“Finding the right answers begins with the right questions.” That’s the advice of award-winning thought leader Frank Sonnenberg, and it certainly applies to finding a rewarding career. In the red-hot healthcare market, for instance, why not become a radiologic technologist? It is, after all, a top-15-rated healthcare support job.
Still, you can truly determine if you should become a radiologic technologist by asking the right questions. Following Frank’s advice, here are six questions and six answers to give you a head start in evaluating this career choice.
1. What is a radiologic technologist?
When someone becomes a radiologic technologist, it means being certified and registered to accurately capture diagnostic images physicians use to diagnose diseases, conditions, and injuries. (This is in contrast to a technician, who typically has more limited technical skills and may not have a comprehensive understanding of imaging principles.)
Radiologic technologists – often referred to as rad techs – perform more than 300 million scans of various types every year.
2. Why do people call radiologic technology a “high-tech/high-touch” profession?
The job title itself might make you think rad techs only work with equipment to obtain imaging results. However, that’s understating what they do because rad techs are also involved in direct patient care. Imagine the anxiety a patient feels when seeing they’re about to undergo unfamiliar procedures using technology they may have never seen before. Rad techs calmly explain what’s going to happen and bring encouragement and compassion into a stressful situation.
Plus, another part of becoming a radiologic technologist is moving and lifting patients to and from wheelchairs, stretchers, hospital beds, or radiographic exam tables. Rad techs must know how to perform these patient-care tasks without causing unnecessary pain or discomfort.
3. What are typical job duties for a radiologic technologist?
Here’s a list of job responsibilities for a radiologic technologist:
4. What does a two-year degree in radiologic technology cover?
More than 64% of rad techs who work in direct patient care roles have an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology degree. These programs design their curriculums to meet employer specifications. Students typically complete the 75 credit hours required for an A.A.S. degree within two years.
To become a radiologic technologist, students must first have 24 credit hours of general education and prerequisites. “Gen ed” classes include healthcare terminology, anatomy, physiology, math, and communication.
After that, students take at least 50 credit hours of professional radiologic technology courses, many of which involve hands-on learning. These classes and experiences provide the knowledge and expertise required to work as a certified radiologic technologist.
Examples of knowledge/skills areas include:
5. A degree in radiologic technology includes a “clinical rotation” component. What is that?
Clinical rotations refer to supervised work assignments that are scheduled at times when you’re not in class.
As students achieve specific competencies, they can begin practicing those skills in a clinical environment. Typically, this is through an affiliate network of hospitals, clinics, and imaging centers. On-staff clinical coordinators set up the assignments.
6. If I become a radiologic technologist, will I love what I do?
Ask Abby L. that question, and you’ll get a resounding “Yes.” Abby graduated with her two-year A.A.S. in Radiologic Technology degree in 2019. She is confident she found her right “career fit.”
“I chose to go into healthcare because I have a passion for wanting to help people,” she says. “Now 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.”
(Read more of Abby’s story here.)
Clearly, Abby’s not the only rad tech who feels a sense of accomplishment in her healthcare career choice. Using the results of employee surveys, the career site owlguru.com gives the rad tech profession four out of five stars for job satisfaction and five out of five stars for job growth.
Entry-level radiologic technologists in the Midwest can expect to earn between $42,180 and $48,000, according to Salary.com. The national average salary for the rad tech workforce is $59,800.
Need a one-page visual snapshot of the profession? Go here.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas. CUKC students earn the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology using a two-year schedule.
Our program meets the educational requirements for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) primary certification and registration in radiography.
Are you ready to become a radiologic technologist? Contact an admissions advisor and receive this free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.