Let’s just get this out of the way…unless you’re already in healthcare, you may not know how to answer the question, “What is a radiologic technologist?” Still, the odds are quite good you’ve seen them in movies, on TV, or had a family member who’s benefited from their specialized knowledge.
Becoming a radiologic technologist – often called a rad tech – means becoming the healthcare team member who usually works behind the scenes, setting up and operating various diagnostic medical imaging equipment. It’s the rad tech’s responsibility to ensure the image quality is high and it meets the needs of the patient’s physician.
These days, physicians depend on human body imaging tools (X-ray, MRI, CT machines, etc.) to discover what’s truly happening with a patient’s bones, organs, and tissue. Using technology to “see” inside the body is much preferred over invasive techniques or exploratory surgeries.
Do you want complete information about what a radiologic technologist is? Here are 4 helpful answers to 4 big questions.
Think of being a rad tech as working in high tech and having a high level of patent contact. Having excellent patient care interaction skills is as vital as working with technology.
Not everyone has such wide-ranging skills, but perhaps you do. Personal attributes that signal a good match for becoming a radiologic technologist include:
First, you’ll have a lot in common with people just like you. There are more than 300,000 radiologic technologists certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
The medical imaging profession is set to grow at 9% between 2020 and 2030, a rate higher than the average of all occupations.
Radiologic technologists are in demand by employers in many different healthcare settings:
More than 63% of radiologic technologists choose the two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S. degree) as their college degree choice.
The A.A.S. degree coursework teaches students how to become registered radiologic technologists. After completing a school’s ARRT-approved educational program, graduates must pass a national certifying test of knowledge and procedures.
As you can imagine, that means learning detailed knowledge of the human body’s structure, systems, and processes, plus organ locations and functions. Students who do well in radiologic technology generally have had success in biology, anatomy, and physiology coursework.
As rad tech students pass specific competency levels, they can gain imaging experience through supervised clinical experiences. By the time a rad tech student graduates, he or she will have the skills, knowledge, and experience to be an effective, productive imaging employee.
Diagnostic medical imaging roles offer a long-lasting career. The credentialing organization ARRT lists five primary pathways to becoming a radiologic technologist:
One of the reasons becoming a radiologic technologist has a good outlook is that imaging helps drive down healthcare costs. A Harvard Medical School research report showed that every $385 spent on imaging resources reduced hospital stays by one day.
Salary.com, which collects employee salary information, puts the average salary for experienced radiologic technologists at $55,449. New rad techs in the Midwest locations see salaries in the $43,827-48,000 range. Salaries trend higher in states where the demand is higher.
Overall, the career site owlguru.com gives the profession high marks for salary, that it’s a two-year college degree, and has a “high growth” career outlook.
The journey toward becoming a radiologic technologist can happen for you at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC). We are a nonprofit, private, chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of the Kansas City metro.
Feedback from medical imaging professionals guides our A.A.S. degree in Radiologic Technology program. Instructors have experience performing the imaging work they teach. There’s an equal emphasis on patient interaction skills and technical competencies.
Our radiologic technology program also features:
CUKC admissions advisors also can tell you what it’s like to be a radiologic technologist and the education that will get you there. You’ll also get our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.