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What does a Radiology Technician do?

Were you one of those kids who thought that X-ray vision was the greatest superpower ever? Are you obsessed with scratching beneath the surface to see what things look like on the inside? You may be the perfect candidate for a career as a radiology technician.

'X' Marks the Spot

Radiology technicians are a valuable part of a health care team. These medical personnel might perform diagnostic imaging tests by operating ultrasound, X-ray, mammography, CT, or MRI scan equipment, helping to gather information so that a patient can be diagnosed with an injury or ailment. Such technicians can be employed by hospitals, nursing homes, private clinics, or other health-related facilities.

A successful radiology technician will be detail-oriented, able to lift, move, and operate moderately heavy equipment, and possess a great bedside manner. Often, patients are nervous or uncomfortable, and a good radiology technician will be able to put them at ease while still getting the job done.

Educational Requirements

In most states, radiology technicians must be licensed and/or certified by a federal board or professional association. Some associations have minimum academic requirements in order to be eligible for certification. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, for example, requires applicants for certain types of radiology certification to have completed at least an associates degree.

Completing a certificate or diploma in radiology-related studies can be a good way to acquire the basic knowledge and skills necessary to enter this field, but earning an associate or bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university can give you more opportunities for employment and career advancement.

While studying to become a radiology technician, you may take classes in the following subjects:
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Patient Care
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Radiation Physics
  • Radiobiology
After Graduation

After you complete your course of study, you may wish to specialize in a certain type of radiology. Possibilities include:
  • Bone Densitometry (measuring bone density)
  • Mammography (evaluating breast tissue)
  • Radiation Therapy (administering radiation to treat diseases such as cancer)
  • Sonography (using sound waves to capture images of organs and tissue)
Salaries in this field vary, depending upon specialty, place of employment, and level of education and experience. Technicians working in a medical or diagnostic laboratory earn slightly more than those who work in a physician's office.

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