Some healthcare jobs might sound less interesting because it’s difficult to imagine all the responsibilities they have and the variety of tasks they do. That is certainly not the case with medical imaging – producing X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc. It’s those with a two-year radiography degree who are performing these exams. Their job title? Radiologic technologists – rad techs.
Once you know the inside story of a radiologic technologist’s career, becoming one will likely interest you. The healthcare role rad techs have is vitally important and provides a high level of personal satisfaction. It’s a top-25 healthcare job according to the U.S. News annual rankings.
This high ranking is because imaging is rapidly replacing exploratory surgeries and other invasive procedures. Today’s scanning technologies see inside the human body, producing highly detailed pictures that help physicians determine what’s wrong and devise highly accurate treatments.
A rad tech can detect broken bones, arthritis, tumors, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, fluid buildup, collapsed lungs, pneumonia, and much more. By earning a radiography degree from an American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) approved program, you can be one of these imaging professionals.
A radiologic technologist’s career, in reality, is much different than many may think. Here are three ways the “Rad tech reality” could fit the career you have in mind.
1. What You Thought: “I don’t only like to work in technology. I like to have contact with people, too.”
Rad Tech Reality: In an emergency room scenario, a rad tech may be one of the first healthcare professionals patients encounter. Patients with traumatic injuries are often in pain and facing their injury situation alone. During a diagnostic imaging exam, the radiologic technologist demonstrates care and concern, helping patients be as comfortable as possible, and explaining the diagnostic imaging procedures.
At the same time, the radiography degree education means rad techs are specialists on the healthcare team who have multiple responsibilities:
2. What You Thought: “I like technology, and I love working with people, but I really don’t want to go to college for four years.”
Rad Tech Reality: In the most efficient format, a radiography degree is accomplished in two years by earning an Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) degree in Radiologic Technology.
The A.A.S. degree is an applied-degree program in which the vast majority of coursework centers on the skills and knowledge needed to perform the rad tech duties.
In an accelerated A.A.S. degree program, students receive extensive hands-on training from instructors who have real-world experience as radiologic technologists. Students master skills through coursework and labs featuring the same technologies they’ll have once they’re in the rad tech workforce. Clinical experiences in area healthcare facilities complete the radiography degree education.
Through standards set by the ARRT, radiography degree grads are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam. Also, U.S. states have unique licensing requirements.
3. What You Thought: “I’ve never heard of radiologic technologists, so the pay must not be that much.”
Rad Tech Reality: If you think about it, having excellent patient care abilities and expertise in imaging technology procedures and best practices is a unique combination of skill sets. As a result, there’s a significant demand for radiologic technologists, and the pay scale reflects this.
According to Salary.com, the median salary for an experienced radiologic technologist rose to $56,122 in 2020. Newly certified and registered rad techs average about $45,000 per year. Salaries go higher in states where the demand is higher: the west and east coasts, Texas, and Hawaii.
The radiographer’s salary isn’t the best part of the job. Instead, rad techs emphasize the personal satisfaction of being a key member of a patient’s healthcare team and a growing career outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points to 6% growth between 2021and 2031.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC is a nonprofit, private, university that’s focused on degrees in the healthcare professions. In the two-year radiologic technologist program, students receive an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology degree.
The CUKC program prepares graduates to become certified and registered to perform diagnostic imaging as a radiographer. The program meets the educational eligibility requirements for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Radiography Examination to become a registered technologist. Most of our students earn their degree in about two years through our all-year schedule.
Ready to learn more about a radiologic technology career? Talk to an advisor now and also download the free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.