What Is Medical Radiologic Technology?

Medical radiologic technology is the use of radiation to produce X-ray images of the interior of the human body. While standard medical radiologic technology takes images of the chest, skeletal structure and abdomen, technologists may also specialize in specific areas such as mammography. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Medical Radiologic Technologist Job Description

Medical radiologic technology is a type of imaging technology used to diagnose various injuries and ailments. This field includes the use of computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound, among others. Workers in this field are known as radiologic technologists and are educated in patient care, radiation safety, computerized imaging techniques and human anatomy. Technologists must position patients for diagnostic examinations and calculate the proper exposure factors.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Key Skills Skilled at: attention to detail, working with people, math, working with complex medical technology
Certification Further certification in a specialty such as mammography available
Work Environment May be exposed to infectious disease, radiation; may stand for long periods; may work evenings, weekends, and on call hours
Similar Occupations Diagnostic medical sonographer, radiation therapist, nuclear medicine technologist

Education and Licensing Information

While educational programs in medical radiologic technology can last anywhere from 1-4 years, 2-year associate's degrees are the most common educational path for prospective radiologic technologists. A medical radiologic technology degree program typically includes lectures and practical experience through laboratory and didactic training. Clinical opportunities allow students to apply classroom training to real-world situations.

Most states require that radiologic technologists hold a license before starting work. This license can be obtained from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The licensing exam can also be taken voluntarily to show potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills to work in the field. Eligible applicants must graduate from an accredited medical radiologic technology program with an academic degree. A list of accredited programs can be found on their website. Every 2 years, radiologic technologists need 24 hours of continuing education to remain certified.

Employment Opportunities and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, reports that employment opportunities for radiologic technologists will increase 9% from 2014-2024 due to demand from an aging population and also healthcare legislation that results in making procedures more accessible. The BLS says the median annual wage for radiologic technologists was $55,870 in May 2014, with the lowest paid 10% making less than $37,610 and the highest paid 10% earning in excess of $80,080. Careers for radiologic technologists are available in hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices, medical laboratories, and outpatient care centers.

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