When you decide to become a radiologic technologist – a rad tech – you’re responsible for providing the body images (X-rays and scans) physicians need for effective diagnosis and treatment. There is much more to this career than being good at technology: you are vital in providing patients with a better healthcare experience.
For example, with patients who have a traumatic injury, you might be one of the first healthcare professionals they encounter. How well you establish a personal connection and explain what they’ll be experiencing are crucial first steps.
Many patients have never encountered imaging technology before, and medical imaging procedures involving X-rays and diagnostic scans (CT scans, MRIs, etc.) sometimes lead to patient anxiety. Insider’s note: Did you know it’s common today for patient feedback (good, bad, or in-between) to be considered in the imaging facility’s “satisfaction” ratings or factored into a rad tech’s performance score?
That’s why, when thinking about your education, a rad tech program needs to integrate soft skills like communicating effectively and problem solving into the curriculum. Here’s a heads-up: not all programs do that. (See what your degree will cover here.)
In contrast with some purely technical healthcare positions with routines that rarely change, radiologic technologists have days that vary widely. In fact, you might spend almost as much time interacting with patients of all ages and cultures as you do performing the technical parts of the job.
Would earning a medical imaging degree be a great fit for you? Here’s a chart of traits that indicate you may be a good fit for a radiologic technology career.
Do These Personal Qualities Sound Like You? * I’m known as a caring, compassionate person. * I’m eager to be part of a team in the healthcare field.
* I’m a focused, active listener and love interacting with people. * I’m interested in learning how to set up and operate high-tech equipment.
* I’m looking for a career that offers different challenges from day to day. * I’m comfortable with constantly changing scenarios.
* I’m highly organized and have good attention to detail. * I’m looking for a career where I can expand my expertise and can find many work settings.
* I prioritize the needs of others above my own. * I’m interested in entering a professional career with a 2-year college degree.
Those who’ve become radiologic technologists say there are many significant advantages. Check these 8 great benefits:
1. Highly rated healthcare support field. Since 2018, radiologic technology has been a top-25 profession in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking for healthcare support roles. The rankings consider salary, current and future job market, and work-life balance.
2. Helping People: Direct interaction with patients, providing guidance and expertise.
3. Increasing Demand: An aging population translates into the need for more medical care, including diagnostic imaging, forecasting ongoing job growth in this sector.
4. Flexible Schedules: Options for part-time and full-time positions
5. Shorter Educational Pathway: Becoming a technologist typically requires a two-year degree.
6. Diverse Work Settings: Ability to work in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic labs, and outpatient care centers.
7. Strong Income Potential: Higher median wages than the national average and opportunities for further specialization.
8. Specialization: After earning their degree and becoming a registered Radiologic Technologist, rad techs can add certifications in various diagnostic areas, such as computed tomography (CT scan), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), bone densitometry, and others.
While she knew that working with patients in the healthcare field spoke to her, Elizabeth B. knew she didn’t want to be a doctor or nurse. She switched careers to become a radiologic technologist, earning her 2-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology in 2023.
“I choose to become a radiology technologist because I wanted to help people,” she says. “I had been in my other career for about 18 years. When I found rad tech, it just spoke to me. I love being around people, and we will always need X-rays, MRIs, and CTs in the future. I knew it was a smart way to go.”
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, chiropractic and health science university in Overland Park, Kansas, a part of the Kansas City metro. Within our College of Health Sciences, CUKC offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology that most students complete within two years.
Features of the CUKC radiologic technology degree include:
It’s easy learn more about our 2-year pathway to a medical imaging degree. Start by connecting with a CUKC admissions advisor and checking out our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.