Radiologists are specialized health care professionals that perform diagnostic image examinations like X-rays. Their job is to maintain the equipment and provide physicians with accurate diagnostic images. The equipment they use often utilizes low dose radiation, but studies have indicated that there might be a link between these machines and brain tumors. The job of the radiation specialist is to protect both themselves and the patient while obtaining accurate and useful images.
A radiologist technician is usually found in a hospital, although some work in doctors offices or laboratories. Because they work in health care facilities, they are exposed to infectious diseases. They work full time hours, and spend most of their time on their feet. Because they might be needed in emergency situations, they might be on call or have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Technicians are not doctors. They do not interpret the images. Their job is to make sure the image is made and is useable.
The median annual wage for a radiologist technician in The United States is just over $54,000 a year. Job prospects in this specialty are good, but radiation technicians with multiple certifications can expect more opportunities and better pay. Job growth over the next ten years is expected to be at 28%, which is higher than the national average. Hospitals are the primary employer of radiologists, but the growth of diagnostic image centers is increasing job opportunities.
Training for this specialty usually results in an associates degree or a bachelors degree. This level of training qualifies the student for a job as a radiologist assistant. Expectations for a radiologist assistant salary are less than for a fully certified medical radiologist, but the work gives the student the necessary experience to move on to the next level. Some decide that they do not want to move further with their career and remain at the technician level for a long time. Others who are more ambitious seek out more education to become fully certified as a doctor of radiology.
A fully certified radiologist can command a salary easily topping $100,000 a year. Education is extensive, requiring a medical degree and 5-year residency training. During these 5 years, the student will learn how to accurately interpret diagnostic images and diagnose patients accordingly.
Radiology is a rapidly growing field. Advances in technology mean there are more opportunities to use diagnostic imaging to detect health issues earlier in order to better treat them. With the additional technologies comes and increase in the demand for people to interpret the images provided by the technology. Many students opt for a position as a radiation assistant first before deciding whether or not to pursue their education any further. There are any different educational opportunities for radiation technicians at the community college level and higher.
As the population grows older, the demand for diagnostic imaging increases. This further helping the job prospect for radiation techs. There are some hazards associated with the job, including the obvious danger of working with radiation. Safety gear is provided, but it is still unclear how effective the gear is at keeping technicians safe.
Despite the hazards, new radiologists are entering the field every year. Many are drawn by the relatively low stress level and excellent pay and benefits. The demand on time can be substantial for those who are required to be on call. While those with medical degrees always command a salary, technicians sometimes work for an hourly wage. This can become fairly lucrative whenever overtime is required. Future job prospects at all levels of radiation technology. The aging population and advances in technology are driving these prospects well above the national average.