Being a radiology technician is more than just a simple diagnostic profession. These techs’s have a range of specialties and also have an assortment of names. Radiographers and medical radiation technologist are a couple examples of other names for radiologist. The main purpose of any radiology technician is the reading of images scanned of certain internal body parts for diagnosis. CT scans, mammograms and MRI’s are just a few of the common scans reviewed.
A practitioner working as a RT uses a range of equipment to aid the diagnostic process. X-ray machines as well as resonance imaging devices aid the RT in obtaining pictures of internal body structures. The technician uses the images gathered to identify diseases in the body and formulate a treatment plan to manage those conditions. Simply processing images are not all that RT’s perform, they also:
- Create and administer dyed solutions to increase image clarity
- Communicate with the patient regarding the procedure
- Ensure proper patient positioning to reduce x-ray over exposure
- Work in hand with the doctors to ensure the right type and amount of images are captured
- Operate the various imaging devices
- Maintain and adjust the imaging devices
- Compile patient data while maintaining accurate records
The Key Characteristics of a Radiology Technician
There are certain characteristics a Radiology Technician must possess in order to have a successful career. A good bedside manner is one of the main components any one working in the medical field should have, additional positive attributes are listed below.
The ability to observe details- Radiology Technician’s will take images used by medical professionals to diagnose diseases. It is very important to be able to follow precise instructions without variation. Paying attention the proper details allows the tech’s to get the exact images needed for efficient treatment.
Superior math and science skills- Some images require patients to drink a special mixture to highlight certain organs. An efficient technician will need to be proficient in several sciences such as anatomy and physiology among others. Proper dosages, as well as proper mixing of the imaging solution are key to a properly taken diagnostic image.
Fluid interpersonal skills- Working with patients is not always an easy job. Many people who come in for diagnostic imaging are not always feeling or looking their best. The ability to put a patient at ease while completing your task is a professional manner is an invaluable skill. Radiology Technicians are among several medial personnel a patient may see, and must always be cool, calm, kind, and collected during the procedures.
Adequate endurance- most imaging devices requires RT’s to be in their feet for long stretches. In addition, many patients will need assistance moving around and being properly placed for effective imaging results.
Technical aptitude- Imaging machines are complex machines that require precise operation to work properly. A Radiology Technician must be able to learn and retain the information needed to operate the devices and safely collect patient images.
Swift problem solving skills- Diagnostic imaging doesn’t have much room for error, but the ability to think on your feet when a problem does arise is very important in the radiology field.
Entering Into The Radiology Technician Career Field
Being a Radiology Technician is not as easy as it may sound. The proper educational background paired with hands on training is required. The least required to start in the radiology technician field is a certificate from an accredited institution. Most that enter the field opt for either a 2 or 4 year course to get the most up to date information on patient imaging.
There are many types of schools that offer classes for Radiology Technicians. Community based universities, vocational institutions and even technical schools offer comprehensive classes geared to teaching imaging professionals. Teaching is done in person in a classroom setting, and the majority of the classes also offer hand on clinical training for increased proficiency.
Only programs that are accredited offer certificate and diploma programs. A full course typically includes classes in:
- Physics of radiation
- Patient care
- And protection from radiation
If you are looking to start in the field of radiologic technology, building your knowledge base during high school is the best course. Even if you did not start in high school, many of the course classes can be added to bolster your educational merits.
Regardless of which state you reside in, Radiology Technicians must be licensed or at least certified from an accredited program. Along with a successfully completed program,
radiologic technologists must pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (AART) certification test, or a local state issued test for licensing. All those in the field must also continue to stay abreast of the changes in the field by participating in continuing education classes.
Work Environment of Radiology Technicians
Radiology Technicians are not limited to any one particular medical setting. More than half of the certified professionals who work in this sector are employed in hospitals. The second most popular placement is in private doctor’s offices. The remaining amount of imaging consultants tends to be a mix of labs, clinics and other outpatient care centers.
As with other careers in the health care sector, there is an increased amount of exposure to infectious diseases. The exposure to radiation is also higher that most other jobs. There are safety items provided along with each device such a lead lined gloves and aprons that help minimize unnecessary exposure. Patient information is another important part of the Radiology Technician’s job. There are federal and state HIPPA laws that regulate how patient information is shared; each Radiology Technician is tasked with fully understanding those laws prior to seeing patients.
Radiology Technician Salary expectations
Radiology Technician’s on average make $54,340 annually. Those at the higher end of the pay scale earn $76,850 and those at the bottom earn around $36,510. in addition to monetary benefits, most positions offer Radiology Technicians a healthy compensation package.
Over the last few years, there were over 200k people employed in the field. With the aging population, that number is expected to increase by 28% making it a great field to take interest in.
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