(6.8 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||61,000|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#15|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#30|
Most healthcare workers have that one go-to tool they use to measure the extent of patient illness or injury. For surgeons, it’s scalpels. For clinical lab technicians, it’s microscopes. For radiologic technologists, it’s three instruments: X-ray generators, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. Technologists rely on imaging equipment daily, using it to assist lead technicians in taking body images and then reading and examining what those images reveal. Myke Kudlas, chief academic officer of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, says the profession’s unpredictability is its greatest selling point. “You’re never quite sure what the next patient is going to present,” he says. “Even if you’re doing chest X-rays, you might have somebody in a wheelchair, or somebody who can’t get out of a gurney, or somebody young and able to jump up and do whatever, but they are all going to be a little different. The variety in the work is very exciting.” Most radiologic technologists are employed at state, local, and private hospitals, physicians’ offices, and in medical and diagnostic laboratories.
The need for trained specialists who are capable of spotting areas of bodily injury using high-tech equipment is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment growth of about 28 percent between 2010 and 2020 for this profession. Job prospects are expected to remain high, particularly for those interested in working for general medical and surgical hospitals. There should be more than 60,000 new positions in the next eight years.
According to the BLS, radiologic technologists earned $55,120 in 2011. The highest-paid earned about $77,760, while the lowest-paid earned less than $37,360. Boston, Vallejo, Calif., and Oakland, Calif., are some of the highest-paying metropolitan areas for this profession.
Pursuit of a career in radiologic technology should begin early. Interested high school students should take courses in anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, mathematics, and physics, if possible. There are also several standardized training programs in radiography that can lead to a certificate, associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree. A common college-level course load might include classes in anatomy, image evaluation, radiation physics and protection, and pathology. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology accredits educational and training programs in radiography. Prospective radiologic technologists can best gain experience in the field by shadowing established radiologic technologists.
Strong science and mathematical skills, stamina, and communication readiness benefit those interested in pursuing a career in radiologic technology. A flexible mindset also behooves those interested in breaking into the field. “You’ve got to be willing to maybe work part-time or work a weekend or evening shift,” says Kudlas. “You’ve got to get in there and move up the chain.” Upward mobility organically happens—at least it did for him. “Get whatever job you can, do the best job you possibly can, and doors are going to open for you,” he says.
|Stress Level||Above Average|
Last updated by Jessica Harper.