No two jobs in health care are exactly alike. For someone who enjoys working with people and wants a dynamic career in a growing industry without going to nursing school or working in administration, attending a radiologic technology training program may be the perfect solution.
Radiologic technologists are medical professionals who perform diagnostic imaging procedures like x-rays. They’re valuable members of a multidisciplinary health care team and contribute to high-quality patient care by taking the images doctors need to accurately diagnose bone fractures, other injuries, and conditions.
For those interested in a rewarding first or second career where what they do matters and no two days are ever the same, consider these ten top reasons to become a rad tech.
Reason #1: Play an Important Part in Delivering Top Quality Patient Care
Unlike radiologists who are medical doctors, radiologic technologists perform x-rays, but they don’t interpret them. They’re responsible for accurately positioning patients and ensuring that a quality film is produced as part of a collaboration with other professionals to provide the best health care possible for their patients.
By harnessing the effects of light as electromagnetic radiation, radiologic technologists play a critical role in helping physicians see into the body without performing invasive procedures.
X-rays, a form of invisible light, carry more energy than the types of rays seen by the human eye. Unlike visible light, they penetrate the body instead of being absorbed by it. A rad tech’s mission is to capture the pattern in which x-rays pass through different types of body tissue with the special film technology built into x-ray machines.
Achieving clear, high-quality images requires knowing how to operate the necessary equipment as well as how the body works and how positioning techniques affect results. Radiologic technologists should understand safety protocols, how to take images with the least amount of radiation exposure to the patient, and how to work with patients of all ages to ensure they are informed and comfortable throughout their test.
A radiologic technology training program helps prepare students for the role with instruction in anatomy and physiology, physics, math, radiographic positioning, radiation protection, and more.
Reason #2: Work with Cutting Edge Technology
Modern x-rays are produced through the interaction of tungsten and accelerated electrons in an anode tube. By controlling their energy through instrumentation and positioning, they can be used to see through body parts of different sizes and densities.
The concept is simple and hasn’t changed much since x-rays were first discovered, accidentally, many years ago. Today’s radiologic equipment is highly sensitive and sophisticated, and beyond operating it, rad techs must also maintain it and test it regularly to ensure quality control. When taking diagnostic-quality images, there is little room for error.
In a radiologic technology training program, students learn to work with current equipment, and they also get a view of the cutting-edge developments expected to improve the safety and quality of imaging in the coming decades.
Advances that may lower radiation exposure, create images in full color, and even produce a moving film of x-rays taken over time are right around the corner. For technology enthusiasts, it’s an ideal time to join the health care field.
Reason #3: Enjoy Career Flexibility
Today, most rad techs work in hospitals, but as technology advances and becomes more cost-effective, the use of imaging in other settings is increasing. Specialty practices in orthopedics, for example, often provide on-site x-rays to speed care, lower costs, and make them more accessible to patients. Portable units can travel to homes and nursing facilities when traveling to a hospital is too difficult or risky for the patient.
For those who enjoy a fast-paced environment and collaborating on complex cases, working in a hospital with a busy emergency room or trauma center can be exciting. For a slower tempo or to work with stable cases, rad tech program graduates can consider employment at an outpatient clinic or physician’s office or go on the road with a mobile unit. Where and how radiologic technologists can work is limited only by their interest.
Reason #4: Do Something Different Every Day
Even within the same setting, a radiologic technologist’s day will rarely be the same twice. There are over a dozen types of x-rays, and each is ordered with different parameters that will require the use of variable approaches and techniques.
Although rad techs don’t interpret results, knowing more about the case and the goals for the patient is essential to understanding how to best complete orders. It’s far from an assembly line job.
Reason #5: Be a Professional
Few careers bring professional status as quickly as radiologic technology. Rad techs are respected members of the health care team and work with other medical personnel to achieve the best outcomes. They also have a significant degree of autonomy and use their skills, training and expertise to make independent decisions.
Physicians always write orders for radiography, but rad techs act as liaisons between the physician and the patient. They decide how best to apply their craft within given parameters. It’s a significant level of responsibility, but one for which graduates are well equipped.
Reason #6: Help People
The medical imaging process is dependent on technology, but tests are about treating people and not just body parts. Rad techs work with a diverse range of clients with different physical and emotional needs. As part of a collaborative team dedicated to providing the ultimate in-patient care, they are no less obligated to hone the soft skills necessary to establish effective, interpersonal relationships with the people they serve.
Today, a radiologic technologist may need to patiently explain the details of an order to an anxious client. Tomorrow, he or she could be soothing the family of a child hurt in an automobile accident. Depending on the setting, rad techs might see individual patients rarely or regularly, but even if the primary tasks don’t change, the people and their needs do.
Reason #7: Stay Active
Radiologic technologists aren’t entirely exempt from sitting in front of a computer, but they’re rarely chained to a desk. Throughout the day, they’ll sit, stand, bend, lift, and walk within an x-ray suite and between departments.
From operating and maintaining radiography equipment to positioning patients optimally for procedures, it’s an active career choice that offers plenty of physical activity and the opportunity to interact with others consistently.
Reason #8: Start a New Career in Just 16 Months
Careers in many fields including health care can take years to launch, but graduates of a radiologic technology training program can start working and earning money in less than 16 months. For young adults, it’s a quick way to get a jump on the job market. For older adults starting over on a new career path, it’s an attractive way to learn without being out of the game too long.
Reason #9: Get Help Every Step of the Way
As part of their training, students in a radiologic technology program receive the hands-on experience they need to feel comfortable on the job. Education consists of both classroom instruction and supervised experiences at clinical work sites like hospitals and outpatient clinics. By graduation, students will feel comfortable with a range of x-ray equipment and the scientific theory behind how to use it.
Since certification is required in most states, programs are geared to help graduates pass The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists® (ARRT) certification exam. Certification through ARRT, the largest medical imaging credentialing organization in the world, allows students to demonstrate their clinical competencies and lets potential employers know they have the right skills for the job. Career services after graduation can help with job placement.
Reason #10: Grow a Career
Training and certification as a rad tech are a gateway to a personally enriching career. They can also be a stepping stone for obtaining specialty credentials or diversifying into other related fields.
Few people are disappointed with the variety and level of fulfillment they can achieve with their initial certification, but growth is one more benefit the radiologic technology field offers, and with additional postgraduate training and continuing education, the opportunities are nearly endless.
Radiologic technologists play an important role in patient care and are a critical part of a professional team that gets to the bottom of disease and finds a cure. For those interested in the medical field, there is no better motivator than to see sick people get well and, for radiologic technologists, to know they played a significant part.
Does learning about the top 10 reasons to become a rad tech interest you? Hunter Business School’s Radiologic Technology program provides the graduate with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to function as a radiologic technologist.
The Radiologic Technology program begins by introducing students to the fundamentals of radiologic technology. Anatomy and physiology, radiographic positioning, and an immediate introduction to the clinical arena will set the foundation for the program. Patient care, radiation protection, and image analysis are incorporated into the overall educational experience.
Contact us today to find out more about how to become a radiologic technologist on Long Island.