A radiology technician assists radiologists in performing diagnostic examinations on patients. The technician produces accurate and clear images of the patient’s body that help physicians diagnose and treat various medical conditions.
Radiology technician job description and duties
Radiology technicians operate radiation equipment to diagnose medical conditions. Their role gives them a lot of technical responsibilities. They use radiologic technologies to produce images of the different tissues within the body, allowing doctors to make accurate diagnoses and develop treatment plans. X-rays are the first ones of these technologies, obtaining images using a beam of ionizing radiation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), on the other hand, uses a powerful magnetic field to stop the natural electric charge of the cells in the human body, then determining the changes when the charges resume their normal condition. Ultrasound creates photographic images as high-frequency sound waves release pulses. The waves create different echoes, depending on how dense the tissues are, and the machine interprets those echoes. There are other radiologic technologies that a radiology technician can specialize in, such as CT scanning, mammography, or vascular ultrasound.
Regardless what technology is used, radiology technicians are responsible for producing accurate images while following the doctor’s wishes. This is why they have to have a deep understanding of the human anatomy and medical terminology to get the desired result. They should have the skills needed to operate the radiology equipment. It is also their job to explain what will happen during the test and abate the patient’s fears and anxieties so they can relax. In most cases, the patients have to be positioned awkwardly to get the right image. Radiology technicians have to assist them, especially those with mobility problems.
Radiology technicians have other duties as well. They need to put their record keeping skills to good use. They have to verify that proper diagnostic tests are conducted and that the results are filed under the right patient. They might even need to write some notes on the image if they notice a few anomalies in the images. In cases when the imaging is not done in a radiology lab, radiology technicians might be asked to join a surgical procedure. They can assist the doctor by giving them real-time imaging.
Where does a radiology technician work
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry that hired the most radiologic technologists and technicians in 2012 was general medical and surgical hospitals, hiring 59% of the technicians. The offices of physicians, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and outpatient care centers also hired many radiologic technologists and technicians.
Why should you become a radiology technician
There are various reasons why people should consider becoming a radiology technician. For one, they have various employment opportunities. They don’t have to hold their initial position as a technician for too long when they can train, get certified, and specialize in a certain area of diagnostic imaging. For instance, they can start out as an X-ray technician, but they can cross-train to become an MRI technician later on. The more certifications they get under their belt, the bigger their paycheck.
Radiology technicians enjoy the fact that they don’t really fall into a routine, which makes for an interesting career. Even if they have some specific duties to follow, they have to deal with unique patients and unique cases every day at work.
There are also good job prospects for these technicians. The BLS projected a 28% growth between 2010 and 2020. This is higher than the average job growth for all occupations.
As for their compensation, radiology technicians receive a salary way higher than the minimum wage. According to PayScale, radiology technicians earn a salary ranging between $27,198 and $58,397. They also receive other benefits on top of their basic salary.