People describe you as “the responsible one.” You like to take the initiative. Being an “expert” in something is important to you. You like the “techy” side, but you also have a knack for treating people with care and concern. When these traits fit you, exploring a radiologic technologist program for a career in diagnostic medical imaging may be an ideal education decision.
It certainly was for Abby Louden, a 2019 graduate of a 2-year (A.A.S.) in radiologic technology program.
“I chose to go into healthcare because I have a passion for helping people,” Abby says, “and I do find the combination of patient care and technology appealing. I get to take the X-rays that help diagnose an ill or injured patient, which then gets them the proper help they need to get better. It’s important to me. I am a very driven individual who wants to make a difference in people’s lives.
When you begin exploring radiologic technologist programs, you’ll learn that “rad techs” are essential, valued members of a patient’s healthcare team. Everyone has a specific patient-care role, and the radiologic technologist is in charge of the diagnostic imaging process, from pre-screening the patient to administering post-imaging care.
The range of responsibilities for rad techs includes
When thinking about doing X-rays, CT scans, MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), sonograms, and ultrasound exams, it’s easy to believe radiologic technologists only work in hospital emergency rooms. The truth is, diagnostic imaging is so vital to proper diagnosis, and treatment rad techs are found in many healthcare-related environments.
In 2019-20, rad techs performed more than 4.2 billion imaging procedures, and 8 of every 10 visits to hospitals and health systems included at least one imaging exam.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s where rad techs are finding employment:
Hospitals/Hospital Systems 60%
Offices of physicians 19%
Outpatient care centers 7%
Medical/Diagnostic Labs 7%
Governmental agencies/organizations 3%.
The widespread use of diagnostic imaging translates into excellent pay. The pay scale is also impressive, considering the time in school. Most rad techs earn their degrees via a 2-year degree program, then add other imaging modalities their career progresses. See the complete list here.
Typically, being certified in more imaging modalities means higher pay and more job flexibility. The job market for radiologic technologist program grads is projected at 9% over the next decade.
Not all rad tech degree programs are set up the same, so it’s a good idea to visit the university you’re considering. That way, you can check out the equipment students train with, talk to faculty instructors, and see what “student success” services are available.
Here’s a checklist to guide you in your decision-making.
|Expectation Category||What That Expectation Looks Like|
|Equipment Access||Multiple imaging units for student education, including demonstration suites and fully energized equipment|
|Trauma Preparation Coursework||Many imaging scenarios are the result of injuries or illness. An experiential radiologic pathology course sharpens critical-thinking skills|
|Meeting Employer’s Current Needs||Programs should be designed using feedback and recommendations from local radiography/radiology managers and in-field technologists|
|Focus on Patient Care||Patient-care best practices should be integrated with skills classes and labs. Instruction should use AIDET principles, which cover 5 essential communication behaviors (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, Thank You)|
|Diversity Understanding||In-class discussions cover the different communication styles for various races, cultures, religions, and ages|
|Clinical Experience Options||Radiologic technologist programs should have an established network of training sites for students’ clinical experiences. Rotation schedules should match employer needs and focus on obtaining real-world experience.|
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 technologist program include:
Click here to request more information about our 2-year degree rad tech program, and download our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.