Radiology is a vast field essential to basic healthcare, centered around diagnosis and imaging scans of injuries and physical ailments to develop a treatment plan. While most radiology centers around imagining scans such as MRIs, CTs, ultrasounds and X-rays, the use of radiology in medicine extends beyond imaging into experimental treatment in oncology specialties and other aspects of medicine. Radiology is not limited to one specific field, but spans the entire healthcare field from dentistry to dermatology, providing essential insight into conditions and their possible causes and treatments.
Despite the broad span of radiology across various fields, radiology technicians typically adopt one specific field of practice rather than becoming jacks of all trades. However, those who carry experience in more than one field are valued heavily in the medical world as essential employees in the healthcare industry. Typically, radiology technicians are usually required to undergo an exam and hold a certificate or degree, although these requirements vary across the U.S. The majority of radiology training takes approximately two years, whether administered at a hospital or in a traditional college setting. Radiology technicians must also show proficiency in basic aspects of medical science, such as anatomy/physiology, communication, problem-solving, and medical basics. Almost every program, regardless of whether or not one undergoes hospital or college training, requires at least a GED or high school diploma.
After training and obtaining a certificate, a license is administered by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists, allowing one to officially practice in the field of radiology. At least 24 continuing education credits are required every year for license maintenance, and specialty in particular fields becomes available once the license has been issued (ultrasound technician, mammography technician, etc.).
Radiology technicians are expected to be attentive to the patient’s needs and scan results, along with being physically fit enough to maneuver the patient for optimal scans. In addition, technicians are expected to be able to work well with doctors and nurses in interpreting scans and developing a plan of treatment. The work environment is not nearly as chaotic as other medical specialties, but can be physically demanding at points, in regards to both physical fitness needed for the job and long shifts to accommodate all emergencies. The vast majority of radiology technicians work in a hospital environment, as well. With major expansion of the medical industry and introduction of new technology in the last several decades, the employment opportunities and need for radiology technicians has drastically increased, providing fantastic chances for aspiring radiology technicians seeking to enter the field.
All in all, the average radiology technician can expect a decent five-figure salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for radiology technicians in 2013 was approximately $56,700. Additional information regarding radiology technology careers is offered by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists.