How To Become A Radiologic Technologist
How to Become a Radiology Technician
Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x-rays, in order to help physicians diagnose the problems that are ailing their patients. The average radiologic technologist makes ,340 per year and the career is growing at a rate of 28% of 2010-2012.Sound good? Although radiologic technologists have a promising career, they have to work 40-hour weeks, spend much of their time on their feet, and need stellar interpersonal skills to make their clients feel comfortable. They also need to learn medical terminology, anatomy, and how to administer x-rays. If you think you have what it takes to be a radiologic technologist, just follow these steps.
Get a high school diploma or a GED.You will need to pursue a higher education to become a radiologic technologist, so you will have to start here if you do not have this degree already. If you're still in high school and know you want to be a radiologic technologist, then you can try to take courses that can help you succeed in the field. Here are some courses you can focus on in high school:
Get a higher education.You can get the education you need in three ways: through a bachelor's degree, an associate degree, or a certificate program. You may find a B.A. program that offers a major in Radiologic Technology, though the most common path for radiologic technologists is getting an associate degree from an accredited community college or a private (for-profit) institution. The certificate program typically lasts 21-24 months and is perfect for individuals who already have experience in radiology technology. Whatever higher educational path you take, you will study the following subjects:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Patient care and management
- Equipment operation
- Radiographic procedures
- Radiation protection
- Image production
- Clinical practice
- Medical terminology
Get the training.While you're getting your education, you will most likely have to get some hands-on training to learn the ropes of the career. Just make sure to take a program that is certified by The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). You may have to take coding and medical office courses as well as to learn how to work with actual patients. Once you get your training, here are some of the things you will learn to do:
- Operate x-ray equipment.
- Organize, process and analyze medical images.
- Acquire and calculate accurate mathematical measurements.
- Perform quality control.
Consider specializing.Specializing in a specific field of radiologic technology will give you a leg up in interviews and will make you a desirable candidate. You can specialize during your training or after you've gone on the job. Specialization requires more training and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification in your field. Here are some fields that you can specialize in:
Pass the mandatory exams to become certified.To become a certified technologist, a student may be required to successfully pass the exams, as well as meet the Technical Standards and Essential Functions (TSEF). The exam may be given by your individual state or by the AART. It tests the following skills:
- Observation skills. The student must demonstrate the ability to assess and comprehend the diagnosis.
- Communication skills. The student must learn verbal, non-verbal and written formats.
- Motor skills. The student must execute basic movements to lift and move immobile patients.
- Intellectual skills. The student must be able to make decisions, interpret, collect and integrate information.
Get licensed.Most states require individuals to secure a license along with their certification. You should look into the requirements of your state, since they differ; some states simply use the ARRT exams for licensing, but others may require additional work to be done.
- Contact your state's health board for more information on what you need to do to become a radiology technician in your state.
Get on-the-job training to prepare for employment.Internships are great for getting training in a field. An internship will allow you to receive first-hand knowledge of the daily routines. This may also be more feasible if you're having a hard time finding full-time employment at first.
Submit employment applications and get hired.Read the job description and posting thoroughly before completing an application. Make sure that you meet the necessary qualifications before you apply for the position. After getting hired, enjoy the employment benefit package. Go online to reputable websites such as the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) site to see what opportunities are out there.
- Answer all questions with clear and precise information using buzz words. Buzz words are the words the human resources department will initially scan for when checking an application.
- If requested, submit all credentials such as a transcript, certification and references. Make a copy of paperwork for your file before submitting.
- The benefits packages may include: a pension plan, tuition reimbursement, paid vacation, holidays and sick days and insurance coverage.
Join a professional organization to stay current on innovations in the field.Professional organizations keep members informed of new techniques, procedures, legislative acts, new licensure requirements and updates on conferences and continuing education programs.
- These organizations will also help you network and meet other people in your field who could help you find future work.
Continue to develop your skills.If you want to be the best radiologic technologist that you can be, then you can continue to develop the skills you need to excel at your job. Here are the some of the qualities that you should posses and improve:
- Being detail-orientied. You have to follow the exact instructions you need to get the correct images that will help to diagnose and treat your patients.
- Science and mathematical skills. You must deepen your understanding of physiology, anatomy, and other sciences.
- Technical skills. You must have a deep understanding of how to operate the complex machinery at your disposal.
Succeeding in Your Career
Maintain your certified status.If you want to maintain your ARRT certified status, then you'll need to get 24 hours of continuing education every two years. This will help you brush up on your skills, learn new techniques, and to stay current in your field.
Train entry-level technicians.As you become more experienced in your career, you may be asked to train or even to manage entry-level technologists. Make sure you know how to educate and manage others in a professional and helpful manner.
Develop your interpersonal skills.Your job will require you to work closely with patients, many of whom will be under incredible stress or in extreme pain. They will need you to calm them down and to help them relax as you do your job. As you grow in your career, you will need to master small talk as well as the ability to make patients feel as calm and comfortable as possible.
- They will undoubtedly be nervous and they may ask you what you see on the machines. However, youcannotdiagnose patients yourself or tell them what you see; you may notice a large tumor, but you must not show distress and keep telling the patients that only the doctors can diagnose the problems and that your job is just to operate the machine.
Keep your stamina up.You will need both physical and mental stamina to succeed at your job. Though the average work week for a radiology technician is 40 hours a week, your job may require you to work evenings, weekends, or to take on other on-call work, especially when you're starting out. You will need to stay physically strong because you may have to lift and move patients, and you will have to stay mentally tough because the job can get a bit repetitive and can also be emotionally draining, as working with potentially sick patients may take a toll on you.
- Though the job can be a bit mentally and physically draining, at the end of the day, you should feel proud that you're helping patients diagnose their problems and to get on the road to recovery.
Advance in your career.Though the position of radiologic technologist has less opportunities for clinical advancement, if you do want to advance, then you can move into several other fields that can offer a change of pace and in some cases, a higher salary. Here are the most common fields that experienced radiology technicians can enter into:
QuestionHow many credits do I need to get an associate degree?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's usually 60 credits, but check with the school you are attending. It usually takes two years if you go to school full time.Thanks!
QuestionCan I become a radiology technician if I have a bachelor's degree in the arts?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but you will need additional training.Thanks!
QuestionCan I study to become a radiology technician online?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, there are no online Rad Tech schools. The job itself involves way too much hands on patient interaction to be an online course.Thanks!
QuestionCan I be a radiologist if I am studying physics?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can be a radiologist if you are studying physics.Thanks!
QuestionAre there schools in India where I can train as a radiology technician?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, there are many good institutions in India where you can train to become a radiology technician.Thanks!
QuestionCan I become a radiology technician if I am studying mathematics and chemistry?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you may also need to take some specific radiology tech classes as well.Thanks!
If I already have an Ultrasound associates degree, what more would I need to become a radiology technician?
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Video: Radiology Tech Q&A
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