One of the many exciting career paths within the world of radiology is that of the radiology technician.
If you are one of those people who are fascinated by the inner workings of the human anatomy, and love to look at how the different parts of the body are interconnected to each other, a career as a radiology tech might be something that could be very interesting to you.
Also, with radiology treatments and imaging technologies continuing to grow at a fast pace, becoming a radiology tech could very well provide you with a stable source of income with much advancement potential.
What Exactly Do They Do?
Radiology technicians work hand in hand with physicians or radiologists in health care facilities.
They are specifically in charge of the actual operation of imaging equipment, carrying out examinations, preparing the patients for the procedure, and then releasing the images and helping to analyze the results with radiologists or physicians.
While many radiologists are also trained in the carrying out of the examinations, in most larger medical facilities it is the responsibility of the radiology technicians to handle this, while radiologists and doctors discuss the findings and suggest treatments with patients.
In Charge of the Testing Process
Radiology technicians would explain to the patient the medical imaging process they are about to undergo, whether it is an X-ray exam, mammography, CAT scan, MRI, or other procedure.
The radiology tech is also responsible for making sure that the patient is prepared to undergo the imaging process, which would mean removing clothing, jewelry, or other personal items that could become an interference to the test and skew results. The technician will also need to make sure that the patient is properly positioned so that the most accurate test results can be achieved.
One of the most important parts of the radiology technician’s job is making sure that all safety precautions are being followed, especially as the equipment being utilized uses various levels of radiation in the imaging techniques, and can become hazardous to people’s health if not handled correctly. Protective coverings such as gowns, lead aprons, etc. are used to protect the patient’s body areas that will not be tested.
Because of the sensitive nature of the duties and responsibilities of radiology technicians, they need to be adequately trained and skilled prior to taking on the daily tasks. There are currently several different options that aspiring radiology technicians can choose from:
Certificate program. The first option is to take up a certificate program which, on average, takes about one to two years to complete. Many local community colleges, technical or vocational schools, and hospitals offer certificate programs, and these are also offered as online courses.
Associate’s Degree. The most common route that radiology technicians take is to finish a two year associate’s degree. Most private and public learning institutions offer at two year associate’s program geared for radiology technicians. Additionally, some larger universities offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Technology, which is completed in four years.
Whichever route you choose to take in getting the right education and skills to become a radiology technician, make sure that the institution you select has the proper credentials and accreditation.