Take a few moments to think about a health care career that might be perfect for you. If you’re drawn to radiologic technology, it’s easy to understand why. Many people have discovered that a radiologic technologist degree can provide personal satisfaction and professional success, all while helping those in need.
One of the best parts about becoming a radiologic technologist (rad tech) is that you don’t have to sit at a desk all day or do the same thing over and over. In most cases, your work is done in a clinical environment that challenges you with something different nearly every day. For that reason, your clinical training is crucial to your success. It is detailed and thorough, to ensure that you are prepared to work when you graduate from your radiologic technology program.
The Clinical Experience
Training in a clinical environment starts soon after you begin working toward earning your radiologic technologist degree, in some cases as early as your second semester. After you’ve exhibited the necessary patient positioning skills to create quality X-ray images, you advance into a clinical setting for interactive education with actual patients. This will be conducted concurrently with your classroom hours and it may involve you working one-on-one with patients, or assisting other radiography professionals.
The expectations for you will be high. You may even feel like your clinical experience is an extended job interview, and that’s alright. It’s an excellent opportunity to understand first-hand what your employers and patients will demand. Quality education from an accredited radiologic technology program will help you not only meet those expectations but exceed them.
Locations and Situations
Many people considering a rad tech career immediately associate the work with a hospital. It’s true that hospitals employ rad techs, and many people in the field choose to work in that environment. However, a hospital may not be ideal for everyone. Luckily, there are several different paths available; you simply need to find the right one that’s right for you. Here are some other options:
Regardless of what you choose, the knowledge from your radiologic technology program goes with you, which means you could be successful working at any of the locations above.
The imaging situations that you encounter in each of the work locations will also make a difference. You may enjoy traveling and visiting people as part of a mobile imaging team. Or, an intense emergency room setting may be more your style. During your clinical experiences, you’ll have the opportunity to explore different locations and situations that will help you expand your professional knowledge and skill sets.
While you may have a preference, it’s great that you have multiple possibilities on your plate. That kind of flexibility is another benefit of this growing career field.
Expecting the Unexpected
Wherever you go for your clinical experience, you will likely be expected to contribute in a variety of ways, some that you may not expect. This may include more than taking X-rays, but that’s all part of earning your radiologic technologist degree. This may include any or all of the following:
Although these tasks are routine, don’t underestimate their importance. Again, you must serve in whatever capacity you are needed, knowing that what you do today may benefit you tomorrow.
Expect to Learn
Now, here’s the exciting part! Whether your clinical studies take place at an imaging center or an emergency room, you can expect to learn…a lot! There is no substitute for doing things in real time, driven by actual circumstances because it helps you to better understand the profession you’ve chosen.
Your clinical experience is your opportunity to follow guidance and receive feedback from those who have been in your shoes. Remember, learning is a life-long process.
This clinical experience is the time when you come into your own as a rad tech. Your coursework will prepare you for it, and when blended with your clinical work, concepts, and practices will begin to come together. Take the time to ask questions of your clinical site mentors and seek their guidance. You will gain confidence and become more comfortable with your skill set, simply by utilizing everything you’ve been taught in your radiologic technology program.
The clinical experience helps you to develop a skill set that will be the foundation of your career. The training will be very similar to what you learned in school, only in a “real-world” setting. In addition, you will begin to rely on your “soft skills” when caring for your patients, including:
As you develop your soft skills with patients, be sure to apply those skills to the people who are supervising your clinical experience, too. It could help you to land a full-time job after graduation.
CUKC Radiologic Technologist Program
At Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), we understand that our students want more than a degree, they want to excel in a health care profession. That’s why we used our nearly 100 years of experience as educators in chiropractic and the health sciences to design the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology degree.
CUKC is a nonprofit, health care-focused, private university located in Overland Park, Kansas. At CUKC, the radiologic technologist degree can be earned in as little as two years. We offer focused 8-week evening courses on campus that are designed to immerse you in your class subjects.
To learn more about radiologic technology and how to begin a career in one of the top health care support careers in the nation, download the free ebook, Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.