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What Does a Radiology Technician Do?

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Many people wonder what a radiology technician does or asks, “What is a radiology technician?” If you are looking for a rewarding career that is also lucrative, you may want to keep reading and get the answer to those questions. The radiology field is one that is in high demand, is expected to grow faster than average, and pays above average salaries. Plus, you will get the satisfaction of helping others and working in a medical setting.

Radiology Technician Job Description

Also referred to as a radiology technologist or a radiologic technician, you have probably been around them, even if you didn’t know that was their title. They are the people who are taking x-rays, films, and doing computed tomography (CT) scans. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, doctors offices, dental offices, or imaging centers.

A radiology technician’s job is to take the x-ray or scan that is needed, so they need to be familiar with how to use the equipment, know what they are looking for and at, and be able to help the patient throughout the process, as some may not be able to move on their own.

Here are some of the possible duties you would find in a radiology technician job description:

  • Assist patients with getting radiology procedures, including x-rays, CT scans, and films taken. They may need to help move their body into the correct position, explain the procedure to the patient, or even assist them in removing jewelry before beginning the procedure.
  • Take any necessary safety precautions to prevent unnecessary exposure to the radiation. To do this, they use lead shields, aprons, and badges. This is done both for the patient and the radiology technician, whenever possible.
  • Position the equipment correctly in order to radiograph a particular area of the body. They also need to know how to use the equipment and instruments properly.
  • Keep accurate medical records on the patient, including what was performed and when.
  • Maintain the equipment, take care of it, and report when there are problems.
  • Some radiology technicians perform more complex procedures, including preparing and administering solutions that patients drink for fluoroscopies.

Radiology technicians often work in a hospital setting, although many today are working in imaging centers and dentist offices. They typically work 40 hours per week and need to be on their feet for long periods at a time. They also need to be able to help the patients if they are unable to move into the correct position on their own.

Concerns and Radiology Technician Salary

Many people who consider entering the radiology technician career field have hesitations because of the radiation exposure. However, you should not let this prevent you from entering this field, as there are things that can be done to minimize the exposure, and these practices are taught and practiced on a regular basis. The radiation exposure is limited so that there is not a risk for you or enough to keep you from entering the career field.

The average salary of a radiology technician, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is just over $52,000 per year, making it an above average salary. The average yearly salary for radiology technicians ranges from around $35,000 to $75,000. Obviously, those with more experience and education and who specialize would likely be at the upper end of the pay range.

Making a Decision

If you are looking for a career field that will keep you busy, get you involved in the medical field, and will not take years to enter, then becoming a radiology technician is a safe bet. Training and education for the field ranges from certificate programs to associate and bachelor degree programs. So just determine the length of time you want to put into training and find a program that matches your goals. In addition to a training program, states often have their own specific requirements about licensure and qualifications. This varies by state, so you will need to check with yours to see what their requirements are.

Find several programs to explore, where you can ask questions, speak to graduates, and find out what you will be taught. Then make a decision as to which one will best meet your career goals. Whether you are providing routine mammography procedures or helping to evaluate a broken leg, there will never be a dull day. There are plenty of good radiology technician programs to choose from, so start exploring and be on your way to a new, rewarding, and lucrative career!

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