Rad Tech Salary, Education, Working Condition & Career

 To become a rad technician, one has to complete at least a 2-year associate degree from an accredited community college to be eligible to sit for the required professional exams and practice (according http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Radiology-Technician). Furthering one's education into a 4-year radiology program and even going further, greatly enhances one's chances of attracting more income for themselves and being entrusted with much higher positions and responsibilities as well. One is required to have a sound mastery of the human anatomy and physiology, some physics, radiology safety and dealing with patients without aggravating them in any way. There are clinical or practical sessions that one is required to take right after going through classroom courses to help them better their skills with dealing with the radiology equipments that they will encounter every day in their career.

Working Condition

 Unlike what most people outside the medical profession think, the working environment and conditions of a rad tech is very clean and exciting for all that would like to jump into the profession. A radiologic technologist operates very sophisticated state-of-the-art radiology equipment designed to take clear and accurate images of virtually any part of the body, and present them to physicians and other medical professionals for diagnostic purposes and further analysis of patient's health condition.

Salary and Benefits

 The environment is very clean, quiet and formal with many interactions with other medical professionals who rely on the radiological imaging to make their diagnosis or to ascertain certain kinds of medical conditions before they proceed further with their patient's treatment options. The salary for a X-radiation technician in the current job market, is in the upwards of $65,000 and is foretasted to increase (source: http://radiologytechniciansalarysource.com). There are bound to be some variations depending on one's locality or region of employment as well as their level of education and experience in the field. Whatever the variation, a medical radiation technologist should expect to have a secure job with a very steady and decent income.

Reasons to Become a Radiology Technician

 As the day goes by, similar situations continue to present themselves and just like the colors of the rainbow that can mix themselves into an infinite number of hues, so is the nature of experiences that come with this position, and it is very exciting indeed. Overall, this is a very exciting career that involves handling lots of technological equipment in a very clean and professional environment as well as dealing with other medical experts in a very fast-paced environment. It is true that the academic requirements or the college training to become a radiology technician can be quite a challenging or daunting task for many student; however, the benefits that come after competing the radiology program and landing oneself a job, are far much rewarding and over-compensates for the struggle. This is definitely a financially rewarding career with great job security and a really promising outlook not only in one country or locality, but all over the world. This is a really great time to become a radiology technician, and I really enjoy it.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

In hospital, It’s shift work! It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They don’t close. Clinic is a Monday to Friday job because, it’s the pushy one. Some people like the clinic because of the pace and because of the hours. Someone like myself, I like the hospital because of the pace. Not really, because of the hours, when I used to work nights, it wasn’t always the greatest thing but I like it because of the pace.  Anything that is closed toe. You don’t want to be wearing any open toe shoes at the hospital because someone will drive over your foot with a wheelchair, drive over your foot with a stretcher, a patient could fall on you, whatever.

Be physically fit and use good body mechanics. The number one thing is that body mechanics are key in this job. That we’re using our legs and backs properly so that we’re not hurting ourselves. There’s a lot of patient transferring, we have to move patients from the stretcher to our X-ray table, we have to assist patients from sitting into a standing position out of a wheelchair, we have to assist them from the wheelchair to sit on the table and lie down. There is a lot of physical involvement with the job. As well, when we go to move the equipment, a lot of the equipment that we move is above our head so we have to be able to work in that extension of our arms as well.

Education Sponsorship

Costs! These again are estimates. Year one and year two are the same, it’s 3724 for both years. The books and supplies are $2800 but those books apply to both years. It’s not, I need 2800 dollars’ worth of books in year one and I need another 2800 dollars’ worth of books in year two. They apply to both. So you use the same books all the way through. Other fees. Year one there is a $200 fee for uniforms because you do wear scrubs when you’re working as an X-ray Tech and as a student. And year two there’s that ARRT national exam, it does have a cost. It’s a big one, it’s $900. So you only want to write it once. You get four chances! If you don’t pass at the first time, you have four chances to write it, but you only want to write it once because it’s $900 a pop. So every time you go to write, it’s another $900. Why is it so expensive? Someone always wants to know that. Because we actually pull people from across the country into Ottawa once a year to write these exams, I’m one of those people. So, it is a big cost involved through the national association to do that. And the books purchased, again like I said, in year one will be used in both years.

As well, there are the RSNA or the Radiological Society of North America, also has an education sponsorship in return of service program that they offer to students who are willing to work in a rural site once they leave the program. This only applies to the rural sites. Through their education sponsorship in return of service program for those rural, northern NY. Accepted students will receive a reimbursement for tuition and books for the 2-year diploma program, which is approximately that $8500. Provide any additional cross-training – and I’ll talk about that in just a minute – that is required and guarantee full time employment upon completion of the program in exchange for 3-year return of service commitment in a rural or northern facility. So, this is definitely an option if it is something that you’re considering coming into X-ray. And this is looking, you know, very nice to you and you are ok with working in a rural community outside after you graduate, you can definitely visit RSNA’s website and you will be able to get all the information from there. The cross-training that’s mentioned in there, a lot of the sites are so small that they don’t always have a laboratory Technologist and an X-ray Technologist at the same time working there, just because of staffing. So what they do is they do cross-train radiology technician to do very basic lab tests and lab Technologists to do very basic X-ray exams. So that they can have one person who can stay there and do both jobs at the same time. So that is where that cross-training comes in. It’s only offered through RSNA.

Becoming a Radiology Technician

How do you become a radiology tech? Or, how did I become an X-ray tech? I’m going to go through some of those education requirements now.

You need grade 12 and you need 27 credits of post-secondary education. Whether it’s from a college or university including statistics, communications, human anatomy and physiology, introduction to physics, introduction to sociology or psychology, and structure and modeling in chemistry. Those are prerequisite courses to be taken prior to coming into the X-ray program at Red River.
The program itself is a 20-month diploma program at Red River College. It has an August or September start date, depending on where the long weekend falls. And it’s 8 months at Red River. So you’re going from September to April at Red River College and then starting in May you do a 12 month clinical rotation at a base site. In Winnipeg the base sites are the Health Sciences Center, Saint Boniface, Seven Oaks, Victoria General, the Grace. I think I got all of them. Brandon in rural Manitoba, as well as a lot of other rural sites. South quirk, Steinbeck Portage the Prairie, Dauphin, Boundary Trails, which is up by Warren. So it’s a lot of different areas that you can actually find a lot of different sites that you can go to for your 12-month clinical rotation.

Once you’re finished and you’ve completed the program, and passed everything, and you graduated, and it’s all happening that you have to take a national certification exam through our National Association in order to practice in the USA. You can’t just graduate from the program and go on to become an X-ray Tech in a department. You have to pass this national exam. It’s a four hour exam that you write, post-graduation and once you’ve passed that then you become certified and you can work as a Technologist anywhere in US. And then in Manitoba you do automatically become registered with the MEMRT which is our provincial association and the CAMRT which is our national association.