Rad Tech Salary, Education, Working Condition & Career

 To become a rad technician, one has to complete at least a 2-year associate degree from an accredited community college to be eligible to sit for the required professional exams and practice (according http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Radiology-Technician). Furthering one's education into a 4-year radiology program and even going further, greatly enhances one's chances of attracting more income for themselves and being entrusted with much higher positions and responsibilities as well. One is required to have a sound mastery of the human anatomy and physiology, some physics, radiology safety and dealing with patients without aggravating them in any way. There are clinical or practical sessions that one is required to take right after going through classroom courses to help them better their skills with dealing with the radiology equipments that they will encounter every day in their career.

Working Condition

 Unlike what most people outside the medical profession think, the working environment and conditions of a rad tech is very clean and exciting for all that would like to jump into the profession. A radiologic technologist operates very sophisticated state-of-the-art radiology equipment designed to take clear and accurate images of virtually any part of the body, and present them to physicians and other medical professionals for diagnostic purposes and further analysis of patient's health condition.

Salary and Benefits

 The environment is very clean, quiet and formal with many interactions with other medical professionals who rely on the radiological imaging to make their diagnosis or to ascertain certain kinds of medical conditions before they proceed further with their patient's treatment options. The salary for a X-radiation technician in the current job market, is in the upwards of $65,000 and is foretasted to increase (source: http://radiologytechniciansalarysource.com). There are bound to be some variations depending on one's locality or region of employment as well as their level of education and experience in the field. Whatever the variation, a medical radiation technologist should expect to have a secure job with a very steady and decent income.

Reasons to Become a Radiology Technician

 As the day goes by, similar situations continue to present themselves and just like the colors of the rainbow that can mix themselves into an infinite number of hues, so is the nature of experiences that come with this position, and it is very exciting indeed. Overall, this is a very exciting career that involves handling lots of technological equipment in a very clean and professional environment as well as dealing with other medical experts in a very fast-paced environment. It is true that the academic requirements or the college training to become a radiology technician can be quite a challenging or daunting task for many student; however, the benefits that come after competing the radiology program and landing oneself a job, are far much rewarding and over-compensates for the struggle. This is definitely a financially rewarding career with great job security and a really promising outlook not only in one country or locality, but all over the world. This is a really great time to become a radiology technician, and I really enjoy it.

Where would I see us in the next five years?

I really don’t know! For example we have an MRI unit right now at the Health Sciences Center. One of the only ones in North America, let alone the world, that actually can move. It’s an MRI unit that can move between three separate rooms. It can be in an angiography suite, which is where we do the vessel imaging, it can be on its own just to do general imaging and it can also move into an OR suite. So it can also be used in the operating room. They’re just starting to use it now. So it’s innovative but by the time that we got it in there was already a new one down on the market. So everything is changing constantly.

What is necessary in the future?

Do I have experience in other occupations or volunteer positions? Well, I’ll admit! I worked in the retail sector for a while when I was a teenager. I worked in New York for five years when I was in high school. I have to admit working in retail definitely helps because you learn how to work with people, how to work with management, how to deal with customers which actually take it into working with patients. Because really they are a costumer. We don’t call them that but that’s really what they are. I also used to teach Ukrainian dance for many years, just dealing with different ages of people because we do have the children’s hospital as well. You have to learn how to deal with kids, different personalities, how to resolve conflict. When you’ve got two kids in your group that don’t want to dance together or talk to each other, well guess what? I’ve got two students over here that don’t want to talk to each other or work together either, so it’s helped me in that regard.

What changes have I seen? It’s dramatic! The changes that have happened the last five to ten years in radiology alone are huge. We’ve gone from processing film, which is taking that hard copy, putting it through the machine, going through all the different chemicals, through the drying station and coming out on the other side so that we can put it up on a view box to look at. We don’t do that anymore. It’s gone! We’re all digital. This is an example of one of the rooms we have at the Health Sciences Center. It’s a digital room, there’s no film. Nothing! Everything is within the system itself and within minutes after taking the – actually it’s not even minutes, it’s seconds! – after taking your exposure you’ve got an image coming up on the screen. So much faster! So much quicker to put patients through. But again, it’s a computer, there are many days I which I could go back to the old way of doing things because it didn’t breakdown as often as the computer does. But it definitely… we are moving forward. CT is constantly changing. We can’t keep up. MRI is the same. They’re always thinking of different ways, newer ways. Less dose to the patient, safer, it’s constantly, constantly changing.

Where can you go after Radiology?

 I kinda touched base on some of this already. You can move into CT, you can move into mammography. Those two areas have extra courses that our national association does offer in order to become better educated in those areas to perform them. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a job without the courses, but they do recommend that you do take those courses while you’re learning and being employed by that area. You can also move into angiography, which is the area that I described that visualizes the blood vessels of the body. There’s always that move into management. When those ones that are there get old and they retire, then someone has to fill their shoes. Or I retire, I already have one guy at work though who’s told me a million times he wants my job. I told him he’s going to have to wait a long time yet.
There are a lot of students who do go out of X-ray directly into sales. They’re selling the radiology equipment. Some of them are computer “techie” guys or girls or women, whatever and they definitely want to sell that type of equipment. So they’re big into that. Radiation safety. We have a section in our hospital that is radiation safety. They tell us how to be safe or make sure that we are being safe. MRI and Ultrasound are a different color because you do need to take an extra course or an extra program to actually get into those fields. Ultrasound is an 18-month program outside of X-ray and MRI is a 9-month program outside of X-radiation.

 There’s also Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Therapy, which are also, fall under the ARRT, which are other modalities that you can take courses, and you don’t need X-ray to get into them. They’re completely separate. But radiology itself is recognized by the US Armed Forces. So you could actually go and work in the army or with the Armed Forces as an radiology technician. They need them out in the different war zones, so to speak. If they have injuries they do have X-ray equipment on site where they can actually image the soldiers. You could also go into quality testing industry. They do a lot of imaging of airplane engines to make sure that they are safe. I don’t know a lot about that, but I do know that they use X-ray to image the engines.

 Qualities and abilities are needed for someone starting out. I kind of touched a little bit on what is expected of the person who’s coming into a job. Good communication skills, I always like to use the word empathy. That you have empathy for your patients, so you are always aware of how they’re feeling. Able to handle those stressful situations, critical thinking skills. In your present position, my position that I’m now, I know, me personally? I need patience. Because the students are coming to me from Red River College, they’ve learn everything out of the book but they are quick to find out that every patient who walks in the door is not a textbook patient. They might not be able to do exactly as the book as told them to do. So it’s my job to teach them how to think outside the box. So I need patience in my job so they learn how to work with patients.