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.

Where can you go after Radiology?

 I kinda touched base on some of this already. You can move into CT, you can move into mammography. Those two areas have extra courses that our national association does offer in order to become better educated in those areas to perform them. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a job without the courses, but they do recommend that you do take those courses while you’re learning and being employed by that area. You can also move into angiography, which is the area that I described that visualizes the blood vessels of the body. There’s always that move into management. When those ones that are there get old and they retire, then someone has to fill their shoes. Or I retire, I already have one guy at work though who’s told me a million times he wants my job. I told him he’s going to have to wait a long time yet.
There are a lot of students who do go out of X-ray directly into sales. They’re selling the radiology equipment. Some of them are computer “techie” guys or girls or women, whatever and they definitely want to sell that type of equipment. So they’re big into that. Radiation safety. We have a section in our hospital that is radiation safety. They tell us how to be safe or make sure that we are being safe. MRI and Ultrasound are a different color because you do need to take an extra course or an extra program to actually get into those fields. Ultrasound is an 18-month program outside of X-ray and MRI is a 9-month program outside of X-radiation.

 There’s also Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Therapy, which are also, fall under the ARRT, which are other modalities that you can take courses, and you don’t need X-ray to get into them. They’re completely separate. But radiology itself is recognized by the US Armed Forces. So you could actually go and work in the army or with the Armed Forces as an radiology technician. They need them out in the different war zones, so to speak. If they have injuries they do have X-ray equipment on site where they can actually image the soldiers. You could also go into quality testing industry. They do a lot of imaging of airplane engines to make sure that they are safe. I don’t know a lot about that, but I do know that they use X-ray to image the engines.

 Qualities and abilities are needed for someone starting out. I kind of touched a little bit on what is expected of the person who’s coming into a job. Good communication skills, I always like to use the word empathy. That you have empathy for your patients, so you are always aware of how they’re feeling. Able to handle those stressful situations, critical thinking skills. In your present position, my position that I’m now, I know, me personally? I need patience. Because the students are coming to me from Red River College, they’ve learn everything out of the book but they are quick to find out that every patient who walks in the door is not a textbook patient. They might not be able to do exactly as the book as told them to do. So it’s my job to teach them how to think outside the box. So I need patience in my job so they learn how to work with patients.

Radiology Career Skills

What are they looking for? Good communication skills. You have to be able to talk to people on a professional level. Patients, doctors, nurses, other radiology technicians, other people that are working in the healthcare system. Personable, good personality because again you’re dealing with the sick. A lot of those patients are very, very ill and we have to be able to give them that comfort when they’re there. Continuing education. Are you showing to your employer that you’re going to be continuing with your education, other courses you can take to better yourself as a technologist? They do look for that: physically fit. Do you have a strong knowledge base? There are some employers that actually quiz people that are applying to the job on how to take X-rays, when you look at the images how do you tell if it’s good or not. There are some employers who do – a lot of them actually – who do quiz you on that type of information.

Critical thinking skills: Can you think your way out of a problem? If you have a patient who’s on the table who all of a sudden is going downhill – is the word I’ll use – but if they start to take a turn for the worst, what do you do? Able to handle high stress situations: I put that in there because I work in a facility that can be that way. The Health Sciences Center is a trauma center. We see, like I said, a lot of drama that you hear a lot on the news: car accidents, you know, stabbings, those types of situations. We see a lot of it at the Health Sciences Center. Not to say you don’t see that at the other sites, but we see a lot of it at our site and they can be high stress situations. We could be involved I that situation. So are you able to be in that type of an environment?

Finding a Job

How do you apply for a job and how does it all work? Well, through the ARRT their listings are in their website. Preference is given, usually though, to internal applicants. Depending on what job is being posted, sometimes people within the site might be applying for that same job, so if there is an internal applicant typically, they will look at them first but that doesn’t mean that job necessarily will be given to them, they will definitely be looking at them first though, because of union seniority, etc. Clinic center usually post everything online or in the newspaper and again it’s just a call for an interview from the employer. And RSNA also post their jobs online, but they also have internal applicants as well, because a lot of them are unionized.