What Does a Career Path Look Like for a Radiology Technician?

What Does a Career Path Look Like for a Radiology Technician?

Mar 18, 2015 | 8:00 am

If you’re interested in operating machines like X-ray, mammography and CT scans while helping patients get prepared for their imaging exams, then becoming a radiology technician (also called radiologic technologist or “rad tech”) might be a great career choice for you.

Radiology technicians help explain to patients what’s happening as well as their next steps, so their upbeat, caring personality goes a long way when a patient feels nervous. It’s a great job for the right personality… but what’s the basic career path of a radiology technician? Let’s find out.

Starting Points

After earning the education needed to get started—the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that an associate degree in radiologic technology is the most common path as well as certification in most states—radiology technicians can pursue work in healthcare facilities.

If you want your job application to stand out from the crowd, consider gaining experience in a radiology department as a radiology technician’s assistant, also called R.T. aide. In this role, you can assist with nontechnical and non-medical aspects of patient care such as keeping rooms stocked with supplies, transporting patients between rooms and helping with paperwork.

Radiology Technician Work

The main role of rad techs, according to the BLS, is to perform diagnostic imaging exams on patients, such as X-rays and scans—and they help to prepare patients for these procedures. They do not interpret the results, as this is left to radiologist. While the duties of a radiology technician can get repetitive, the changing faces of their patients ensure that no two days are the same.

Your job may also include training R.T. aides and getting rooms prepared for new patients. In any case, radiology techs get to know their jobs well.

Advancing Your Career

Becoming a radiology technician involves a straightforward career; it doesn’t lend itself to many clinical advancement opportunities unless you decide to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher. According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), rad techs who want to advance their careers without further education can move into management, educational, sales or consulting roles with time and experience.

Between radiology technician and radiologist is the radiologist assistant, who supplements and supports the work of a radiologist with such duties as the following:

•Assessing and educating patients
•Evaluating images and ordering follow ups
•Helping the radiologist with other procedures as needed

To move into this role, radiology technicians need to earn a bachelor’s degree and certification. They would then work under the supervision of a radiologist.

Radiology technician jobs are out there and the field welcomes qualified applicants. In fact, the BLS says that radiological technology is growing faster than the average for all occupations. If this field is for you, get started! Good luck.