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.

Radiation Protection

Here’s an example of that fancy lead shielding that we get to wear. Comes in a variety of colors, different styles, it’s very, you know, they’re trying to make them look a little bit more stylish, all the time. But they’re still leady prints, they’re heavy. But, for the most part, we’re not wearing them all day, every day. We do take them off in between procedures because you couldn’t possibly wear them all day, you would get a sore back. But they do variations of this, there are styles that have a skirt that wraps all the way around the body as well as a vest, much easier on your back because you don’t have all the weight on your shoulders.

An example of the control booth. So this is the area where the technologist would actually go stand behind the glass to take the picture and the patients are always “How come you get to leave and I don’t?”, you know? It’s because you need to have the radiation to see the pictures, in order to get the images. I’m protecting myself on a daily basis by going behind that glass.
This is just an image of what happens after. After we’ve taken the images they get processed by computer, go directly to an archival system in a network that we have at the hospital and a server, and then the radiologist can actually pull those images up within minutes to actually view them and make a report.

General Radiology Room

  These are just a couple of images of a general radiology room. And a couple of examples of patients being in that room with the technologist. The first image is actually a technologist positioning a patient for a chest X-Ray and the second one is an image of a technologist positioning a patient for an abdomen X-Ray. So you can see, sometimes we have them standing, sometimes the patients are lying down, sometimes we have them sitting at the end of that table to just put their hand out for us.
 This is a CT scanner so it’s still an X-ray machine but it’s much different. That table that the patient is lying on moves in and out. Those of you who have had a CT scan know what’s that all about. You lye down, they zoom you into this big doughnut, take the pictures, zoom you back out, so you’re all done. Takes about five minutes up to fifteen minutes depending on what kind of scan you’re having done.

This is a mammography unit. So those specialized images for the breast. Those patients who may have cancer of the breast or already do. This is the type of equipment that they would be using for that.

This is an angiographic suite or interventional suite. There’s actually two machines that are used at the same time. One that’s coming from the top of the patient, one from the side so they can take more than one set of… one series… more than one series of images at a time.

Daily Routine of a Radiology Technician

So what are the daily routines and responsibilities of this occupation or the occupation of a radiology tech?
- So, We’re responsible to explain the procedure to the patients. So when they come in, depending on what it is that they’re doctors has ordered, it’s up to us to explain to them exactly what we’re going to be doing that day. Whether it’s specialized, a simple chest X-ray, a simple hand X-ray we still have to tell the patient what it is we’re going to be doing that day.
- Answer questions as fully as possible which also falls into contribute to patient education. So any time a patient has a question for us, or a doctor, or a nurse, or anyone who is working in the hospital may be asking: How much radiation is too much? Is it safe for me to be this close? Because radiation can be dangerous if you’re not using it properly and that’s part of your training, when you’re learning it in school, you’re taught what is safe, what isn’t and how to keep everybody else safe. On a daily basis we’re always answering those types of questions.
- Comfort patients and provide emotional support. A lot of the patients that we see have just been in a major car accident, or maybe they just found out they had cancer, or maybe their family member is the one who is really, really ill and they’re there supporting them. So it’s up to us to keep it when we are in the rooms with those patients and with those family members then we’re providing that emotional support to them, making them feel comfortable when they’re with us.

- Position patients and equipment correctly. So every body part has a special image that we can take of it. And we have to position the patient into different places sometimes it looks like, you know, extremely difficult for the patient to do those positions for us, but we try our best to explain it to them and help them in every way possible to get them into the position we need to get the right images for the Doctor. For example, a hand, there are three basic images that we do. Most of the time, most of the time it’s simple but when you break that hand it’s not that easy. It’s a little bit painful. Or your leg is broken. Or your pelvis is broken. Or your spine is broken. So sometimes we have to alter how we do things to make it comfortable.
- Ensure patients, staff and visitors are protected from radiation. So, the only patient that is allowed into the room is the patient when we’re actually taking the X-Ray. Family members are not usually allowed in unless it’s a child and we need the parent to stay with the child in the room. In those cases… Or we sometimes have to stay with the patients in the room depending on the procedure that we’re doing. Has X-ray Techs we do get exposed. However we do take precautions. We’re in lead shielding, we wear those heavy lead vests you see people walking around in, sometimes. Yes they are heavy but there’s different variations of them to make it more comfortable for us, on a daily basis, to wear them. As well, all the walls in the Department are lined with lead. So those people sitting out on the waiting room are not at risk. The Technologist that is going to take the picture that goes to stand behind the wall is not at risk.

 - Monitor patients during the procedure. Patient status can change. If it’s a critical patient we have to monitor and keep an eye on them. So I’ve has patients faint on me in the room. They walk into the room, they stand up to go to take that X-Ray, I walk away for two seconds all of the sudden the patient is doing this. I have to keep my eye on them at all times. In that case it’s my job to run into the room bring them down to the floor in a safe manner and call a code so that I can get help. This is just an example. Doesn’t happen every day. Don’t worry! It’s just an example to know that you always have to keep your eyes on your patient.
- Assist the radiologist for angiographic and interventional procedures. So that one image that I showed you earlier that had the vessels, the blood vessels those are actually performed by a radiologist who is a specialized physician in doing these types of procedures as well as reading the X-Rays that we take. We are there to assist them. We assist them with prepping the tray, it’s a sterile procedure, it’s almost like an OR. We prep the tray, we take the images but they’re the ones actually doing the procedure with the patient.

- And, of course we operate the equipment. Different styles of equipment depending on the type of procedure you’re doing. If it’s an interventional suite, like I just explained, it’s much different equipment than the one you would use in the room that we take a simple hand X-Ray. So you have to learn all the different types of equipment, or CT scanner, different types of equipment.