To know you’re filling a need and be appreciated for your contributions…is there anything more powerful than that? Not every career can deliver on both fronts, but one definitely does. It’s called radiologic technology, and the college degree that accomplishes that is the two-year degree in radiography.
Medical Imaging = Better Diagnostic Results
The diagnostic images physicians require to see what’s happening inside the human body demand the unique talents of radiologic technologists – rad techs. Because today’s imaging techniques are so precise and detailed, imaging is almost always better than invasive procedures. In 2019, radiologic technologists performed nearly 300 million imaging scans of all types.
In the role of a radiologic technologist, you’ll be a member of a physician’s team who captures images of patients’ internal organs, soft tissues, and bones using X-ray equipment or other imaging methods.
You might also assist doctors using other diagnostic methods, such as fluoroscopic imaging (a continuous X-ray image), C-arm equipment, or special cameras to examine organs such as the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
OK, is it a Radiologic Technologist or Radiographer?
Different job titles for the same position can be confusing. Still, you can consider radiographer and radiologic technologist as meaning the same thing, just like doctor and physician mean the same thing.
What’s interesting is that most radiologic technologists (63%) enter the profession by earning a radiography degree. Once in the diagnostic imaging profession, they often add other imaging certifications. (See examples of additional certifications here.)
Many rad techs like their career choice because they can add certifications to meet their specific interests. The more certifications a rad tech has, the more job prospects they typically have.
Typically, the radiography degree of choice is the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology. The “applied” part of the degree is the reason so many rad techs today choose the A.A.S. degree as their entry into the high-demand field of radiography. The curriculum of the A.A.S. degree is explicitly tailored to the skills and knowledge rad techs will use when they’re in the workforce.
Most rad tech students complete their radiography degree in less than two years through a year-round schedule of classes, labs, and “practice what you’re learned” clinical experiences. As students reach specific competencies, they become eligible for placement in worksites affiliated with their university.
After receiving their rad tech degree, graduates are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam to become registered and certified as radiologic technologists. Certification is through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
There is a lot of variety in a rad tech’s day. On any given shift, rad techs may be using a portable X-ray machine in a hospital room, a C-arm in surgery, and performing scans for a patient injured in an accident.
Radiography Degree Delivers a Satisfying Career
The career site owlguru.com asked employed rad techs what they liked about their role in healthcare.
Overall, radiologic technologists gave their profession four out of five stars. Among the answers contributing to this ranking were “working as a team,” “having group discussions with other healthcare team members,” “making decisions using their skills and abilities,” and “working with patients every day.”
In addition, more than 77% said they believe their job is making other people’s lives better.
When examining wages, Salary.com places yearly pay for new rad techs between $45,000 and $48,000. Rad techs with experience often earn from $50,794 to $61,301 or more.
Radiologic technologists must renew their certifications every two years, showing compliance with all ARRT regulations and its standards of ethics, and completion of the required number of continuing education hours.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas, a large suburb within the Kansas City metro.
Our Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology program was designed with the guidance of imaging center professionals and employers. The CUKC program takes students on the radiography primary pathway to become radiologic technologists.
Many students are able to learn patient care techniques as early as the third trimester because our program places an equal emphasis on patient interaction skills and technical competency.
Jobs in healthcare occupations are projected to grow 15% from 2019-29, and the demand for rad techs is expected to increase by 7% over the same time frame. Contact our admissions advisors here, and you’ll get this free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.