UPDATED JULY 23, 2021
There’s one question that seems to always come up about diagnostic medical imaging careers: “Is this the job for me?” Well, a knack for tech and an interest in caring for patients are good indicators for success as a radiologic technologist (rad tech). If that sounds like you, taking rad tech classes and getting into the in-demand rad tech profession may be just what you’re looking for!
Is Diagnostic Medical Imaging Right for Me?
Radiologic technologists love how they get to work on high-tech equipment, and at the same time, they interact with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. It’s like finding the best of both kinds of work, and that’s a big part of what makes the “rad tech-life” so attractive.
Although people from nearly any background can learn the skills and knowledge to become a diagnostic medical imaging professional, there are three specific characteristics common to rad techs.
1. Rad techs have a genuine interest in how equipment can best be used
Rad techs are at the center of innovative technology. Diagnostic medical imaging processes are generally safer and more accurate ways to know what’s truly happening inside the human body. The capabilities of diagnostic medical imaging are expanding every day.
2. Rad techs take responsibility and are detail-focused.
As a rad tech, you’re in charge of setting up, adjusting, and using various diagnostic imaging equipment, including portable units brought to patient rooms. You’re the diagnostic medical imaging professional on the healthcare team. You’re the professional who understands:
3. Rad techs can adapt quickly to continually changing imaging scenarios.
In a trauma situation, a rad tech might be the first member of a healthcare team that a patient encounters. A rad tech knows how to interact compassionately with patients, and every patient will have different challenges.
Depending on what you like to do and which additional certifications you might want to have, you could find employment in a physician group practice, a hospital, a diagnostic lab, or an outpatient care center.
Today’s college degree of choice for most rad techs in the diagnostic medical imaging workforce is the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in radiologic technology. Because the A.A.S. in rad tech is an accelerated two-year degree program, know this: You’ll have a lot to learn, and it comes at you fairly fast.
If classes like these sound appealing, you could be a rad tech:
The critical factors to success in your rad tech classes are a commitment to studying and practicing, showing initiative in class and lab sessions, and taking advantage of patient care opportunities set up by the rad tech school you’re attending.
When you achieve specific skill competencies, you’ll be eligible for shifts at an affiliated clinical site. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure your rad tech program schedules at least some of its courses in the evenings.
Know This About the Diagnostic Medical Imaging Profession
The goal of a rad tech degree program is for you to be eligible to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) national exam and become a certified and licensed radiologic technologist. An A.A.S. in RadiologicTechnology is a challenging degree program, but the skill set you’ll have after completion will take you into an always interesting, in-demand career.
According to data from Salary.com, experienced rad techs can earn more than $55,000 per year. Newly certified rad techs typically find salaries in the $43,800-48,000 range. The demand for radiologic technologists will increase at least 7% through 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) — a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university — offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S. degree) in Radiologic Technology. This two-year college degree in healthcare uses eight-week courses that allow for deep understanding. The program’s goal is to prepare students for the national certifying exam as a radiographer.
Classroom knowledge combines with hands-on training in the University’s own radiologic equipment rooms and two demonstration suites. CUKC has a network of partner clinics that accept rad tech students, and all CUKC instructors have experience working as radiologic technologists.
Medical diagnostic imaging is a superior career field, and it’s radiologic technologists who are doing this important work. For more information about the rad tech profession, get this free eBook today: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.