The Scoop on Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

So, lots of people at looking for a new job, a new career, something that they can enjoy so they aren't dreading their 9 to 5.

Well, if you wanted to be a Radiologic Technologist (fancy people call them Radiographers) then you'd have some pretty good odds. Jobs in the field are projected to grow faster than the national average (196,000 people had this job in 2006. That's pretty good!) That means that more jobs in this field will be created than at your typical corporation. If you get training in this field you can really get yourself on the right track!

What in the World Does a Radiologic Technologist or Technician Do?

Radiographers are the people who take your x-rays (or an MRI or a CT scan) and they're there to take care of you, make sure the x-rays (images, pictures, whatever you like) get done right. They don't just take the pictures they also have to make sure you're ready to get your picture taken. They might have to have you take off your jewelry or even move you into the right spot so they can get the right picture.

Don't worry; they also have to make sure they don't just zap you with radiation. Say you were a Radiographer and you were taking someone's x-ray. First, you have to cover the person's body in a lead shield to make sure only the part of them that is supposed to be x-rayed gets zapped. Second, you also get to wear protection and you're even supposed to wear a badge that measures the level of radiation in the room. Even better is that the Government requires that you would keep logs of your lifetime exposure to radiation so you can stay safe.

After you're done taking the x-ray (picture, MRI, CT, you get the drill) then you're also going to have to develop it. When you're done with the machine it would be your job to upkeep the equipment and make sure it is in working order. You would have to keep track of your patient's records and make sure you've followed all of the Doctor's orders.

If you get really good at your job you might be able to progress to work on really specialized procedures. Some Radiographers specialize in Mammograms, others in MRIs, others still in sonographs. The list of specializations will keep growing every time new technology comes out.

What Kind of Training do I need (A.K.A. - Will I have to go to School?)

Well, you have to go to school to get trained. Don't worry; if you don't have a lot of time or you're not ready to go to school then you can go through a one-year program that will get you a certificate in Radiography (some hospitals and vocational schools even teach these classes.) If you want to go back to college you can get a 2 year Associate's Degree and if you promised your "Grammy" you would graduate from college you could get a 4 year Bachelor's Degree. Afterwards, you can get your license (if your state requires one) and you're on your way. There's an option to suit everyone whether you have kids, you're single, you're thinking of changing careers, or you need to take night classes; it's all here for you.

How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?

Alright, so you went and got certified, now what? You've got to get a job! Most jobs in Radiography are going to be in hospitals (I know, big surprise) but you could also find a job at a Doctor's office, an independent clinic, or even as a "Radiographer on Wheels" where you drive your equipment to the patient. You can work full-time, part-time, on-call, whatever fits your life and your family.

If you're thinking this a good career path for you then you can also advance as a Radiographer. You could get promoted to the Director of Radiography where you work or you could get a Master's Degree and teach or move into some kind of supervisory role over other Radiographers. The opportunities are there (especially since so many "Baby Boomers" are retiring.)

You have to be careful though, because hospitals and doctors are going to figure out what costs the least and they'll make cuts to their budget so they aren't doing the most expensive thing. If you want to avoid getting stung by the penny pinchers then you should get certified in multiple areas of Radiography (CT, MRI, etc.) to increase your chances of being hired and retained.

Let's review. If you want a job where you can work your schedule around your family and your life, you want to help care for people and you want a good chance to get hired and get promoted in a real career then Radiography is for you baby!

Career Spotlight Articles

Great Pay / Minimal School

Find medical jobs with great pay & minimal schooling:

Physically Active Careers

Find physically active health carecareers:

Radiologic Technologists and Technicians Overview

Radiologic Technologists and Technician Salary:$52,210
Job Prospects:B
Education after high school:2 years
# Employed in US:208,570
% Who work Part Time:20%
Physical Difficulty:+ + + +
Intellectual Difficulty:+ +
Emotional Difficulty:+

The Pros of being a Radiologic Technologist or Technician

  • Training can take as little as one year.
  • Jobs can be found in many places including: Hospitals, Doctor's Offices, and Health Clinics
  • The workload is so large that you can work hours that suit your family and lifestyle
  • The career has opportunities for advancement into management and teaching

The Cons of being a Radiologic Technologist or Technician

  • It may be necessary to get multiple certifications to get a job or keep a job
  • The job requires you to work with your hands and may involve lifting patients and/or equipment
  • The Technology is constantly changing and requires continuing education