Radiology technicians operate high tech sophisticated equipments in hospitals and clinics. These include X-ray, Mammography, Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan devices. Their main objective is to produce clear and detailed images of the inside of the human body.
This enables the physicians to diagnose and treat several medical conditions that would otherwise be difficult to document. While ensuring they get high quality and accurate images, these technicians also have to ensure that their interpersonal skills are up to the mark. They have to assuage the anxieties of patients who have several doubts running in their mind regarding their condition.
These technicians are the ones play a pivotal role in diagnosing and eventually help treating any condition a patient has. Without the radiologists the physicians are literally crippled as it is only thanks to them that they can diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries with great accuracy.
One of the highlights of this job is that not only does it pay well (an average radiology technician makes $54,340 per year); it is very challenging and interesting.
These technicians have a unique opportunity to work with some of the most exciting and ground breaking medical machinery available in the whole world.
The first step towards becoming a radiology technician is to meet the proper educational requirements. Firstly, a high school diploma with special focus in Anatomy, Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics is a must.
Once you graduate from high school, you can either opt for a certificate program, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in Radiology.
A certificate program typically lasts for 21-24 months and it’s perfect for individuals who already have previous experience in radiology technology. However, this also requires accreditation from regulating bodies. One needs to choose a community or vocational school that is accredited. This is mandatory or else you might find it difficult to land a job in most medical settings. There are several online courses also available if you intend to pursue your studies and work at the same time.
The most common path to become a radiology technician is getting an associate’s degree from an accredited community college or a private (for-profit) institution. This is preferred as it gives the students an edge in terms of comprehensive education as well as laboratory exposure.
The last option, a four-year bachelor’s degree is another good way for you to learn all the subjects in-depth.
However, whichever option you pursue, your core subjects would include Radiation Physics, Anatomy, Pathology and Radio Biology.
While you are pursuing your course, you will have to undergo training by the side. This includes a hands on approach on how to operate x-ray equipment, organize, process and analyze medical images, acquire and calculate accurate mathematical measurements and of course quality control.
Also, to be eligible for national certification, all the candidates mustdemonstrate proficiency in a number of clinical procedures within three years of earning an associate’s degree.
Once the basic training is done, the students can up their skill by specializing in a certain area. These include Mammography, Computer tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Cellular imaging, Medical Sonography, Medical imaging and Radiography.
Final Certification and Licensing:
The most important certification when it comes to radiological technician is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certification exam. One should also keep in mind that to maintain the certification, 24 hours of continuing education every two years is mandatory.
As far as the licensing is concerned, it differs from region to region. The health board of your state would give you information on what you need to do to become a radiology technician in your state.