UPDATED OCT. 22, 2021
Hearing people talk about the reasons they love their occupation carries a lot more weight than just describing it. That’s a truism that applies to jobs with unique responsibilities and a long title…like a radiologic technologist. Even when realizing imaging is essential in healthcare today, what more should be known? And what do those with a radiologic technology degree have to say about their profession?
What’s a Radiologic Technology Degree All About?
First of all, a radiologic technology degree has nothing to do with radio waves and is not as technical as you might think. A radiologic technologist (a rad tech) is a medical industry professional who is certified and registered to perform diagnostic imaging examinations.
According to the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) statistics, the most chosen option for a radiologic technology program is the two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. Why an A.A.S.? The A.A.S. degree focuses heavily on applying skills, principles, and strategies within a specific profession. Although most rad techs who choose this career pathway use their patient-focused skills all the time, some rad techs move up to supervisory or administrative positions.
One of the big draws to a rad tech career is how every day is likely to have different challenges. Radiologic technologists love the wide variety of duties they have.
Dustin, a rad tech in Flagstaff, Ariz., said it this way on Indeed.com: “People come in hurt, in pain, and scared.” Ashley, another rad tech, remarked how the profession rewards those who are both “creative and wish to help others.”
On any given shift, expect to do any or all of the following:
With a Radiologic Technology Degree, You Have Options
Rad techs also like the many environments where they can go for employment. More than 50% of rad techs work in hospitals. Other settings include community mini-hospitals operated by larger hospital systems, physician offices, medical or diagnostic labs, outpatient centers, and federal or state agencies. Doing imaging at the site of exams helps physicians pinpoint health problems faster.
Here’s another reason rad techs love what they do: it’s a career that opens the door to getting additional credentials. Having more credentials often translates into higher pay and more employment options.
A radiologic technologist, for example, often carries the designation (R), denoting radiography (X-ray). From there, rad techs can expand their expertise into other fields:
Some jobs are decidedly technical, and others depend more on analysis and judgment. One thing that students and professionals love about a radiologic technology degree is how it uses both creative and logical thinking capabilities.
Dawn is a rad tech with decades of experience. She said it this way: “I was told I should do something highly technical and also artistic. Rad tech covers both. You have to like people and be willing to learn continually. You need to be able to work alone and as part of a team.”
You’re Part of a Healthcare Team
Another aspect of earning a radiologic technology degree is the specialness of what they know. Rad techs appreciate their role as an expert within a healthcare team.
Linda Watson, a radiologic technologist with other advanced certifications, noted this in a published report titled Patient Safety and Quality in Medical Imaging: “…the technologist often is the only healthcare professional who might recognize that an ordering physician has requested an exam that duplicates one the patient recently has undergone or is questionable in indication or appropriateness.”
Compensation Reflects This Expertise
The median salary for experienced rad techs is $55,449, according to Salary.com, while new rad techs in the midwest earn between $43-$8,000. Salary potential increases via time in the field, the demand in a specific city or state, and additional certifications. Overall, the job outlook for radiologic technologists is expected to increase 9% from 2020 through 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Again, Dawn, the veteran rad tech, says it best: “If you’re good at it, it’s very rewarding.”
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas. CUKC offers an accelerated, two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Radiologic Technology degree. The CUKC Radiologic Technology degree program is recognized as an American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT) approved educational provider for Radiography.
Features of the program include eight-week evening courses. The CUKC radiologic technology degree program also teaches the patient interaction skills today’s employers want to see.
Hands-on training happens in the University’s on-campus radiologic equipment rooms and two demonstration suites. After meeting competency requirements, students have clinical experiences arranged with our network of affiliated clinics throughout Kansas City and the surrounding communities.
Get more information about the CUKC radiologic technology degree by contacting an advisor. You’ll be able to download this free ebook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.