Who wants to settle for a good career when they can have a great one? Well, no one, and sometimes it takes a bit of digging to find that one career direction that results in a great career rather than an ordinary one. A radiologic technology degree may be the great (not good) career you’ve always wanted.
Radiologic technologists are medical professionals who are certified to perform diagnostic imaging examinations. That means they are the expertly trained professionals who perform X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound exams, MRI, etc. They are trained to perform non-invasive scans of the human body that physicians need to assess a patient’s condition properly and quickly.
If you know someone who’s suffered a strain, sprain, broken bone, or had severe pain without an apparent cause, they’ve benefitted from the skills and knowledge of a certified and registered radiologic technologist.
Being a radiologic technologist – a rad tech – is a unique role in healthcare. Just as rad techs have the ability to comfort, encourage, and explain, they must have the technical skills to provide the detailed body images requested by the patient’s physician.
The full scope of earning a radiologic technology degree includes being attentive to the patient’s condition and mindset. Sometimes, such as in a trauma scenario, a rad tech may be one of the first healthcare team members a patient encounters.
It may be one of the most challenging and rewarding healthcare support roles.
“It’s like an art, in a way, because every patient is different, so we had to learn about the positioning,” rad tech Abby Loudon says. “Each patient is like a puzzle piece because everybody’s anatomy is different.”
You may be wondering if earning a radiologic technology degree is a good fit for you. Here are five characteristics that rad tech program directors say they look for in candidates for the radiologic technology degree:
The “applied science” part of the A.A.S. degree is the difference-maker. The knowledge and skills needed for a long-term career as a radiologic technologist are delivered in a two-year format, not four, allowing entry into the workforce as soon as possible.
The A.A.S. degree in radiologic technology delivers the educational requirements necessary for the American Radiologic Registry of Technologists (ARRT) exam. Pass that national exam and you are on your way to certification and registration.
Your radiologic technologist education must come from faculty with first-hand experience working at or managing imaging centers. Field-tested instructors can demonstrate the most effective ways to work through challenging imaging scenarios using real-life examples.
Communication skills are essential in today’s patient-first healthcare. Radiologic technology degree programs with high job placement rates emphasize “patient care interaction skills” as much as they do mastering technology skills.
Soft skills include communicating clearly, empathetic listening, knowing how to help the patient feel safe and comfortable, etc.
Employers will be expecting lots of “hands-on” clinical experience with actual patients – everything from handling trauma injuries to investigating swallowed objects. Early interaction with patients under guided instructions enhances learning.
Many rad tech programs offer clinical experiences as early as the second semester after students demonstrate mastery of specific job competencies.
Because diagnostic imaging has replaced many exploratory procedures, rad techs have a prominent role in the healthcare economy. A newly certified rad tech in the Midwest, for example, will typically find a salary between $43,827 and $47,000.
For experienced rad techs with multiple certifications, an average salary is $51,194 to $61,701, according to data from Salary.com.
Rad techs are employed in many different healthcare settings, including:
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S. degree) in Radiologic Technology. CUKC is a nonprofit, private university in the award-winning Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas.
Features of the CUKC radiologic technology program include:
Click here to request more information about our 2-year rad tech degree program, and download our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.