those who graduate from four-year programs may be eligible for certification through the ARRT or the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). Once certified, radiologic technologists must complete continuing education credits regularly to maintain their certification.
The Career of a Radiology Tech
Radiology techs are in charge of operating machines that take pictures of patients’ bones, organs, and blood vessels. They work closely with radiologists, who are doctors who specialize in interpreting medical images. Radiology techs must be able to follow strict protocols and have excellent attention to detail. They must also be able to remain calm in stressful situations.
The job outlook for radiology techs is quite good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the occupation will grow by 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is largely due to an aging population and the increasing use of diagnostic imaging in detecting and treating illnesses and injuries.
Salary and Benefits
Radiology techs are in high demand and can earn a good salary. The median annual salary for a radiology tech is $73,090, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 10% of earners make more than $98,560, while the bottom 10% make less than $52,920.
Radiology techs typically receive excellent benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans and paid vacation days. They may also be eligible for tuition reimbursement if they wish to further their education.